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Posts from October 2005

How can this be good in any way?

Apparently Barbie has decided to convert to Islam.


I have no issues with Muslims any more than I have with most other patriarchal religions that enforce women's servitude through various means (i.e. stifling Choice, rigid codes of dress and behaviour you know the rest). 

And I just don't have the idea of a Creator in my everyday sphere of thinking (except maybe the Flying Spaghetti Monster, but that's because my first ever academic endorsement is published on his Noodley Goodness' site--you have to scroll down a bunch to see it).  However, I digress...

The cult of Barbie gives me the willies.  It's just the secular version of enforcing patriarchy in young girls.  Modest Head-covered version, or slutty, boobs that defy logic version, they're still telling girls what to aspire toward in their culture.  All for $19.95.  Accessories not included.

More Concealment

This post is lighter, I promise.

Why is it that knitting publications refuse to actually show you the garment they're encouraging you to knit?

I've been on the hunt for a knitted coat pattern ever since the entrelac coat debacle and this one from the latest Vogue Knitting might be a good choice.


Except I can't see the frickin' thing.  This photo (from the website) is much better than the one in the magazine, I can't tell how long it is, but the stitch pattern is like, how it fits or hangs, nothing.  I don't tend to like to knit things sight unseen.

Though I do rather like this one...

Discourses of Concealment

This week's lecture is on women's health in the media, focusing on breast cancer.  Media analysis of women's health is my THING so this week should be a fun class.  I chose breast cancer despite myself (or to spite myself) because I think it is area that has been way over done.  There are a bunch of media analyses of breast cancer and frankly I think academics have both contributed to and have been influenced by the breast cancer awareness raising and related pink ribboning that has consumed women's health discussions in the last decade.

I'm not against raising awareness etc., and what I say next is not directed at individual women and their experiences but is a critique of the social construction of breast cancer in the media consciousness.  I think this breast cancer/pink ribbon phenomenon has occurred at the expense of other very pressing public health issues that affect Western women and women around the world.  I also think the media discourse on breast cancer does not encourage women's activism, anger or collective thinking instead focusing on individuals, consumerism (buy something pink because the company will donate money to breast cancer), and reinforcing of gender stereotypes and illness metaphors of courageousness and valour.

That being said, it is important for students to discuss an issue as pervasive on the women's health in the media landscape as breast cancer, and well, it is breast cancer awareness month and the students have to do a media analysis assignment so I'm betting 99% of the papers will be on breast cancer.

So breast cancer it is.  There are a bunch of different things I could have taught them (and if you email me I can send you some sources) but I decided to focus on what I'm calling the discourse of concealment (which I'm borrowing from others) because of this photo

That is not the image of breast cancer we get in the media.  Instead we get this


No, it's not porn, it's from Canadian Living (a popular women's magazine like Ladies' Home Journal). 

Why?  Well, even though breast cancer is ubiquitous in the media, we are taught through the images and stories that while we need to discuss breast cancer and take on preventative protocols and present women's triumph over tragedy stories, we are not to show the real breast cancer.  The mutilating surgeries, the hair loss, the pain and suffering, the vomiting and crying and moaning and pity and anger and losses and fear. 

Instead, through stories of women beating the odds, or fighting hard but failing to survive and dying courageously, of pressures to Look Good and Feel Better, to fight, to eat right and exercise regularly and eat flax and avoid estrogen and buy organic, and not smoke and have babies and breast feed and avoid too much stress and take every treatment and new therapy and be guinea pigs for the next treatment, and paddle in dragon boats and have breast reconstruction surgery and be super-women fighting cancer... we are taught that breast cancer is something to talk about but hide at the same time. 

And that is why there are no pictures of women's breasts in articles about breast cancer that are not sexual and mysterious (or headless)-- women with faces and saggy breasts and fat bellies.  Women with dark skin or older women or other women or do not conform to society's ideas of what a woman with breast cancer really looks like.  That's why we think women who don't wear wigs or prosetheses are courageous because they defy the discourse of concealment and show us what having this disease is all about.

That's why that picture of Twisty is so shocking.  It's real and it sucks.  No pink ribbon or buying a blender so 2 cents can go to a charity makes that better.  Because that would be just too much. Too close to home and too ugly. 

More Rhinebeck but a less happy tale

I told you I was going to stretch this out.  That's because this week I've managed to knit a couple of rounds on a sock and 12 rows on my daisy shawl.  C'est toute, et je suis tres desole.  Oh ya, and I've been helping Emma with her homework en francais.

And I've been playing with my new ballwinder.


Here it is in the box.  It's a Strauch brand winder and it can wind balls of up to one pound!  I liked it because it was both left and right handed and smooth and purty (no plastic). 

However, it didn't really like me.  I managed to seriously mangle a ball of koigu with it last night and very patient Craig helped very impatient me untangle my mess until midnight last night. 

Since my old ballwinder gave me similar troubles, I've decided it must be me.   I lack in ballwinder operator technique or something.  It tends to happen more with skinny yarns than fat, so I'm thinking I either don't put enough tension on the yarn or I go too fast (remember, impatient I am).  When I took it slow last night it worked fine.  But I was rather unhappy that my new toy and I didn't get along so well.  I had plans to just wind up every hank I had lying around. 

That being said, I love the winder.  Smooth, quiet and the part that holds the yarn doesn't suddenly fly across the room.  It's the little things that make me happy apparently.

Handpainted Sock Yarn

I love handpainted yarn of any kind.  But I especially love handpainted sock yarn.  Probably because I'll wear something on my feet that I might not wear as a sweater, but also because I usually cannot afford enough handpainted anything for a sweater.

Rhinebeck is a handpainted yarn junkie's dream.

Though I must admit I'm a tad fussy about my handpaints.  Not all of them talk to me.  I spent considerable time trying very hard to buy yarn from one such business but none of the colours did anything for me.  They didn't grab me and my wallet the way other places did.

For example these lovely ones:


The two balls on the left are from Oak Grove in the colour Fall Leaves ( and the two on the right are Socks that Rock in Moss Agate and Lagoon from The Fold.  I had a hard time deciding which socks rocked the most at that place.  I loved them all.

Maybe tomorrow I'll wind these babies with my new ballwinder and see how they look.

Rhinebeck name dropping

I'm back! 

It was a long drive (though I didn't do the driving--thanks Maryann!) of 9ish hours each way, but we made it. Big big thanks to Emma for making all the arrangements and getting us to Rhinebeck when we thought the trip was a bust.

I'm short on words tonight so I'll do pictures instead.

This is where we stayed:


A tiny little sleep cabin at a lovely campground.  It had electricity, beds and was a short walk to the showers/bathroom.  It was warm enough when snuggled into a sleeping bag and at $52 a night quadruple occupancy, it was perfect.  It was a short drive to Rhinebeck too.

But of course we had to eat.


The oldest Diner in the US--established in 1927.  A lovely example of Art Deco and they served not a bad breakfast either.

Then on to Rhinebeck.  Those people know how to run a fair.  Parking was a snap, admission was easy and there was yarn everywhere.  I was a bad girl, too busy shopping to take many pictures.  Amy took lots, so go see her blog.

Besides the yarn (and fibre and more yarn) I got to meet and hug and chat with so many great virtual friends.  I met Claudia, Norma, Juno, Lauren, Jenn, Alison, Nathania, Nilda, Jaya, Amber, Jo (so great to finally meet you), Cate, Em, Cara, Cassie, Vanessa, Hope (both of whom wore the most fab Starmores) and a whole bunch more people that I'm sure I'm forgetting (and who are waving their fists of yarn at me right now!).

Here I am with Nilda, Nathania and Jaya--three amazing knitting women. 


And I finally got to meet Em.  She's cool and fun and just how I expected.  I love that.  See how happy we are?


I'll leave it at that for tonight.  There's lots more to talk about and since I'll be working my ass off the next little while, it means I can stretch out the content a bit too.


Sorry I've been away from the blog lately, but I've got nothing.  No knitting content, no time, no sleep, almost no sanity.  Let's just say things have been a bit hectic.

Nothing bad, just lots of work, family that needs my attention (which seems to rise with my workload), the mundane domestic tasks, like digging out the warm clothes and putting away the shorts and tanks, Thanksgiving holiday and related eating, and I don't know what else.

I can tell you that I started a sock for Craig, blocked the Daisy Shawl in progress to see how it would look (and which I now love and will continue with), accomplished more on Mermaid before I ripped it out because I messed up the third gusset (not a major heartbreak but still a pain in the butt) and I wonder when I'll have time to knit again because I now have 100 papers to mark.  I couldn't find a qualified teaching assistant, so I got to hire (and pay) myself.  I question my sanity for taking on the extra workload, but plan to treat myself to some yarn after it's all done.

Oh ya, and I'm leaving for Rhinebeck Friday afternoon!!!!!! If I wasn't so tired I'd be more gushy-excited about it.

So how about I go to bed and get a good night's sleep and try this post again?  Because it would seem that I have something, but I'm too tired/lazy/silly/unmotivated to do a proper post with links and pictures and everything.

Good night then.

Better, but...

Here's Daisy the sequel.

I went up 3 needle sizes to a 6mm and did the background in garter stitch this time.  It's better, but I'm still not sure.  I love the idea of getting something like Kat Coyle's blue daisy shawl (thanks for the tips Kat) but it doesn't seem to be working for me.  Maybe this would be better in a heavier yarn so that only the daisies are lacey. 


Since it's kidsilk haze I want to use it for the right thing.  I think I'll let it sit for a few days before I make a final decision.  I mean it's not like I have nothing else on the needles.