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Posts from July 2006

Time out bin

I finished knitting all the pieces of Angie the other day but ran out of yarn before finishing the neck.  It looks okay with the shorter neck, but not great.  So I'm still on the hunt for another ball of cotton tape (Colour 549 Sharp, Lot L43854).  After all this work, I'm not completely convinced this is the sweater for me and I've put it in the storage ottoman for a little time out. 


I hate when you get all excited about a sweater and it goes awry.  I hate that I practically knit this sweater twice and I'm so ambivalent about it.  I could rip it and stash the yarn or knit this one or finish seaming it up and then deciding, but right now I just don't want to see it.  Grrrr.   

Row gauge, my new dominatrix

Yes Mistress Row Gauge, I should have listened to you.  Yes, Mistress, I understand that even if I like the sweater at 24 rows to 10cm *you* like it better at the 18 rows that the pattern calls for.


Yes mistress row gauge, while it does look a bit messier (but that will block out) and I see the sweater has a better drape and will actually fit me if I knit it to the proper gauge.  And yes, I will therefore have enough yarn to finish it instead of running out like I did the first time.


I understand that I must listen to your Mistress Row Gauge and paying for my folly by knitting most of the sweater again.

Yes Mistress I should have listened to you.  I will try to be more subservient to you in the future.

I'm surprised it wasn't dusty

Look what I dragged out of the WIP basket:


This week I had a strange urge to knit colour and took out Colourwork Classic from the Fall 2004 (yes 4) Interweave Knits.  I started it as soon as I got the magazine and then lost interest and didn't touch it for about a year.  It survived the test of time (unlike Madli's shawl which I will not be completing) and I'm having a good time with it.

I converted the pattern from flat to the round and I'm thinking ahead to how I will deal with the armholes (they are drop shoulder).  I've never done a traditional steek and I think this would survive the no-sew method, but I'm not sure I have enough yarn for that (and my track record lately makes me leery of yarn shortages).  So I may go the Philosopher's Wool just sew and cut method.  I need to think on it more.  The yarn is worsted weight so I need to avoid any extra armhole bulk.

There's no rush to finish since I don't think I'll wear it until the dead of winter, but it is fun to actually go back to an abandoned project.

Sunrise Circle Jacket



I would gush about how great this sweater is (because it is) but it's too humid and my throat is too strepty right now (yes, I got strept in the summer, how does that happen?)

I am sure once the weather changes I will wear this a lot.  The shape is curvey and the fit is perfect.  Check out these gorgeous back darts:


I got smart and knit it a size smaller than I would normally with perfect results.  I may have to fiddle with the button placement a tiny bit because the one around my boob looks sorta funny.  I've already re-sewn it once and well, it's just going to have to wait for now.  But I really do need to fix it.

Yes, I chose the round buttons, even though the square ones won the poll.  I really really liked those suns, but they were too small for the sweater.  I'm saving them for something else. 

Thanks Kate, for a fab pattern!

At least some people notice this stuff

Dear Alexander Ferworn, you don't know me, but I wanted to say thank you for your letter which was published in this week's Economist:

Sir- Thank you for letting us know that Hillary Clinton was "decked out in an orange trouser-suit" during a recent conference (Lexington, June 17th).  I am using this information in conjunction with economic policy I have gleaned from various fashion magazines to make up my mind about her candidacy.  Perhaps in the future you could report if Al Gore's tie matched his trousers and if George Bush wore shorts on a hot day.

Actually I'm surprised The Economist printed it.  It's not going to stop stuff like this, but it's a start. 

More Irony

Yesterday we dived right into a bunch of ironic consumption: crocs were purchased for the children (who were very happy to have "the" shoes) and we ate at McDonald's.  We revelled in the greasy goodness.  Then I took a gander at the Pirates of The Caribbean happy meal box and just about choked a french fry out my nose.

McDonald's like any good corporate citizen (snork) is trying to downplay it's image as a contributor to the obesity problem by promoting physical activity, especially in children.  Under the trademarked slogan "It's what i eat and what i do" they advertise the grammatically and morally deficit idea that you can eat McDonald's and not get fat if you just do enough exercise (while this is certainly biologically possible, McDonald's does not prescribe exactly how much of each you need to do to keep things in balance). 

So on our happy meal box there's a drawing of a child swimming, their get active slogan and this little Q & A:

Q: How did pirates stay active at sea?

A: Pirates climbed ropes, went swimming and swabbed the decks to stay active.  Ask your mom if you can swab the kitchen floor at your house.

I read that, and just didn't quite know what to say...

Aside from the gendered idea that mom's are responsible for all household swabbing, the utter absurdity of both the question and the answer whacked me like heart burn after a Big (se)Xtra (tm).  Pirates did not really think of "staying active" because well, exercise as a leisure activity was unheard of at the time when pirates were sailing the high seas.  Low ranking pirates were working their butts off running the damned boat (or else dying at the hands of the Captain) and kept lean and trim by living in near starvation due to lack of food and their low rank.  And I doubt they swam much in the open ocean. 

Pirating is about drinking and raping and pillaging and illegal downloading not "staying active".  How this little bit of info on a fat laden happy meal helps childhood obesity is beyond me. 

Arr matey, does this scabbard make me look fat?


Ironic Consumption/Production

Sometimes writing is really hard work for me.  Today is one of those days.  I have a book chapter I want to finish a solid first draft on by the end of this week and it's going so very very slowly.  I wasn't involved in the original research on which the chapter is based, so it all feels a bit weird as I compile information from a bunch of places about something I don't know well.  Usually in my research I've collected and analyzed the data, read all the relevant background materials and had my hand in the work.  This time while I'm familiar with the work, I didn't do the analysis and it's just weird. 

So I've been giving myself the stern two pages a day disciplinary rule and today's two pages sure are taking a long time.  I'm nearing the end of chapter which is good, but as I do, I want to spend more time revising the first part instead of finishing the rest.

One part of the paper discusses the idea of Ironic Consumption talked about by Naomi Klein in No Logo.  (It's a great book, go read it if you haven't yet.  Ironic consumption is only two pages of a cogent treatise on corporate branding.) 


It is the idea that we consume (products for her, media for me) in multiple ways sometimes ironically twisting the consumption process away from it's original intentions.  So we may listen to Stayin' Alive and enjoy those falsetto notes, but also laugh at the cheesiness of the whole BeeGees phenomenon. 


Or we eat at McDonald's (as I will do tonight before another trip to the pool for a refreshing swim) and also hate all it's horrible corporate ways by explaining to our children that the Pirates of the Caribbean Happy Meal is an insidious form of advertising designed to have you cajole me into taking you to a movie I know will freakin' scare the pants off you and that I know what's better for you than a money-hungry, obesity inducing restaurant (and no you're not having pop but milk with your dinner). 


Instead of resisting the act of consumption (as was the more liberal practice of the past achieved through boycotts) we surrender to consumption, but with the awareness that we can and do shape that process in our own sometimes subversive ways (how subversive it is I'm not all that sure).  Like how I bought another bathing suit today (not a little two-piece, but a tankini with board shorts) after expressing my disdain for how women's suits are designed and how they create angsts and desires in me which I dislike.  I'm still going to have mixed feelings about being in a swimsuit, yet I continue to happily spend my cash on them.

In terms of health media audiences, they will watch news reports about physical activity and understand and appreciate the stay-fit, stay-healthy messages put forth by various agencies.  However they will also respond to the neo-liberal aspects of these messages which position the pursuit of good health as an individual responsibilty that is good not only for oneself but also to save health care dollars and possibly interpret that as a government ploy to save money or get us ready for a looming health care crisis.  The thing about audiences is they are actively intrepreting messages and we need to ask them what they think instead of just deciding that as academics that people take up messages the way we want them too just because they can remember the name of your health agency.

Today I also feel like I'm doing some ironic production too.  I'm spewing out loads of words on the blog, but so very few on my chapter--I keep counting the lines to see if I'm going to achieve my two page goal.  The writing comes easily here, more difficult in the spaces where I earn my living.  I'm also interpreting someone else's data and analysis in ways which she may not have intended as the cycle of meaning making continues.

Now if you add some comments I'll have some audience reception and we'll complete the circuit of communication.  Nifty eh?

Bathing Suits

We're in the middle of a good old Toronto heat wave, so there isn't a whole lot of knitting going on.  I did manage to do a few inches of a sock while at Drunken Knitters Night Friday and watching Six Feet Under last night, but that's not a whole hell of a lot. 

So today I'm thinking about bathing suits.  I went to Riverdale pool for the first time (which was fantastic, we're going back tomorrow) and watching this pool full of bathers got me thinking.

I mostly think women's bathing suits are kinda stupid, due to the massive amount of angst they cause us.  First there's the whole thing about revealing most of our bodies--wearing what amounts to underwear (maybe the matronly kind, but still) out in public.  So we want something that makes us look as best we can, but we know that's sorta impossible since bathing suits are made for "perfect" bodies. 

Then there's all the hair removal that is require to achieve that "look as good as possible" thing.  Men get to wear massive swim trunks that cover up all those embarassing hairs, we get to shave, tweeze, rip, chemically neutralize or electrocute ours ending up with scars, ingrown hairs, those little red bumps etc.  Why is this good?  If it's good for the XY why is it not good for the XX?

Most I wonder, why do I want to fit in so much?  I want that nice suit, the good body to hang it from and the perfect hair removal method to finish off the look.  I did get a lovely suit last year from Lands End.  A navy tankini with white polka dots which I look pretty good in and which I'm comfortable wearing.  But it ain't perfect.  I see women (mothers like me--I've learned to ignore the young things in their little bikinis because I didn't look like that at 20 and I don't now) wearing fancy revealing two pieces and I want one. 

Why do I want show off my not-so-perfect body in public? 


Part of me thinks it's political--showing the world that I don't have a perfect figure but I'll wear what I like.  Part of me thinks it's vanity (because I don't look that bad, my husband tells me how beautiful I am every day).  But the rest of me can't figure what the hell is going on.


So I continue to troll the Lands End website (their bathing suits fit me and they have a great return policy) looking for that perfect suit.  (right now I'm big on the mix and match stuff) I suppose I haven't gone completely insane because I'm not knitting one (there's a pattern here if you're into that sort of thing).

It better be Friday

I'm feeling a wee bit cranky.  It could be because Yarn Harlot has been heralding all the bad energy to Toronto, but since it's for a very good cause, I'll put up.  But I won't quite shut up.

It's hot.

I'm in a building with no A/C and teeny fan.

My computer is an old piece of shit and I've spent the better part of the day trying to remove files so I have enough room to defragment the hard drive.  I cannot manage it and I have absolutely no documents on it (I save all those on the network) and have even removed a good portion of the software I personally installed (which I will reinstall to another drive later).  Hell, I've started just deleting stuff I don't recognize.  So far the computer hasn't broken...yet (my hope is that if I really fuck it up they'll either a) give me a new one or b) reformat the hard drive and start again--it's been floating around the department for about 6 years so it could use it).

All this computer crap means I haven't done any writing today.

And, I only have 3 balls of Cotton Tape left, I need to find one more so I can finish this sweater.  This and the whole Sunrise Circle yarn shortage must be payback for the bazillion times I've used far less yarn than the pattern called for (as will happen with Ripples in time where I'll use less than 3 full balls and the pattern calls for 4).

It's only 2.  I guess that means it's too early to go to the Spotted Dick for Toronto Drunken Knitters Night.

Must try to find more files to erase.  6 gig hard drives on Pentium 3 computers suck.