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April 2007

Posts from March 2007

No knitting, but still have sheep

Work has been busy, mostly because I've started a fourth job.  Teaching ends in two weeks (tomorrow is the penultimate class) so I'll be back to something more manageable in a few weeks, but now is sorta nutty.

Since I'm busy and not knitting Mom bought me a treat:


Isn't it cute?  Check out the back:


They had pigs and polka dots and cows--but nothing beats a sheep.  She bought it at a little cooking shop on the Danforth--I don't know if it's widely available.


Back to regular And She Knits Too! programming

Holy comments Batman!  What an interesting discussion.  I wanted to do a little content analysis to sum it all up (I'm currently in content analysis mode at work, so it seemed natural) but I just didn't have the time.  I assure you I read and considered every comment and while I didn't respond to all of you, I did pop over and visit a few new blogs and I gained a solid understanding of people's take on blogging and blog commenting. 

As I said before I love the interactivity blogging creates, and your thoughtful comments just went to prove my point.  Thanks!

My personal life has been a bit topsy turvey lately which means that I've been really busy with work.  I'm starting a 4th employment contract this Monday which just adds to the pile of stuff I need to do for pay.  My teaching is winding down by the end of April and the Post-Doc is in the final stages, but I need to take what I can find when I find it so right now blogging, knitting and socializing may be on the low side for a bit.  I did have a small triumph--my first, first-authored academic article was published on Wednesday.  I have some more in the peer-review tubes but this is the first and I'm really happy about it.

Now to knitting.  My parents have been visiting and my extra-super-Mom has been taking very good care of us.  Laundry is done, meals are cooked, house is clean--which leaves lots of time for knitting.

Uncle Ken's second sock is coming along nicely:


I fear I'll run out of yarn.  I even dug out my scale and it says I'll have just enough.  The heels on these socks may not match, but I can live with that in the interest of not having to rip back.  Next time I'm knitting toe-up socks (I usually do, so this is adding to the fear).

Pimlico is also cooking along.  It's a beautiful garment but rather boring.  A 32" rectangle is not exciting.  I'm at 13" so it's getting less fun by the minute.  It would be perfect for this time of year, so I need to get cracking.


Bohus, Collette and Colourwork Classic are marinating.  I haven't got the mental energy to knit these (and with a house full of people it just isn't wise) but I'm thinking fondly of them.

Instead of just getting to knitting business, I started something else using Noro Iro that my super fabulous virtual pal Ann sent me.  I love Iro and decided being wrapped in Sherbie--a nice knit jacket--would be the perfect thing.  This one would be perfect for cool Spring mornings and I might even finish it before the weather is warm.  The back is done:


It needs serious blocking to spread the ribs and get the 23.24" chest measurement.  I'm blocking this part first to see if I'm knitting the correct size.  I made myself do the XS because the small seemed a bit big, but I also don't want a body hugging chunky sweater. 

I'm also planning a few summer knits.  I don't do tanks because it's too hot to wear them in the height of summer and I never really wore the ones I've knit in the past.  But I could use some cardigans.  They're good for cooler mornings and a/c crazy offices and they can add a little something to a tee-shirt to make me look "professional" (as opposed to the schlumpy academic look that I tend to fall into).  Right now I have a few things catching my attention:

Dune from Rowan 33.  I've had the yarn stashed for this since it came out.  I think it's time to continue my plan to knit from the stash.


I'm really liking Rowan 41 too.  Particularly Maris and Spice (I know, not a cardigan, but it's Calmer in bold colours.



Right now the plan (ha!) is to finish something, anything that I have on the go now and then start Dune.  Let's see how much resolve I have.


That last post didn't go as I expected.  But it does lead into more of my thoughts about blogging.  As a Sociologist who studies media and communication, blogging has become an increasing interest for me (you know something I'll research "when I have time").  As a blogger, part of a lively and interactive knitblogging community (who also participates in some feminist blogs, but more on the sidelines), I also spent some time thinking about what blogging means and what it feels like to be part of a subculture.

The knitting subculture is vast and diverse but also has some unique/special elements that I really like.  It is a virtual community that links to real geographical spaces and real people.  Some people you "know" in cyberspace only, others in both worlds and some you know in "real life" but may not read their blogs.  It's also a generous, encouraging, vocal community.  We read the blogs, comment on the posts, participate in message boards and Yahoo groups and also in local stitch'n'bitches and knitting circles.  We knit for charities together, send bloggers secret pal gifts, knit each other socks, swap yarns and patterns, run contests, participate in challenging feats and mix the real and the virtual.

Some of us also share in life's more personal triumphs and tragedies and mix knitting life and social life.  Hell, we even drink together.  There's something unique about it in my limited trollings of the virtual world, and I'm quite happy to be part of it.  Maybe there are legions of other crafters and artists who do this too, frankly I haven't really checked.  But I don't see the same connections in the feminist blogs--people don't plan protests and consciousness raising groups together or make those "live" connections through the virtual ones so openly as in the knitting online community.  And I know what counts as live and virtual is sometimes blurry, but I don't think we've hit the world envisioned by William Gibson yet where there is nt distinction.  I think human connections in the real world matter, even if their beginnings are forged through the internet.

And honestly, I don't think I would blog if people didn't come by and say hello sometimes.  I do my best to reciprocate on the blogs I read which is partly how I maintain the readership I have here.  Blogs can also be about networking and putting in the time to communicate with others, just like other relationships.  Commenting is a way of saying "hey, how are you?" and often makes me click over to the commentor's space to see what's up or drop a friend an email to say hi (because I know not everyone has a blog). 

That's why I find commentless blogs sort of startling.  Sure people can blog without comments--why not?  But if they're just for you and some friends, why make them public or have a comment function at all?  What are people's motivations to blog?  Do they want interaction or just a space to write and think?  Do they want the comments to all be supportive or a space to exchange ideas and discuss and debate or can it just be a free-for-all (I'm good on the discuss/debate part)?  I don't have the answers, but I sure think a lot about the questions.

Lotsa brown

Thanks for all the book suggestions--having great readers like you all is very nice.  I was looking at some blogs yesterday (for work, really) and I noticed most of them never have any comments.  It was weird--why blog if you don't have people pop in and say hello? 

Anyway, the weekend was spent painting my upstairs hall.  The only vestiges of green left are around the fireplace which will be our first spring project (power tools are best for outside).  I need to paint the kitchen too, but it's yellow so it's not so horrible.

The other brown thing I finished was Uncle Ken's sock--the first one.


I used the Timberline sock pattern from Lucy Neatby's Cool Socks Warm Feet book.  I love this book, it's full of great ideas for socks and good technical advice for doing heels (like doing the heel with a separate ball of yarn--even taking the yarn from the other end of the ball to make a nice clean heel and so the pattern continues on the instep).


I used the short-row garter stitch heel (my favourite) and garter stitch toes.  I even started the second sock--the tubular cast on is *not* subway knitting.


And you may notice this sock fits me perfectly.  We have the same size feet (I snuck a look at his boots when he was visiting).  I love these socks, but Ken painted a good portion of my house; he deserves them more than me.

Thinking ahead...

It's time to start adding to the home library.  Any suggestions for a good, preferrably Canadian and feminist book on where babies come from/puberty/sexuality (I *hate* the term "facts of life") for kids (or girls) around 8? 

I was also going to add to the list not overly heteronormative**, but since the "where babies come from" thing is primarily heterosexual intercourse, I figured that I might be asking too much, but if you do have a source that avoids privileging marriage as the (only) way babies are made, that would be better.  (And yes, my daughter had asked why her friend has two mommies and how the gestating mom got pregnant, so far the answer "artificial insemination at the hospital" hasn't produced further questions).

As for books, my quick seach has yielded one that sounds good: Boys and Girls and Body Science, though the sociologist of health and women in me bristles a bit at the idea that reproduction should be thought of as "science" when it is a complex social and biological process, not just putting you know what into you know where*.

There haven't been a lot of questions about all this at home yet, and "the plan" is to just start buying some books and leaving them around.  A fellow parent is doing this after going to a workshop on children and sexuality and I think this is a good way to promote a discussion-positive household that values healthy sexuality. 

Which means working on my own skills in the discussion-positive area since that wasn't how I grew up (I had good information, but this was not a topic of discussion in my house outside that time when I was about 10 and mom took out the encyclopedia). 

I'm not at the stage where I take Sue Johanson's advice and tell the kids we're having sex and they should not bother us and we lock the door.  Mostly because I figure it'll be just like when I'm in the bathroom--it's an invitation to bother me.

*Yes, I'm being funny.  And, I'm trying to avoid too much p*rn spam.

**Heteronormative--see it in action here.  And my complete agreement with the opinion expressed about the crappy essay here.  Racist, heterosexist, get the idea.


I finished it. 


The knitting was easy, only 35 rows of garter stitch.  The grafting was challenging (the idea is to get it to look nice, not a perfect kitchener; I had to do it three times).


The crimping was fine and now I have a sparkly bracelet.


I'm planning tomorrow's outfit around this.  And I'm starting another one.


This beading thing is sorta fun.  It requires more of my concentration than knitting, and can't be done on the couch in front of the tv, but it's still neat to string those teeny delica beads on a piece of string.

Bauble is a neat pattern because you're making a strand of beaded "yarn" that will be knit into the bracelet.  That also means you're using a *lot* of beads.  Of course this means I ran out.


But I also get to go to the bead store today--I'm thinking a brown/orange/red more earthy bauble would be fun.


Even though I have lots on my plate in knitting and in life, I got seduced by a sparkly beady thing and I *need* to make it now.

Here are the raw materials for Bauble.  I've discovered some of my beads are too big (ie the seed beads disappear into the hole), but the combination of textures and colours suits me fine and I'll just play and see how it goes.


There's a knit-along with a Yahoo group so you can chat with other people seduced by sparkly objects.  Rosemary the designer is the moderator, so she's around to hand-hold all the non-beaders like me through the process.

Off to start stringing.