Friday, June 24, 2011

Checking in.

I've had a deep, lurking headache/migraine thing going on this week. Mostly I've been on the couch, snarling at the world. Which, you know, not the greatest blog fodder. Grrr, argh, blach.

Sleeve post coming, soon.

Today, the husbeast, the Goober, and I went out into the front yard and cemented our reputation in the neighborhood.
Word went out, I'm sure, about what hell-raising brawlers we are.
Our poor neighbors. Heeheehe.

So, the headache-migraine thing has finally backed off, and with luck I'll be around more.

Sleeves, and a blog post about coloring outside the lines. Soon.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Cussin' and the kid.

Someone left a comment about how, if I don't want my kid swearing, why do I use profanity all the time? And I've got nothing else to blog about, so you're now stuck reading my Theory of Profanity.

I don't want my kid using profanity for the same reason I don't want her using a paring knife: she's not old enough to understand how to use it, yet.

I'm a writer, and a former English major. (There's no such thing as a former English major. It's like the Marines. Once joined, always a member. Except instead of "Semper Fi" it's "Carpe Diem".) For most writers, there's no such thing as a 'bad' word. Some are just, well, stronger than others. Living in Hawaii reinforced this a great deal; Hawaiian has no profanity, and the concept that profanity is about usage and tone of voice has washed over into all the other languages out there. So when used properly (like, say, to express my opinion at the idea of a 38" bust equaling size extra large) it just underlines my point, or adds humor, and whatever.

Until my kid gets better at gauging social situations,the idea is for her not to swear. In fact, she's heard ALL THE WORDS, and occasionally uses them. Sometimes her stuffies or Little People get angry and cuss each other out. If she's alone in her room at the time, I don't say anything because it's an acceptable use. She's JUST starting to understand "home manners" vs. "out in public manners", and once she really gets it, I'll loosen up a lot on the occasional swear word. As it is, she will occasionally mutter "what the hell?" and again, since it seems appropriate (like when seeing High School Musical), I let it ride.

As for my language, these days I mostly swear on the internet, due to that kid thing I've been discussing. Usually for humor, sometimes for emphasis. Because it's the internet, people are able to decide for themselves if they want to deal with it and not read if they don't like it. Simple enough.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Vogue Knitting, early fall 2011

It's that time. I'm looped and am dealing with swimming lessons, so yeah, a fine time to editorialize. As always, pictures are from the VK web site, quotes are from the magazine, everything else is mine. Yee haw whee. Go copyright.

This time around, I'm not going to draw on the pictures. I'm going to try talking YOU GUYS into seeing what I do, just by looking. Oh, and those of you who wonder how I know this stuff? My cousin was a model, and had actual modeling textbooks. My mother decided in my early teens I needed poise, so I was fired off to my cousin to do hair and makeup and posture for a week. It was fun. I read the textbooks. I also learned how to walk in heels. Good stuff. There should be required courses in high school with that stuff.

Anyway, what, where was I? Review. Right.

The letter from the editor flogs VK Live, and their new iPad app. " many of the garments we feature are season-spanning". Indeed. Keep that gem in mind, further on.

The featured yarns still lack gauge swatches. Everybody there knits, my ass.

Articles! I think they know I enjoy the articles and are cutting back. It's personal. I swear. Really. IT IS ALL ABOUT ME. -ahem- Meg Swansen discusses the new book coming out, "Knit One Knit All", which is a book of EZ's all-garter-stitch designs. It sounds like it was quite a project - the ideas may have been EZ's, but Meg, her son Cully, and a bunch of others had to work from vague notes, half-documented ideas, and other madness. Looks like fun. Carol Sulcoski discusses schematics, how to read them, and use them. Beginner-level stuff, but if you need the information, it's a good article.

That's it. I think there's something in here somewhere with winners of the mohair design contest, but I can't find it, so what's that tell you? So, two articles, in a magazine I buy for the articles. Delightful.

Section one! (Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.) Brioche socks by Alexandra Richards.
They stuck the photo of these socks on the index page, and nowhere in the editorial content of the magazine. They're like an afterthought, and I'm confused. But they look like nice socks.

Section two, "Into the Woods". Models roam around a barren wood, carrying candelabras and trying to look atmospheric. Everything's red, which is a HUGE relief because after a year of red sections, the last issue DIDN'T, and I JUST COULDN'T COPE. Red is the ONLY fashionable color.

2. Pompom capelet by Yoko Hatta.
Five sizes (?) from 38 to 50 inches/97 to 128 cm. It is a tube of knitting with some pompom cord tied on it. There is no schematic. Finishing requires a safety pin. I would be embarrassed to sell this as a pattern.

3. Reindeer Capelet by Yoko Hatta.
Bizarre sizing that makes no sense to me, 20 and 25 inches/52 and 63cm. No schematic. They have an article on schematics and then don't use any. Cute, innit? Near as I can tell, it's a rectangle with a button. If you decide to knit this, I suggest yarn colors that contrast more - the reindeer are getting lost in the color blending. Also? Fornicating reindeer. Best. Capelet. Ever.

4. Tied capelet by Yoko Hatta.
Four sizes measured at lower edge, from 44 to 56 inches/111 to 142cm. Considering you'd wear it over other clothing, I'd skip straight to the 56i/142cm size and adjust with the draw string, unless I had a REALLY small frame. This is essentially another knit tube, again with no schematic so I can't really say.

5. Cabled Capelet by Yoko Hatta.
Another rectangle with a button. Measured at lower edge, five sizes from 38 to 51 inches/96 to 130cm. Um... yeah.

6. Zippered Cape by Mari Lynn Patrick.
I think the zipper runs diagonally along the edge in the front, where end and side meet. "Neck edge measurement [??!!??] 26, 28, 30"/66, 71, 75cm". Riight. Okay then.

And then, the mohair design contest winners. All of the seem to be pros. Wait, no, one is a student at Parsons School of Design. I wonder if they won for their resumes?

7. Mohair Lace Dress, by Laura Zukaite. (Grand prize winner.)
Five sizes, from 27 to 40 inches/68 to 101cm. They say it is adjustable with back lacing. Hmmm. It looks like a jumble of lace patterns to me, like she sat down with Barbara Walker and knit one stitch pattern for a while, then shifted randomly. It's kind of cute, but you'd have to wear it over stuff, and silk/mohair blend - it's knit with two strands of Silk Mohair held together - is really hot. Plus, $170 USD to knit.

8. Sheath and Wrap by Lynette Meek.
Sheath, four sizes from 35 to 47 inches/89 to 120cm.
Wrap in one size, back between sleeves 20in/51cm.
Personally, the idea of mohair in a close fitting sheath dress makes my skin crawl. It could work as a layering piece for winter, but eeeesh. The wrap is kind of cool, I can imagine swanning about in that in cooler weather. Both have been hand-paint-dyed after knitting; the exact colors chosen aren't to my taste, but that's really easy to change. $223USD to knit the medium dress, $...well, I'd love to tell you how much the wrap is to make, but I can't find the yarn for it. Anywhere. At all. On the INTERNET. Very cute.

9. Bobble Tank Dress by Monica Hofstadter.
Another skin-crawly dress that you have to wear over something else, thereby increasing your chances of heat stroke. Four sizes, from 25 to 38 inches/64 to 97cm. All I can think of when looking at those bobbles is maggots.

Next section, our beloved designer section. Anna Sui checks in with "her signature brand of hippie chic". This stuff looks like the kind of crochet that people have struggled against for years, trying to show crochet can be pretty and not look like, well, like this. It's like everything that was bad about the seventes.

10. Flower Hat, and
11. Flower Vest.
The most appalling abuse of yarn I have witnessed outside a church penny market. Boye is trying to revive the horror that was the Bloom Loom, and I assume roped Sui into making these to demonstrate how cool they are. I hope to hell Sui got paid a lot, because if I were a crocheter I'd be ready to burn this in effigy. As for Boye.. WHAT THE FUCK, PEOPLE?

12. Granny Square Vest.
I just... what... what in fuck? I've been staring at this for days, wondering how in fuck I'm supposed to review it, and I don't know where to start. This is so horribly, awfully cliched. Crocheters feel like they're struggling against a stereotype of stupid-looking, dorky projects, having to live down the avocado and orange granny square monstrosities of the sixties, and now, here's another one. Way to go, Ana Sui and Vogue. You're so far out of touch with reality, I'm not sure you're on the same planet. Everyone, please go look at THIS for some real crochet beauty. It does exist. Just, um, not here. Gods. SERIOUSLY, VK? A project that's actually OFFENSIVE to some crocheters? It's not your grandmother's crochet, YET IT IS! MADE OF GRANNY SQUARES!

Sigh. I've run out of adjectives.

Next section, "Easy Knits, Easy Fits", where you can wear really loose stuff and if you pose JUST RIGHT, still look like you have a waist. Maybe.

13. Cowl by Faith Hale.
One size, so, okay. Call me crazy, but if I were a designer, I wouldn't use a lace pattern made famous by EZ. It would look too much like I ripped it off and slapped it on an unshaped tube and collected money for the 'pattern'.

14. Scoop Neck Top by Faith Hale.
Four sizes from 51 to 63 inches/129 to 160cm. Shown in size 55in/139cm. With the cowl on there, my first thought is "what's wrong with the neck?" Might be nothing, but I can't know that, can I? Schematic (yes, finally) shows a crew neck. I know it's meant to be oversized, and I am a huge fan of 'oversized', but it's knit with bamboo/viscose blend, meaning the fiber has no memory or tensile strength, so while it may START the way it looks now, it will continue to grow until it's around your ankles. Perhaps a nice wool/nylon blend?

15. Cropped Pullover by Lori Steinberg.
Four sizes from 33 to 45 inches/83 to 114cm. This is probably the safest knit in the magazine. Also not the least high fashion, but you can't have everything, right?

16. Boucle Vest by Lori Steinberg.
Three sizes, measured across the back between the shoulders. "Because front pieces are designed to wrap and overlap, vest will fit a wide range of bust sizes within the standards for the sizes given." Oh yeah, you betcha. $144 to knit the medium size. Are you fucking kidding me? Wait, all right. Lesson, grasshoppers. See how the model is holding the front together? That means it probably hangs REALLY strangely if left to its own devices. And look at the actual silhouette of the thing. It's an A-line, sure, but it's stiff as a board, with no draping. So you're going to look like a giant cone with legs sticking out.

17. Tapered Pullover by Renee Lorion.
Five sizes from 36 to 52 inches/91 to 132cm. Another winner for this issue. It'd be flattering to everybody, the edging is interesting, and the color is even flattering (also easily changed). One potential drawback: The shaping is achieved with changes in needle size, rather than increasing and decreasing. Meaning if you knit with a really strange gauge, use caution and work up a LOT of swatches first.

18. Cable Rib Jacket by Vladmir Teriokhin.
Three sizes from 46 to 54 inches/116 to 137cm. An interesting idea that's been used by other designers for a while - a jacket worn either way, right side up and upside down, so to speak. Interesting idea, decent execution. The shoulder seams kind of worry me, but it's possible that jacket was really dragged at before being photographed. $339 to knit the medium size. But it's just wool, so substitute at will.

Section, oh, whatever the hell.

19. Lace Pattern Cardigan by Lisa Hoffman.
Four sizes from 37 to 50 inches/94 to 128cm. Another classic you can knit, and wear for forty years until it falls apart. (Which means it probably isn't Fashion, but whatever.) No shaping, which is hidden by the Arm Trick, but it is what it is. And that's classic.

20. Lace Vest by Kristin Omdahl.
Two sizes, 35 and 38 inches/89 and 98 cm. They're calling the 38in/98cm size Large/X-Large. And mind you, it's something meant to go over other clothes they're defining as "loose fitting". Shouldn't VK allow for boob jobs, even if they don't allow for plus sizes?

21. Lace Trimmed Top by Shiri Mor.
Four sizes from 33 to 38 inches/84 to 98cm. VOGUE, YOU ASSHOLES. 38 INCHES AS THE LARGEST SIZE FOR JACKETS AND VESTS IS TOTAL AND COMPLETE BULLSHIT. For the two of you who can fit into this when worn over other clothes, I'd consider altering it for a button closure instead of the belt. That way it'll look less like a bath robe, and you'll look less like a stump with four layers of knitting swathed 'round your middle. Oh, and VK? A 38 INCH BUST IS NOT EXTRA LARGE, PARTICULARLY NOT FOR A JACKET, FUCKERS!

22. Lace Jacket by Iris Schreier.
ONE size, 38 inches/96cm. Uses only two skeins of ArtYarns' Beaded Mohair ($87USD), so if you can fit into it, and are looking to try the yarn, this'd make a cool project. If you can fit into it.

Next section, "The fashion blueprint: Lithe, drapey tunics with vertical detailing lengthen and strengthen the knit silhouette." Apparently, the copy writers (or their editor) don't know the diff between vertical, horizontal, and diagonal.

23. Welted Pullover by John Brinegar.
Three sizes from 35 to 41 inches/89 to 104cm. I suppose if you want a welted tunic, this would work. The yarn choice is a cotton/nylon blend, and I'm not sure the nylon is enough to keep it from 'growing' until it's around your ankles, though.

24. Drop Shoulder Top by Rosemary Drysdale.
I fail to see any "vertical detailing". Anyone else? Six sizes from 43 to 58 inches/109 to 147cm. A yarn company special; uses tencel yarn from Prism. $163USD to knit the middle size. Bet you could do it cheaper.

25. Cabled Poncho by Daniela Nii.
Wow, that's not fantastically unflattering or anything. Put the cable on the front of a regular sweater and call it a win. (Also: When did ponchos acquire sleeves? No one told me.)

26. Boatneck Top by Sinje Ollen.
Three sizes from 50 to 67 inches/127 to 170cm. Another winner. Really pretty. It's a silk/alpaca blend, so it may be too freaking hot for between seasons, but it'd be easy to substitute something else. Try to get a decent percentage of rayon, bamboo, or tencel, so it'll drape properly. This version uses two colors to emphasize the wavyness of the Old Shale pattern. If you'd rather de-emphasize, use one color and switch the purl-on-right-side to knit-on-right-side rows. I'm tempted to knit this myself, but it's on size 2/2.75mm needles and I swore off crazy knits for the year. Maybe next year.

27. Striped Tunic by Josh Bennett.

28. Colorwork Poncho by Deborah Newton.
IT IS A SWEATER, PEOPLE! PONCHOS DON'T HAVE SLEEVES! Four sizes from 39 to 46 inches/99 to 118cm. $375 to knit the next to largest size. Not a typo. But the gauge being what it is, you could knit it with Cascade 220 for a hell of a lot less. Oh, and that's $375 for 100% wool.

29. Long Vest by John Brinegar.
Yup. That's what it is, all right. Six sizes measured by width of back. That's whole lotta stockinette to grind out. It's also really unshaped.

30. Relaxed Cardigan by Mari Lynn Patrick.
Six sizes from 34 to 45 inches/86 to 114cm. Fastened, it's loose and baggy and unflattering, and unfastened, it's chaos and confusion and baggy and loose. And unflattering. I don't get it.

Well, thankfully, this wraps up another VK review. As always some real gems in with the WTFery. Until next time, knit wisely.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Crashing for the night.

I tried to finish the VK review. Really. But I ran out of vitriol.

Usually I do have to take a break about halfway through, because I start saying "meh" to everything, with no details. Can't have that. So with luck, the VK review will be here tomorrow.


Tonight I knit at the Goob's swimming class. Just the teal KAL sweater, nothing exotic. There was a woman in front of me, a little to the left, who kept turning around to look at it, and me. I smiled at first, half expecting her to come over, sit down next to me, and whip out her own project. (It has happened before, usually in air ports.) Alas, no. Just odd looks. So I quit noticing her. Sort of.

Maybe tomorrow she'll bring her knitting? We can hope, anyway.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Those little black motherfuckers.

We have ants.

In case you are new around House O Samurai, well, folks who've been around a while know I hate the little bastards with the fire of a thousand suns. Come payday, we'll take care of the situation, but that leaves me with two days of creepy-crawly skin, dunking ant-covered things in hot water, and teaching the Goober words she really, really shouldn't know yet.

Son. Of. A. Bitching. Mother. Fuckers.

Could Sekhmet eat the ants? NO. Because she is fucking evil and unhelpful, the fucking furbag. All she does is lay in sunbeams and CHEW ON MY BACK DOOR. 


I had a photo to upload here, but there's some fucktastic fucking fuckup between my phone, Flickr (A PAID FOR ACCOUNT, COULD IT WORK PLEASE?) and Blogger. So, well, fuck. Fuckers.

As if I was not neurotic and flat-out crazy enough, today we started swimming classes for the Goober. The Red Cross does "water safety" (they don't do swimming lessons any more, insert eye roll here) at the local high school every quarter and I can sign up through our very excellent Recreation Committee. I thought I had to get in the pool with the Goob, so I showed up in a bathing suit, royally pissed off. Turns out I DIDN'T have to get in the pool, and I amused all the other parents with "Yippee!"

Along with five certified Red Cross teachers, they had two kids from the high school who were certified as life guards, also hanging around. One of the kids spent his time wrapping little kids in towels and catching them when they slipped. It was really cute. I wanted to find his mother, give her a high five, and tell her job well done.

It turns out I am not a helicopter parent. (You know, one who hovers all the time.) I had worried about this, what with the Goob and I spending so much time together. But, no, the kids went off to swim, and I was like "Right! Have fun!" and was out in the hall drinking soda and Tweeting. All the other parents sat in the bleachers and watched every move. This goes on at Karate, too: Parents sit in bleachers and watch like it's a performance instead of a class. I do not get this. Maybe because the parents don't see their kids all day like I do, so they feel the need to watch them in lessons? I dunno. Karate or swim, you may find me out in the hall, texting and playing Bejeweled and drinking soda.


All these stupid painkillers I take? Turns out when I'm eating sensibly and have a negative caloric intake, I get loopy. Dizzy, sarcastic (er), like that. Don't know exactly what's going on, but I'm going to try to enjoy it, since I can't really fix it. (Fixing it means eating constantly, and I really don't need the Boobs of Doom to expand further.) Brace yourselves for some crazy blogging.

Yes, it strikes me that this is a fine time to review VK. Cheers?

Thursday, June 09, 2011

I must be near Amish country!

I am about halfway between Lancaster County, PA, and Tuscarawas County, OH. That's pretty much Amish and Mennonite ground zero. The relevance of this? I live in the land of People Who Make Stuff. Go to the county fair and ask sheep herders about buying fleeces? They don't bat an eye. Knit in public? The further out into the country you go, the less people seem to notice. (Also, HAND MADE CHEESES, but that's another blog post.) What does this mean in practicality?

Vogue Knitting at the grocery store. Yep. Not kidding.

So, while in there to pick up lemons (lemonade) and chocolate (PMS), I swung through to pick up the new VK so I could review it. And there, lo and behold, in the rack right above the VK? SPIN*OFF. Can you believe it?? Spin*Off at the GROCERY STORE?

A couple pygora goats in the back yard, and life would be about perfect. Okay, and some 'blue' angora bunnies. And a sheep.


This was supposed to be a blog post about black smokers. (The geothermal vents, no tobacco involved.) Unfortunately I got bogged down on the Goob's school, and I do need to start photo-editing the VK review. Maybe tomorrow.


The Goob is sitting here reading Phineas and Ferb magazine (also at the grocery store), and watching Mythbusters. That's my little geek.

The other day we were watching a school video, and the teacher asked "What's a baby pigeon called?" and the Goober yelled "A PIDGELING!" I think we're going to have to keep that word.


Anyone seen my ball winder? It has disappeared into The Pit. I know I unpacked it, but I can't find the damn thing. Soon as I buy a new one, I'll find the fucker, so I'm hand-winding Cascade 220 and cursing.

So. Where's the damn ball winder??!!!!!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011


Sort of my weekend in photos.

We had really amazing weather over the weekend. Perfect, mid-seventies, sunny, breeze. The Goober and I celebrated by going out and buying a few outside toys to play with.
She spent the whole weekend out there. She'd still be out there, but she's sunburned and it rained today. My nest on the porch swing looked more like this:
Saturday night, for some diversion, we went to the tractor and truck pull, down at the county fairgrounds. (Yes, yes, we live out in the boonies. It's fun here. And quiet.)
This is what the Goob thought of the tractor pull:
Sunday's diversion revolved around the glory of a Five Guys bacon cheeseburger:
Best. Burger. EVER. They put the bacon on the bottom so the cheese doesn't make it soggy. Perfection.

By then, well, the kid was burned, fried, overstimulated, and pretty darn sozzled:


See this? This is the evil fucker. This is the evil fucker, looking guilty, next to her evil handiwork.
See the flaking paint to the left? That's my back door. The paint had cracked and just barely begun to peel. I was leaving it alone. Then, this weekend, because we were out on the back porch ignoring the cat, she grabbed on to the flake of paint and pulled it loose. MORE THAN ONCE. When I yelled, she gave me that "oh, do I have your attention now?" tail flick that cats do.

Evil fucker.


The knitting continues apace.
This is a better representation of the color than my other pictures, but still not accurate. It's what I think of as a 'between' color, you know, one of those that wavers between shades depending on the light. This one's a teal that is sometimes blue and sometimes green. In natural light, apparently it looks blue. I think I like it.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Still here!

I think the weird shutdown of the blog earlier this week was - ha - due to that hacking problem with China. Once I confirmed that I was me, and changed my password to something more secure, all has been well. It's so odd to me. I've got another e-mail account I use for The Really Serious Stuff, so if China needs to hack me to find links to LOL Cats e-mailed to my mother-in-law, well, I hope there's no problem with national security from me.


This week was kinda nuts. We all went to a family get-together on Monday for Memorial Day. We did kind of a pot luck. There were eleven kids and nine adults hanging around, and the kids ran wild, and the Goob got put in time out, so, you know. Traditional American holiday. I made cookies and cupcakes and took potato chips.

Then, the Goober went home with her grandparents, and I spent all day Tuesday reveling in the silence and NOT DOING ANYTHING. It was the best day ever. The Goober went to the zoo.

Wednesday she came home, and looked a little worn out. We sat down to watch Mythbusters, and...
She NEVER does that. But she did last night.

Then, today, I asked if she wanted to go outside with me. She said yes (of course) and raced out the door. By the time I got out on the back porch, there, in the porch swing...

We didn't do much today, either. Though I actually had to feed the kid and like that.


I'm sort of knitting! I've got a little done on my KAL sweater.
You can see the purl fold line; I've got the hem and about two inches of it done. My hands are bothering me, so it's going slow. You guys don't have to wait on me, though. Once a couple of you get to the arm pits, I'll talk you through the sleeves, which are next.


With the shifting of the sun, we're now getting bright light in the back windows in the afternoons and evenings, which is lovely.

Sekhmet digs it.