Monday, February 27, 2006

Turtles KAL

First of all, CONGRATULATIONS to those amazing Knitathletes who finished their projects yesterday. I am in awe -- so impressed by the amazing projects I've seen in the last 24 hours.

After reading about two excellent knitters who, like me, didn't get the gold medal, I joked with Ms. Obsession that we should have our own "little post-Olympic knit along that we could name 'Last One to Cross the Finish Line KAL' or the 'Rotten Egg KAL'". She immediately responded with this hilarious button:

So in the spirit of all those KnitAthletes who had personal crises, occupational hazards, illness, kids, or swollen fingers, I invite you to the TURTLE KAL. May all the slow-but-steady green beings of the world unite in a goal of completion, on our own schedules.

Ms. Obsession says it well:
"It's a heartbreaking defeat, but I will not be daunted. I will not give up. I WILL finish this sweater THIS WEEK or die trying. The torso is complete, and the hood has about 6 rows completed. There's also about 6 inches of a sleeve. I can DO it. I can. Stop laughing. So you see, I can't talk now. MUST.KEEP.KNITTING."

Ms. Jess says it well:
"I'm disappointed that I didn't finish, but I feel really good about the way I did it. I chose something that was a real challenge and strove for the gold, but I didn't sacrifice my standards. I ripped out 4" of the front chest, and dropped 2-4 stitches 20+ rows to fix cable mistakes FOUR TIMES. I didn't finish in time for a medal, but I did do something wonderful and without sacrifice. And I'm not done yet! The medals may already have been awarded, but I'm going to keep going until I cross the finish line too."

TURTLES UNITE! Slow But Steady ... steal a button and join us.

*EDITED TO ADD: If you leave your site address in the comments, I'll add you to the Turtle Along blogroll on the sidebar. When you've crossed the Olympic finish line, drop me an email at TheFeministMafia AT yahoo DOT com and I'll turn you GREEN.

Red States

Note to self: Never Move to South Dakota!

*thanks to Pinko Feminist Hellcat for the story.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Zoe Mellor -- Bite Me!

I'm beginning to understand Grumperina's frustrations with pattern writers. I've been working at the Zoe Mellor "Chunky Cabled Sweater" from Adorable Knits for Tots for several months (6, on an off?). Within 4 inches of the start, I realized the center cable was completely and totally wrong. As my first real cable project, I wondered if it was me. Nope, it wasn't. Then I tried three different cable designs until I came up with something suitable. After I completed the back, I realized that it wasn't a perfect fix. Grrr. But I didn't want to start over, so I decided to accept the less-than-perfect solution (story of my life ...) and knit the front with the same cable.

When I started the sleeves, I thought I'd try a slightly different cable to see if I could match the cable in the photos. Noone would notice a tiny change in the cable between the sleeves and the body, right? About 4 inches into that I realized I was making a stupid amateurish error and only increasing on one side of the sleeves. Stupid. I ripped. After a couple days of train rides and SnBs, I got a couple more inches done. And I cheered at the center cable - it finally matched the photos perfectly.

Today, through the miracle of snow, Wifey's nose in a good book, and Little Man's growing ability to play by himself, I was able to spend the better part of the afternoon knitting. With the smell of Olympic Gold wafting about my living room, I got to 8 inches (out of 9 1/2) and realized the increases weren't happening quickly enough. I went back and read the pattern for the 10,000th time and realized that I was supposed to increase 1 stitch on EACH side of each 4th row. I was only increasing 1 stitch on ONE side of each 4th row. Fuck.Fuck.FuckityFuck. I am SO PISSED!

I know I can't blame this last error on Zoe Mellor, but if they had published a chart, it would have been obvious long ago. I would've noticed that my row count wasn't accurate on row 8 instead of INCH 8!! Is it too much to expect a chart for a pattern that includes a dense center cable, 6 twists, 4 4-st cables and endless seed stitch on each piece?

So alas, I've given up my dreams of Olympic glory. I won't be getting a gold medal in the individual competition. Good thing I never actually registered as an individual. But I'll get a gold in the team competition for sure.


Friday, February 24, 2006

Little Surprises

After a glorious Kris show, I walked all.the.way.down. Brattle Street to find the car. As I'm strolling along to the beat of acoustic girl-guitar, coat wide open after 4 hours of sweltering Passim hippie-heat, flush with parental pride at my lovely boy who clapped, squealed with delight, paid attention, and charmed everyone in the place, I see a jogger. A man. He's just finished his run and is standing next to his car with the door flung open. He's wearing only running shorts (hello...February?) and he's lean and muscular. He's drying his face and chest with a towel. He has no modesty is confident - proudly standing on Brattle Street, car flung wide open, half naked on a February night. I have visions of fraternities and blond het-girls and football and beer and then a business career and a killer golf swing and a supple leather briefcase and eventually a Volvo and a golden retriever and a swingset and the perfect salt and pepper hair.

As I play out this man's life in my mind, I'm getting closer and closer to him. As I near the still wide open car, I hear music pouring out. It takes me a moment to realize it's Les Miserables.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

On Sunday afternoon,

I was too afraid to tell her. But Hey-Zeus if we haven't all been there. Some of us moronic mafiaosos more recently than others --

The Knitting Goddess smacked me in the face this morning. Wake up Mafia, you overly-confident, almost-to-the-self-imposed-finish-line, IDIOT. Perhaps you noticed from yesterday's photo of two sleeves that I was increasing on only ONE side. Dumb.Ass.Amateur.Move. Why didn't you tell me??? Scaredy readers.

Ummmm. yeah. -- I spent the entire train ride this morning Ripping, Picking at Plies and Reorienting the little fuckers Stitches. Frig!

But hey ... it's all good [insert imaginary pot smoke exhale here] 'cuz I'm goin' to see KRIS tonight at Club Passim with Wifey, Little Man, Isadora and Marisa! The last time Little Man went to a Kris show he was at 4 months old. He was fascinated. So keep your fingers crossed that Lugh (freshly home after her spay surgery) is intact and that Little Man's current bought of "explosive diarrhea" has passed. Or let's just hope that Wifey has cleaned the car seat, packed several outfits, stashed emergency binkies* in every possible nook and cranny, and that Little Man will react to Kris in person the same way he does in the car, and fall asleep on my shoulder during the first set. Either way, I'm coming home smelling like hummus.

*Yes, he's too old. Yes, I'm soft on this issue. Yes, we have limits - they're only allowed in bed and in case of Mommies Needing Some Sexy Female Singer Songwriter Live In Person With Friends Unfortunately Timed While Babysitter Is Out Of Town Socializing. Got something to say about it? huh? huh? Yeah, I didn't think so. Kisses!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Faux Finish Line

I've completed the front and back of Little Man's Chunky Cabled Sweater.

But I'm on a mad dash to complete the sleeves before the weekend. I can't wait to see his blond curls skim the dark turquiose neckband.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Mental Health

Today Angry Chicken hit it dead-on for two reasons:

1. The Knitting Olympics is in full swing and while I technically finished the two blocks that I committed to, I want to finish the Chunky Cabled Sweater for Little Man before he grows out of the damn thing, and

2. I'm an obsessive lunatic who is constantly overanalyzing life, the meaning of life, my career, my relationship, my son's IQ/natural abilities, my career, my relationship, my musical tastes, my commitment to social justice vs. my innate laziness, my commitment to social justice vs. my need to draw yarn through loops, my career, my relationship, and if my idiotic attempts to steer my family clear of financial disaster will ever actually work considering that I drop $20 on yarn at the drop of a needle.

So, yes, I need to read this today (and every day). Does this resonate with you?

Common Sense Rules For Mental Health

There are a few simple rules which can be depended upon to help you develop habits of thinking and acting that will safeguard mental and emotional health:

1. Waste no time in looking backward. Concentrate on plans for the future.

2. Learn to get your satisfaction out of simple daily accomplishments. A row of beautifully white clothes on the line may be just as satisfying as a burst of applause over the footlights.

3. If you cannot change an unsatisfactory situation, face the fact and make the best of it. Don't wear yourself out "beating your wings against the walls life's duties have imposed."

4. Try to distinguish between the things you want and the things you really need. Often when you have attained your heart's desire you find that it isn't as important as you had thought. Learn to deny yourself little things for the sake of bigger ones. If you weight what you want today against what you know you must have later on, you will probably decide in favor of that which has the more permanent value and get greater satisfaction out of the experience in the long run.

5. Cultivate the spirit of tolerance. Try to understand the point of view of other people and concede them the right to their opinions. You may not agree with them, but if you had had the same background and experience they have had, you might think and act as they do.

6. Remember that real happiness comes only through being helpful to others, so practice the golden rule.

7. Let your sense of humor grow. Learn to laugh at yourself instead of at other people. Look for the funny side of the difficulties you get into, and they will not be half so irritating.

- The American Red Cross Home Nursing Manual, 1942.

Friday, February 17, 2006

My Olympics are DONE!

1) Square #1 (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday)

2) Square #2 (Wed & Thurs)

3) Squares seamed to growing blanket (Friday morning commute)

4) Shop for VDay gift for Wifey - DONE
5) Care for Little Man - DONE
6) Clean house - DONE
7) Prep for 4-hour class - DONE
8) Teach 4-hour class - DONE
9) Bake chocolate chip cookies for the colleague who guest spoke at 4-hour class - DONE
10) Do FT job - DONE
11) Sleep? Yeah ... not so much.

I'm looking forward to sleeping tonight, an artistic adventure with Wifey and Little Man tomorrow, working on Little Man's Chunky Cabled Sweater, and grading some papers (I'm a devil with a bright blue pen and a penchant for A minuses).

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy VDay ... from the Jaded Anti-Romantic

-You're a bit of a cynic when it comes to love.
-You don't lose your head, and hardly anyone penetrates your heart.
-Your ideal Valentine's Day date: is all about the person you're seeing (with no mentions of v-day!)
-Your flirting style: honest and even slightly sarcastic
-What turns you off: romantic expectations and "greeting card" holidays
-Why you're hot: you don't just play hard to get - you are hard to get



I completed one 8x8" square for the MIT Relay Team. Hooray! I like to call it "The-Cross-Whenever-I-Damn-Well-Please-Cable-Pattern" not to be confused with a cable pattern that requires a row counter and a fully awake knitter.

I have another 8x8" square to do before lunch on Thursday. Between now and then I have a Wifey to VDay shop for, a child to care for, a house to avoid clean, a 4-hour class to prepare for, a 4-hour class to teach, a batch of chocolate chip cookies to make for a colleague for being a guest speaker at said 4-hour class, and FT job to do for 16 hours out of the next 48. Sleep? Who needs sleep? OLYMPIANs don't need no stinkin' sleep!!

In better news, once Friday rolls around, I am DONE with my portion of the Relay. But I'm already thinking I should try to complete Little Man's languishing Chunky Cabled Sweater before the end of the Olympics. Am I crazy or what?

Friday, February 10, 2006

Let the Games Begin!

The Knitting Olympics Athletes Pledge

I, a knitter of able hands and quick wits, to hereby swear that over the course of these Olympics I will uphold the highest standard of knitterly excellence.

I will be deft of hand and sure of pattern, I will overcome troubles of yarn overs and misplaced decreases. I will use the gifts of intelligence and persistence (as well as caffeine and chocolate) and I will execute my art to the highest form, carrying with me the hope for excellence known to every knitter.

I strive to win. To do my best, and to approach the needles with my own best effort in mind, without comparing myself to my fellow knitters, for they have challenges unique to them.

While I engage in this pursuit of excellence and my own personal, individual best, I also swear that I will continue to engage with my family in conversation, care for my pets, speak kindly with those who would ask me to do something other than knit, and above all, above every stitch thrown or picked, above every cable, every heel stitch, every change of colour, I swear this:

That I will remember that this is not the real Olympics, that I'm supposed to be having fun and that my happiness and self-worth ride not on my success....but on my trying.

Let the games begin!

---> written by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, The Yarn Harlot, and shameless instigator fearless leader of these Knitting Olympics <---

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

My Ideal

is 5 row houses with Me/Wifey/LittleMan (see us in the window?), Danielle, Mom/Bro, RBO/Girls, Marisa/Isadora, a brightly-colored playground at the corner, lots of trees, and lots of city gardens.

*thanks [again] to Mellow Trouble for the link to Draw a House. You can draw one too. In fact, according to the site, you can create a street and link your house to mine. Warning -- the image on the screen looks better when you're working on it. For instance, I couldn't see any of those little white pixels among the bricks. And it's hard to draw a straight line. You're at the mercy of your mouse. But it's SO much fun. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


OMG, I thought my blogiversary was Feb. 8th, and when I checked again, I realized it was Feb. 3rd!! How did I miss my own blogiversary? Damn!

Four days late, I am celebrating ONE full year of blogilicious, blogtastic, blogonderful, blogilarious, bloginess with a delicious e-cake. Want a slice?

Cake designed by the amazing Canadian pastry chef Blair Fukumura. Check out his work; it's incredible! Also, go see Fluevog's response and the actual shoe. Such love.

Once you're finished snacking, head on over to the

I've been slaving away at the keyboard for a couple months, so I hope you like it. After a year of blogging, I think it's a safe bet that I'll continue for a bit longer. So I took the time to compile all the photos, ball bands and stories for every one of my knit creations. Yes folks, I listed all 44 of the crazy things I've created since Wifey taught me how to throw a stitch in October 2003. I've included the good, the bad and the hideous. Feel free to snark and snort at the evolution of my knitting.

To further amuse, I followed the excellent linkage over at Mellow Trouble (yes, I'm obsessed with her), and found the Celtic Chart Generator. It's SO fun!

The obvious first attempt:

Attempt #2

A reminder to me for KY06

A reminder, as I age, that I'm hot-hot-hot in my own mind


Which gets me thinking about

Which is a naturally leads to

This one's for BFF&exGF#2

And this one's Nina-Speak for 'spill your guts'.

Here's one for President Bush

And let's not forget Dick Cheney

And finally, we'll end with something nice and sweet for all you yarn-peddlers who got me sucked into this fabulous craft. Thanks.

Love to all and to all a good [sexy] night. Slainte!

Thursday, February 02, 2006


I spend a wonderful weekend in Philly. In addition to pictures and stories that I'll post later, I spent some time with BFF&exGF#2's very old and ailing Nanny. I love Nan. She's old, cranky, needy, loving, snuggly, cute, sassy and smart. I hung out at Nan's new (undesired, but one-floor) apartment on the couch while Danielle wiped down the kitchen and took care of other weekly tasks. Nan was in a great mood on Sunday, but still managed to complain about everything related to being old and feeble. In the midst of it, she moaned about her hands, "you know, these hands used to crochet, knit, do needlepoint…" Ding, ding, ding - I started paying extra attention, but before I could start speaking Knit, we were interrupted by the travils of daily life.

So during my scheduled weekend trip to Loop, we found big chunky "Peace Pink" Blue Sky Alpacas handpainted yarn (Nan can see light colors only) and big fat size 19 Crystal Palace plastic needles. Danielle will present the yarn and needles to Nan this weekend. I can't wait to hear her reaction. I am determined to get those wrinkly, achy, old hands stitching again. Keep your needles crossed ladies. Nan needs all your psychic-purl support.

In funny Nan news, here's part of an email that Danielle sent to me today:

I spent like 40 minutes on the phone last night trying to troubleshoot Nan's cable tv problems.

Nanny (shrieking): " channels are fuzzy...all the ones i's like snow or, 3...snow...6...snow...7...snow...8...snow...9...snow...10...snow..."

Danielle (sighing and laughing and thinking she needs video calling): "aww nan, did you break the tv again? okay nanny, let's see. can you please go to the tv in the bedroom and tell me if the same thing is happening?"

Nanny (mumbling): "11...snow..12...snow.."

Danielle: "so, snow in the bedroom too?"

Nanny (shrieking again): "what? you want me to go in the bedroom?"

Danielle: "nan, weren't you listening? yes...that way we can try to figure out if it's the cable or just something with the tv in the living room."

Nanny: "what? you think something is wrong with the cable?"

Danielle: "that's what we're trying to figure out! just go in the bedroom please and check the channels"

Nanny: "okay...hold on...hmm...33 is clear."

Danielle: "was that channel fuzzy in the living room?"

Nanny: "I don't know."

Danielle: "ughghghggh..nan! you aren't helping here. turn on channel 11, which you said was fuzzy in the living room and tell me if that one is fuzzy."

Nanny: "okay, yes, snow."

Danielle: "and you definitely get that channel normally?"

Nanny: "11 was my 12"

Danielle: "what? nan, I know the channels are different in the suburbs than in the city, but just tell me if you got channel 11 yesterday."

Nanny: "10 snow...9 snow...8...snow"

Daneille: "okay, okay, i know, snow! so all the low channels are snowy but all the high channels work?:

Nanny: "huh? what?"

Danielle: "nan, if you want me to help, you have to listen. flip through the high channels that you normally watch and tell me if they are coming in."

Nanny: "like my TBS? yes, 22 clear...23 clear...24 clear..."

Danielle: "okay enough. go in the living room and tell me if channel 22, 23 and 24 come in."

Nanny: "what? you want me to go in the living room?"

eheheheheheh. You can imagine how the rest of this conversation went. This is what I do with my evenings. I think that whole conversation would have worked better if Little Man had been holding the remote. Blog that!

I love old people. If I were a photographer, I would photograph wrinkly skin. But damn ... I feel Nan's frustration. Not being able to see well, walk steadily, drive, and walk more than 20 feet would drive me insane. I'll definitely be a cranky, needy, loving, snuggly, cute, sassy and smart old lady, and I hope that I have a granddaughter like Danielle that I can annoy.

I'm around ... sorta

Loving my Little Man.
Training for the Knitting Olympics.

Check out this amazing sand artist that a co-worker shared with me. Click on "Just Imagine". It's amazing.