Friday, July 20, 2018

Moss Agate

One of my favorite not-precious gemstones is in the news! The Obamas gave Queen Elizabeth a brooch made out of this stuff, and she wore it to do meet-and-greets on the day That President arrived in the UK to play golf and shake hands.

Pictures of the brooch are absolutely terrible. And that's too bad, because moss agate is pretty.

Agate, for you not-rock people, is a term that means "some kinda colored quartz that is distinctive enough I can give it a specific name and charge more for it". Moss agate looks like there's stuff growing in it. Dendritic agate is moss agate that looks like trees. Crazy Lace, Plume, Iris, there are dozens. It's all plain old quartz, with some kind of mineral added for color, and then crystallized in different ways. Some of the weirder colors are rare, but quartz itself is all over the place. (Sort of like you find beach glass everywhere, but not red. Oh - and a lot of that beach glass is quartz. So is the sand.)

It so happens moss agate is one of my favorites, so I wandered through House O Samurai and picked up some likely bits and went out to take some photos on the back porch. (New people: This is known to happen. Rocks are cool.)

Here you are. Moss agate.
The pic is over-exposed because I was trying to show the depth. This is a chunk of not-good rock, run through a rough polish. It's not gem-quality or anything. But if you look at it closely you can see there are layers and layers of clear, translucent, and opaque quartz laid over each other.

Here's what's known as a 'landscape agate' that you can more clearly see the clear and opaque effect (image ganked off Pinterest):
Cool, huh?

Because it's so common, you can get bits of it for Not Much and that's why I have some of it. I've got shallow pockets. But the forms of quartz are almost infinite, and neat to look at.

Here's some 'moss' in my chunk of rock:
You can see the cracks and stuff, not good for gem quality. But you put a flashlight under this sucker and stare into it? You can meditate for DAYS. Even without chemical assistance.

Since it's easy to get, neat to look at, and comes in big hunks, it's inevitable that people carve it. Here's a tiny little bowl I have, that I bought because it's alllllmost got a picture in it. (You can sort of see a bird in the upper left, sun in the upper center, and a tree or three in the lower right.)
My finger and thumb included for scale; most of those picture agates you see on the internet aren't large. (Very cool. But not that big.)

So for moss agate in the news. The Obamas gave the Queen of England a moss agate brooch on their last state visit to the UK. Pictures of it have been terrible. But what it looks like?

This is another of my moss agate bowls. the upper right of it, in this photo, is the highest quality part of it. I think the brooch is five flower-petals made out of that, with a little knot of diamonds in the center and a gold stem behind. That's what I'm getting from the really blurry photos and 'moss agate'.

Maybe I'll talk rocks some more, NEXT time something laying around my house is in the news.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

History and its impact on current events.

Or, the Parent's Music Resource Center, Censorship, and really pissed off Generation X punks sort of accidentally fucking up the world. We're kinda vaguely a cause of ISIS. In the same sense that the KKK is the cause of the Gay Pride Movement.+

I swear we wouldn't have done it if we'd had a time machine. Honest.

Older readers will already feel their blood boiling. Many of the younger readers are probably going, uh, what? right now. That's cool.

Back in the early 80s, There was a movie called Purple Rain. Y'all may have heard of it. It was rated R (a bigger deal back then, than it is now). It was controversial. It addressed domestic abuse and all sorts of sexual controversies. There was also a sound track/album (that I still have tracks from, on my iThing, hang on, writing this needs music). So one day in Washington DC, some idiot housewife bought a ROCK ALBUM with music from an R RATED MOVIE ON IT, for her UNDER TEN KID. (I still roll my eyes, every time I think about it. I have a different view now, as a parent, and I raised my kid on music way more explicit than Purple Rain, but the real point here, I think, was Clueless Idiot Parent not paying attention to what their kid is exposed to.) As a parent myself, the solution to the kiddo getting hold of stuff with content I don't think she should have is to remove the content and have some Plain Talk with her. Done. No harm, no foul. It's a big wide world out there, and I wish someone would keep ME from seeing some of it, so yeah, kids don't need access to every damn thing. When "So Fucking What" comes on the iThing, the kid is told "yeah, generally, just... never repeat anything in this song." and she giggles and IT'S THAT FUCKING SIMPLE YOU MORONS.

Yeah I'm ranting. Still mad.

However, instead of taking responsibility for being a dumbass, this DC housewife called all her idiot housewife friends who also didn't want to actively parent their kids and have the world do it for them, and FORMED A COMMITTEE.

Really. Wanna talk about censorship? That's what we should fucking censor. Clueless rich white housewives who are bored, forming committees. YEAH STILL ANGRY.

One of the rich white housewives with no clue happened to be a senator's wife. Tipper Gore, wife of Al Gore. You know, the one who ran against George W Bush the Second Coming of Evil, and lost. By a couple thousand votes. SUDDENLY, RELEVANCE.

First she and her buddies in the PMRC produced a list of inappropriate songs they called the "Filthy Fifteen". (Which resulted in more teens such as myself at the time, buying the albums and playing them. Incidentally, I raised my kid on half these, she sings Twisted Sister when I make her do chores and she doesn't want to.) THEN, Tipper decided what this really needed was warning labels on records, and a senate hearing. And instead of telling Tipper it was censorship and NOT HER FUCKING JOB, Senator Gore said "sure honey" and LET HER CONVENE A HEARING.

This is not the start of a Saturday Night Live skit with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, but I wish to hell it was.

So we've got this... WOMAN, who is not an elected official, who is not an expert in anything much, and certainly not parenting because she's not considering overseeing her kid's influences as her job, who is NOBODY, firing up a senate subcommittee. Talk about things there should be a law against.

Long story short, most kids my age watched CSPAN for the first time. (Or caught the hearings on PBS if you lived out in the boonies like I did.) We talked about due process and legal government and constitutional rights and censorship. We cheered when Frank Zappa told a reporter to kiss his ass. We REALLY THOUGHT about what was appropriate and what wasn't, and what the government should be allowed to do. We talked about black lists and Joseph McCarthy in history class. We READ the Constitution and asked our teachers about it. In our teens, when everyone wants to tell the whole world to go fuck itself, on principle.

Sting, at the time, pointed out that people DO have a right to know what they're buying, and lyrics to songs should be provided and the people could make their own decision from there on out. I always thought he was on the money; he got ignored. Too reasonable.

Frank Zappa's next album had to be REVIEWED BY A COMMITTEE and they decided it needed a warning label. Stores wouldn't carry it. He lost his recording contract. The entire album was instrumental music; the committee had never listened to it, just rubber-stamped the offensive guy's work.

Warning labels went on records, then movies, then video games.

Some artists countered with 'voluntary' labels of their own, like this one from Metallica's Master of Puppets:

You still see them on video games occasionally; if you ever wondered why Gen Xers snarl and froth at the mouth a bit when they see them, now you know.

This all went down in the late eighties. It was kind of a coming of age for Gen X, and it was this event, more than any other, that made us as newly minted adults consider government and what we wanted from it. In retrospect, it was probably a bad choice on the government's part.

And then in 2000, Al Gore ran for president. Gen Xers were in their late twenties, early thirties at that point, paying taxes and raising kids and having a serious investment in how the world ran. And every damn one of them that I've ever spoken to, we all said the same thing:


And we either didn't vote, or we voted for Bush. (I didn't vote, as a conscious choice. Or I might have written in Kermit the Frog, which is a fallback of mine. But I do know I couldn't vote for either one and sleep at night.)

Yeah. Um. Sorry about that.

The 2000 election was really, really, famously close. A couple thousand votes probably could have turned the election in Gore's favor. There are roughly fifty-five million GenXers. We really could have decided the election. (I also think Ohio went to Bush because Diebold's home office is there, and they made the voting machines, but that's a rant for another day.)

President Shrubya, his cackling demon on his shoulder Cheney, and Iraq the Sequel.

All I can say is, if we knew then what we know now, we would have voted for Gore and then, I don't know, thrown rotten tomatoes and eggs at Tipper for the next four years. Something.

I've always wondered if Gore realized Tipper essentially lost him that election. But when you Google Al Gore, Tipper's Wikipedia article pops up just below his. They separated in 2010, and he'd been trying to distance himself from her for years before that. Still hasn't worked. I'd feel sorry for him, but if he'd just followed constitutional and federal law as a senator is supposed to, none of it would have gone down the way it did.

Y'know, on reflection, it wasn't Generation X who caused ISIS. It was Tipper Gore.

History. It's a damn strange business. Every time you think you understand it, the bitch doubles back on you. (This is why everyone hates teaching 'modern' history and most public school history classes seem to run out of time to cover topics after World War two.)

+No, seriously. The KKK pushed Prohibition because it would hurt immigrants, who were the ones making and profiting from wine and beer. But Prohibition led to speakeasies (underground pubs, essentially), and the speakeasies were UNREGULATED, which led to desegregation and a whole lot of other rule-ignoring. One of those speakeasies was known as the Stonewall Inn, and catered to LGBQTA persons. And the rest is some pretty awesome history.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Treaty of Kadesh.

Today was supposed to be something else, but yay history!!

Along about three thousand years ago, there were two world powers in the Middle East, the Egyptians (gold), and the Hittites (blue).
Also some green and pink guys, but that's for another day and I've already ranted on base twelve a couple times.

So anyway, as superpowers are known to do, they fought over territory. Mostly over who was gonna control the eastern shore of the Mediterranean. The Egyptians had the power that wealth can buy you, and a really good standing army. The Hittites had iron. Yeeeeah.

They slugged it out back and forth over the territories along the Med, typically not fighting too much within their own borders, because of course not. World powers. Some things never change. BUT! The whole thing reached critical mass at a battle historians call the Battle of Kadesh. Because that was the name of a village nearby.

The battle took place somewhere around 1274 BCE, and was, honestly, a huge mess. Both sides had heavy losses. But of course, again in the way of world powers ever since, both sides claimed they won and set up monuments bragging about how badass they were. (Technically the Hittites gained more ground and therefore I guess "won" but I think most of the ground gained was sand, so, uh, yeah. Have fun with that, Hittites.)

A few years later, Ramesses the Allegedly Great launched another campaign to take back the sand dunes. (Seriously, anyone remember the "war" over the Falkland Islands? I swear this is an ancient version of it. At the time it was described as 'two bald men fighting over a comb' and damn if that's not familiar.) The Egyptian army went AROUND Kadesh, took a town called Dapur, said "yay, we won!" and then went home, leaving the town to revert to Hittite control. SUPPOSEDLY, this is when the pharaoh realized he couldn't hold territory that far away and decided something had to be done.

I like to imagine the pharaoh's wife, with hands on hips, hearing of another plan for another invasion, yelling "ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?" because that's usually what happens in these circumstances.

 And so, the world's first written-down-and-signed-by-everyone peace treaty. There are some agreements that we know of that were older, but this is the oldest we've got that was all formal and official. We have copies from both sides.

Looks like the Egyptian one may have been, uh, edited? in later years.

It's actually pretty cool, and again shows nothing really changes but the language and material it's written with. It spells out where boundaries are between them, pledges mutual aid in case anyone else (Assyrians) attack that area, and even allowed for an exchange of prisoners and refugees.

A copy of the Hittite version hangs in the entry of the United Nations, as a reminder that we can actually do this.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The year in pictures.

Because I've been under a rock, sucking my thumb and hating life. (Seriously, the medical shit is still stupid.)

My hair has continued to turn white. I'm sure asshole doctors and constant pain have NOTHING TO DO WITH IT!

The Goobie turned ten.
And started swimming with a friend for fun.
And went to holiday parties.
And discovered an app on my phone that allows doodling on photos. Then she sneaks my phone and leaves pictures in it that I KNOW I had nothing to do with.
And continues to be awesome and just generally a fun person. This is her spending a book store gift certificate after the solstice. Because books!

Honu discovered the joys of sleeping on wool, which I really didn't need.
Yes, that's a hand spun, hand knit scarf, from Into the Whirled (color Puesta del Sol) fiber that was a gift. She also likes to help me spin.
Evil fucker. She was caught hanging off my living room curtains, five feet off the floor, just this morning.

The Goobie helped me with the holiday baking, and together we are quite the cookie decorating team.
She put eyes on some of them and told people they were monster snowflakes. She also wants me to make more, ice them in green, and tell everyone they're cold viruses. We just might. I like to reward geeky behavior.

And then, fiber!

Last summer I decided to do a 'proof of concept' knit. I've done doilies for years, as we know, and I thought you should be able to take a round doily, knit half of it, and get a shawl. I took this,
it's one of the crazy German charted doilies. I figured with all the stockinette and the symmetry that it'd be an easier choice than some of the others. I was kind of right, in that I'm sure there are other patterns that are harder, but the knit was kind of crazy.
I ran out of yarn and had to take out a row of the leaves at the outer edge, but since it was six feet wide as knit, it all turned out okay. (The yarn is Laci merino in color "Violet's Blues" by Blue Moon Fiber Arts. REALLY nice yarn. I think it's size three needles. Something like that.)

At the end of the summer, was the county fair. I'd actually planned ahead and marked the calendar and all that good stuff, so I had entries. On a whim I entered the purple shawl, but other than that I only entered spinning because that's what I was really doing this year.

I seem to have won. Um. All of the yarn categories.
And the shawl?
Completely unexpected. The lady who came in right behind me had entered a mosaic-knit sweater that was really nice. I wouldn't have minded losing to a nice sweater. It's not a fun fur purse. (No, I will never stop bitching about that.)  Yay! Go me! I can knit!

On my birthday, I got all kinds of goodies, including an eight-legged wasp sniffing weasel from Girl Genius.

Other than that, I supervised homework and occasionally taught spinning and knitting, and muddled on through. Right now I'm knitting a Fish Hat for my nephew, and spinning this:
It's "Catamaran" color pencil roving from Fiber Optic. I have 3/4 of a pound (three bumps) and I'm trying to get enough yardage for it to be the contrast color in another go at the Russian Prime. It is taking forever because it's so fine, but I'm almost to the end of the first bump. I'm gonna go now and try to work around the cat on my lap and finish it.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Vogue Knitting, Winter '15-'16

Hello and welcome to a new and better year, my lovelies! I've been wanting to get back into VK reviews, among others, and this issue is about Bohus Stickening was right up my alley. How could I resist? (For further info on me and Bohus Stickening, look at the "blue shimmer" posts under "projects of infamy" in the sidebar, and I also offer THIS for street cred.)

As always, quotes from the magazine, pics from the web site or my own "reactions" folder (I think it's clear which is which), commentary mine. You want a pattern, buy it, I'm not giving them out. And if you haven't read it yet, I suggest reading up on business models in my discussion of Twist Collective, HERE.

And then the articles!

There's the new yarn section, on fun fur again (may all the gods save us). They're calling it "Hot Fuzz" which makes me wonder if they got a new copy editor. As usual, they've just plonked down some balls of yarn and taken photos of them, rather than actually knitting a swatch that would make us want to buy some.

The advertising, as always, is leaving me going "...wut." They're pushing bulky yarns again and claiming they're warm (you're far better off with two layers of stuff knit with thinner yarns) and also season-inappropriate weirdness.

Little blurbs on different things, new yarns, new trends, new designers.

Book reviews. I've been at the knitting thing since '87 so it's rare any more that I see a book that's revolutionary or new. There's a new book out on Bohus Stickning, available through Schoolhouse Press. It seems to be in Swedish. I'll probably buy it. (Just did.)

"Bits of Bohus" by Meg Swansen. More about Bohus, and a good introduction if you're sitting there going "WTF is the big deal?" Good pictures, nice tech discussion. It's all about the purl stitches.

Their art article (as I think of them) is "Thinking Big" about someone who does just that. The photo shows an artist/craftsperson standing in front of a knit hanging in which each knit stitch is bigger than her head. Some of the concepts are very cool, some... not. But definitely thought-provoking for how to decorate with knitting, or use knitting in new ways.

Bohus article, "A Bohus Revival" with history and tech. Who puts a picture of a Bohus sweater in a magazine and makes it BLACK AND WHITE?? And then the next page, two color photos yay, but very nearly the same sweaters. Da fuq? AHA! Page three, some variety, in color! Anyway, more detail if you're wondering what the hell the big deal is.

And then, heavy sigh, the patterns.

First section, SWEDISH MODERN!! Like Danish modern, but not furniture or architecture. Har, they're so funny! But yay, stuff in the tradition of Bohus Stickening! Let's hope they don't call it Fair Isle and I can skip foaming at the mouth and waving my arms around. That would be nice.


1. Turtleneck pullover by Amy Gunderson.
Four sizes from 38-48in/96-120cm. Turtle-neckie thingie with a yoke, which is very Bohus. They used the little purl color blending thing that's the hallmark of Bohus. The colors are a bit not, but that could be fixed. Gauge is on the large side, but not everyone wants to knit a sweater on size ones (original Bohus yoke sweaters were knit at nine stitches to the inch). So... fixable? Use some colors that blend a little better. But definitely wearable.

2. Bohus Cardigan by Pat Olski.

Five sizes from 37-52in/94-132cm. ABSOLUTELY WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT. Really really nice interpretation. I'd switch and put the really elaborate sleeve pattern at the yoke, and put the not so elaborate yoke pattern at the end of the sleeve (plus the dark green at the cuff would hide dirt; always go with dark colors on the cuffs WE ARE HERE TO HELP AT SAMURAI KNITTER). Really, really nice. They're claiming it's in plus sizes. HOLY SHIT, FIVE SIZES UP TO 52in/132cm!!! Knit this. For serious. Worth the cost of the magazine. However much she got paid for this design, it wasn't enough. I am adding this to my to-knit list. It is very, VERY good. (Hopefully the tech editing doesn't make me regret this entire paragraph and want to eat the yarn.) Also knit with Cascade yarn so it's reasonably priced. Someone catch me. I'm gonna swoon.

3. Fitted hat by Kate Gagnon Osborn
One size. Hat. Again, Bohus' colors were usually blendier than this, but they got the gist of it. Maybe adapt it to a beret/tam sorta thingie, which was more Bohus' speed? I dunno. It's a hat.

4. Three-quarter sleeve pullover by Jaqueline vanDillen.
Four sizes from 36-45in/92-115cm. If I were gonna put a sweater in an international magazine, I'd make sure the fucker was blocked right. Or maybe the gauge in the stranded color vs. the plain color stockinette is funky enough to allow the puckering? Hell, I dunno. I do like this, but it's not very Bohusy. Bohussy? Bo. Hussy hussy hussy. INTO THE MOSH PIT. Right. Anyway. Nice enough, possibly consider some short rows 'round the neck to make the back higher than the front so you don't look like you're choking. And I dunno what's up with the slits at the cuffs, but they look like a mistake. Maybe some edging would make them look on purpose? Are they on purpose?

5. Blanket poncho by Deborah Newton.
One size, which for once isn't making me roll my eyes. I want to yell about this, but I don't. I don't know why I don't. It's shapeless, the gauge is hunormous which loses all of the cool blendy-ness with the purl stitches. But, um, am I the only one thinking acrylamide gel electrophoresis? 

6. Chevron pattern cowl by Lars Rains.
One size, which again is appropriate for once. This is actually a pretty direct take of a popular Bohus pattern, um, hang on let me look it up. Aha! The Red Palm! It was done in five or six related shades of red and pink. I think this too would be better in more blendy colors, but I guess it's all in what you like, but, yeah, Bohus was usually blendier.

I know I keep harping on the color, but REALLY FUCKING AMAZING COLOR was what Bohus was about. They had their yarns custom dyed and spun. Because COLOR.

Anyway. We are out of Bohus knits to look at. I am sad. The new section is neon, which should cheer me up. However.

Next section!

NEON SIGNS! Lets do bright colors and shit! I love me some brights, I'm ready to be happy. (I once bought a pastel yarn at the shop and the manager asked me if I was feeling all right. She also tags me whenever they have bright pink in stock.)  

7. Welted cowl by Laura Bryant.
This right here is the kinda shit that makes me foam at the mouth. Why is there an all grey cowl in a neon section? I DON'T UNNERSTAN. Seriously? Do the copywriters and the editors every talk to each other, or just randomly produce stuff they hope matches up?

8. Pull through wrap by Jacqueline vanDillen.
One size. Rolling my eyes anyway. Second try at brights. Slightly better. Let's give them credit and assume that green is SUPER NEON and just didn't print right. Right? Yeah. Totally bright green. Absolutely. It's a grey... thing... with neon edges. Outfuckingstanding. Did someone get paid for this? WAIT! It's not a plain rectangle, it has a HOLE to pull an end through. THAT'S TOTALLY DIFFERENT. It must be awesome, because the model has her hand over the join so we can't see it. (Also I looked up the yarn, not neon green. BUT IT'S NEON BECAUSE IT SAYS SO.)

9. Garter-stitch capelet by Lipp Holmfeld.
One size. Where do I even start. Okay. I like the idea of this. I even like the execution of it. I wanna do one in handspun. If anyone wants a fast and easy shawl-shrug thing, this is a really nice project. WHAT IN THE FUCKING HELL IS WITH THE POMPOMS. Hub has a theory it's the head-liner from a low-rider that dropped on her head. “It's got the little dingleballs, like the head liner in a low-rider. Why isn't she holding a chain link steering wheel.”
I don't even fucking know.

10. Keyhole scarf by Rebecca Kevelson.
One size. More grey with allegedly neon edges. They're calling this yarn brushed cashmere. Looks like dryer lint. And all that fluff is gonna pill like a motherfucker. Otherwise it's another rectangle with a hole in it. Seriously?

Another section. Hooray. I love that. Still busy being disappointed about the promise of neon and getting grey. "Everyday Brilliance". Shimmering metallics, blah blah, daywear, blah. They used the term “glam-girly”. Draw your own conclusions.

11. Aran pullover by Rosemary Drysdale.
Five sizes from 34-50in/86-127cm. Cable-aran thing with a collar and half-length sleeves. Silk-mohair-lurex blend. Heat stroke AND scratchy. $235 to knit the size large. Have fun with that.

12. Sleeveless top by Mari Tobita.

This is so nineteen sixties, I can't even.

13. Elbow length pullover by Zahra Jade Knott. 
Five sizes from 33-51in/84-130cm. Fluffy sweater in big-butt length. Mohair and bamboo blend, so it'll be at your knees by dinner time. Should I look up how much it would cost? Do I care? But note the yarn is mohair, and there's an actual stitch pattern – blackberry? - and if you screw it up and tink back later, the mohair will make the job like one of the inner circles of hell. $209 to knit. If you can find the yarn, it's new and not carried many places.

14. Houndstooth mitts by Amy Keefer.
One size that doesn't fit.

15. Long sleeve pullover by Lidia Karabenech.
Five sizes from 38-54in/96-137cm. “Graphic style meets subtle sparkle”. Do the copywriters even know what they're writing about, or do they just pound out random words on keyboards? Loose, unfitted pullover in look-how-wide-I-am stripes. I'd just do a percentage system sweater and throw in some stripes if I had my heart set on this. It'd fit better.

Fair Isle Cardi by Yoko Hatta.
Six sizes from 37-51in/94-131cm. Fair-Isle for real, it's got the XO thing going on. It's fitted, which is nice for something claiming to be fashion. It's in metallic yarn, which isn't traditional, but I have lace here in fluorescent pink so who am I to say. However, it is KNIT FLAT, which is a major I-don't-get-it, because our foremothers spent how many centuries developing the knit-in-the-round system to crank out sweaters JUST LIKE THIS, and then we go around and ignore their work. I need a confused squinty face emoji.
There we go.

Next section, "Off the Grid" except it's really ON the grid, because it's about learning to do colorwork charts and I'm back to "WTELF, copywriters?" ANYWAY. Two projects to help you learn to do colorwork from charts. (Is anyone still doing colorwork from written out directions?)

17. Plaid Cardigan by Deborah Newton.
I don't know what in HELL is up with those glasses. Five sizes (seems to be the new thing; sure beats one) from 37-51in/94-130cm. “Roomy plaid jacket”. Yup, that's what it is. I'd probably like it more, if it had some color going. But it's being used to teach how to read color knitting charts, and it's a pretty good choice for that. It's knit with a Berroco yarn so you won't break the bank on a learning project, which is nice. Unfortunately the yarn has mohair in it, which makes pulling out mistakes kind of a pain, BUT the mohair is also going to fluff out and hide minor mistakes. Wow. Intelligent yarn choice with a pattern. I don't see that often around here.

18. Plaid fringed wrap by Ann McDonald Kelly.
One size. Same frigging pattern from the last jacket, in a giant square to practice steeking with. They could have accomplished both lessons with the last project, but that would be thinking. So here's an extra “pattern” for a rectangle with fringe, if you wanted it.  

Okay Julie, we're over halfway done, you can do this. Get some more tea, hug the cat, grind it out. GO TEAM!

Next section, “Snow Days” where they claim originality and high fashion in winter whites. Can we have one fucking winter section of cable knits that aren't beige? No way in hell the beige is traditional (imagine sending YOUR husband out on a fishing boat to work, in a nearly-white sweater, before modern detergents existed; those fuckers were nearly black with indigo). Half the world looks like a week old corpse in 'seashell', and we can BUY sixty thousand beige cable knits in any store in North America or Europe. HOW ABOUT SOME GODDAMN COLOR? I know I think neon pink is a valid wardrobe choice and most people don't, but we've got a world of fucking choices between nearly-white and eye-searing pink. COME ON, DAMN IT.  

19. Shawl collar pullover by Audrey Drysdale. 
Five sizes from 35-52in/89-133cm. Feh. It's a beige cable-knit with a shawl collar at big-butt length. I like it. It's completely inoffensive. I'd just buy one at a store.

20. Poncho pullover by Jeannie Chin.
One size. Rolling my eyes anyway. Is this two or three completely shapeless THINGS for this issue? Overgrown sleeveless not-poncho thing with side seams. Probably cozy for lolling around the house, which is what the magazine is claiming for this thing. Done in BFL worsted, so it'd be darn sturdy and reasonably affordable to knit. (That's a lot of surface area to cover.) So, yeah, have a cabled snug sack? IN BEIGE to show the cheese popcorn crumbs and chocolate smears and wine spills.

21. Chunky fair isle vest by Yoko Hatta.
Do you REALLY wanna wear something named CHUNKY? Five sizes, usual range. Oh, hey, color. At a horrifying price, but it's color. Even pretty color. Knit with bulky alpaca on size fifteen needles. Wait, wait, I need another face. This thing will not look good on you. I don't care who you are, or how thin you are. It will be literally almost two inches thick. It will not drape. It will not move with you. And it will pill like OMGHOLYFUCK. Take the colors as inspiration (they are pretty) and knit the same patterns in the same colors with sock yarn and have something wearable. But hey, it's actually Fair Isle!

22. Reversible fur vest by Zahra Jade Knott.
TWO SIZES! 36 or 40in/91 or 101cm. A cool idea gone wrong. Floofy fun fur double knit with a smooth wool. They're claiming it's reversible and it might even be. But look at how it's flaring out behind the model's arms. She's doing the Arm Thing to look like she has a waist, but it's not saving her. It looks like a cone of shame upside down.

23. Mock turtleneck pullover by Katharine Hunt.
Four sizes from 39-55in/99-140cm. Another completely inoffensive knit. I think the pattern's from Barbara Walker; I know it's very similar to some of the stitch dictionaries. Just... yup. Beige pullover.

24. Fair Isle hat by Katarina Segerbrand.
One size, and probably even Fair Isle. White and beige hat with rolled edge to look like you don't know how to knit ribbing. This would be a good first stranded-color project. And if you stick with this color combo, you can't tell the stitches apart well enough to easily identify any mistakes.

25. Textured scarf by Lori Steinberg.
One size, thanks be to the gods. A classic yarn company special where they don't know what in hell to do with a yarn an advertiser wants used, so they just throw a few stripes into a scarf and call it good. The yarn's only about seven bucks, but for only 50g/42m. I, just... what? Does anyone voluntarily work with fun fur any more?

26. Aran coat with fur collar, by Mari Lynn Patrick.
Two sizes, 44-47in/111-119cm. Which is a joke for something meant to go over other clothing. A large-gauge not entirely horrible coat. With fun fur collar for extra annoyance. The gauge is big enough that the wind will whistle right through, though it'd be a nice layer with about four others for outdoors.

And that's it for this issue, thanks to Hecatae and Satan. I do think VK is improving, especially on the size issue. Maybe they finally started to believe what everyone said, that more sizes meant more potential customers? Maybe they got over their fat hate? Maybe it's a fluke and the next issue will be full of one-size wonders? Tune in and possibly find out. I think I ran out of new stuff to say about VK somewhere in 2010.

Anyway. I'm actually glad I got the issue for the Bohus stuff and the second pattern. Well worth the cost. Happy knitting!