Tuesday, May 30, 2006

You Say Fashion Show, I Say Fugly

This is one of those posts where I might insult some of you. Yet I don't feel I need to apologize in advance. I say that because on some level, I feel those who are insulted are really the ones who need to apologize to the rest of us.

What am I talking about? Knitters who give knitters a bad name.

We've all experienced it. We tell someone that we knit and the conversation goes south pretty rapidly. For example, who among us hasn't experienced a similar casual conversation:

Knitter: "Yes...my (insert: weekend, evening, vacation, commute on the bus, etc.) was nice, too. I got to work on a bit of my (insert current knitting project) and make some progress."

Friend/acquaintance of knitter: "Ha! Knitting. My grandmother used to knit. Yeah, that sounds really hip."

Knitter: "No, it's not knitting like that. I don't make doilies and tea cozies."

Friend/acquaintance of knitter: "Yeah, right. Sure you don't."

And there you have it. The perception that knitting is grandmotherly. Many non-knitters out there think that knitting is all about dorky, unnecessary household items, misshapen sweaters, ugly unwearables and scratchy wool items that need a few months with some moths in a dark, damp place.

They don't understand that knitting isn't like that. Knitters are not required to be in a rocking chair with a cat underfoot as they knit into oblivion lining their drawers and cabinets with lacey placemats and gifting their families with ugly items.

We, the knitters, know that. We, through our blogging and shopping at great yarn stores and felting and knitting truly beautiful stuff, hopefully are changing the perception of knitting-is-just-for-grandmothers thinking one non knitter at a time.

But then, out of the blue, you come across a link from the recent Knitting Guild of America's Knit and Crochet Show held in Northern California.

And all bets are off.

This, my dear fellow knitters, are pictures from their Fashion Show held in April 2006.

Am I the only one cringing at these so called fashions?

What IS this thing??

Please tell me you DIDN'T knit a top and matching skirt.

Last I checked, hot pink doesn't match green and black stripes. That aside, this wrap-cum-scarf-cum-giant tube is just fugly.

Knitting with rags. It's the new cool. Really, it is. You haven't heard?

I'm not picking on this item because the woman is large. I could care less. I'm picking on this because it's UGLY. In any size.

No doubt this was a complicated piece to knit. That doesn't make it pretty.

This pattern as a scarf? With different colors? Maybe. As a square jacket that touches you everywhere and flatters you nowhere? No.

Hi. I know A LOT of stitches. Some of them are really, really hard. And I'm going to knit a sweater that incorporates every single one. In one garment. I am. I am.
Hi. It's still ugly.

Was that the whistle for the fashion train about to leave the station? Ladies, aka "Fashion Show" winners? You just missed the train.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Boring Blog

I know. My blog is boring lately. My knitting has been boring lately. I have 5 zillion projects waiting to start, but I'm my own worst enemy because of my latest obsession with altering patterns to fit me the way I want.

Which means that I will no longer start a pattern in "hopes" of it fitting when I'm done. I've gone that route and it turns out ugly. On so many fronts. My new obsession means I have to do "the maths" every time I want to start a new project.

I'm not such a big fan of "the maths."

It requires the use of a calculator. And thinking. And counting. And concentration. And rewriting the original pattern.

So here I sit working of scarf after boring scarf or kitty pi after kitty pi because they are easy and don't need pattern rewriting. But I've got the long weekend and I'm determined to at least get the pattern reworked so I can cast on a new not-a-scarf, not-another-kitty-pi project.

Wish me luck!

On the SP8 front, my spoiling pal sent me an adorable Hallmark ecard. This one was wishing me a happy long weekend. Why can't all weekends be three days? For the secret pal that I'm spoiling, I've been reading up on her through her blog and have started to build her first care package. Were it not for a killer migraine on Thursday nite that kept me from my LYS "knit and whine" event, I would have been able to send off a package already.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I Should Be Surprised By This?

Your Ideal Pet is a Cat
You're both aloof, introverted and moody. And your friends secretly wish that you were declawed!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Help Pass the PETS Act

To all my pet-loving blog stalkers...

If you read my blog regularly, you've read about our Katrina foster kitty
Henry and his unfortunate ending. As you can imagine, losing Henry was quite sad.

In honor of him, on Sunday, June 11 at 3 pm, my husband (
CrazyCatMan) and I are hosting an event to raise money for the passage the PETS (The Pet Evacuation and Transportation Standards) Act -- which would protect animals in future disasters like Hurricane Katrina.

Thousands of people were forced to leave their pets on the street as they evacuated due to laws and regulations that simply made no accomodation for pets to be rescued along with their guardians. This made a heartbreaking situation worse for the people, and a sheer hell for the animals.

If you're local to the Bay Area, please RSVP "yes" and make a contribution of whatever you can. 100% of the funds we raise will go directly to the Humane Society of the United States' legislative fund to pass the PETS Act and other humane laws.

If you are busy and can't attend, or just live too far from our party location, RSVP "no" but please consider making a contribution nonetheless to help us achieve our fundraising goal.

Find out all the details here:
Friends of Henry

Feel free to pass share this post with other animal lovers to help pass this important legislation.

Hope to see you on June 11.


P.S. Donations to the Humane Society Legislative Fund are used exclusively to press for new laws to protect animals from cruelty and therefore are not tax deductible.

Friday, May 19, 2006

SP8 Questionnaire

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I love merino wool, alpaca, alpaca blends, merino blends, mohair. Anything wool based. I do not like cottons, 100% silk (it smells funny to me) or acrylic. I despise acrylic yarn unless it's a novelty yarn that's fun and not cheap looking.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
After many attempts of finding storage, I settled on some ziplock closure pencil cases that I bought at Office Depot. I have about 6 or 7 of them connected with binder rings. Each case is numbered with a range of needle sizes, ie: 1-5; 6-8; 9-11, etc. In each, I put the appropriately sized needles. S
traight needles that are too tall go in the bottom drawer of my desk. It's not perfect, but it sort of works until I find something better. My friend Marissa gave me a beautiful Sally Spicer hanging bag that she uses for her needles, but I think I have too many to jam in. I like that piece better for packing my make up when I travel.

3. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I've been knitting since February 2005. My mom showed me one stitch, the knit stitch, and I went nuts after that needing to learn everything I possibly could. I took classes, I read books, I ask all kinds of questions. I would say that I'm intermediate at this point. But I still have lots I still need to master.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

No, but I should. But on second thought, I'm not sure a wishlist would have anything on it. When I want something I buy it. It's why my family can never figure out what to buy for me.

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)

I am very picky about scents. Primarily, I hate perfume. But there are scents that I love: lavender, Goatmilk from Crabtree & Evelyn (don't ask me what it's called Goatmilk. It smells nothing like a goat and nothing like milk!), the baby line from Crabtree -- it used to be called Tom Kitten but now it's just their baby line. I also like linden blossom essential oil.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

I wish I only had a sweet tooth. Unfortunately, I have sweet teeth. I love many kinds of candy. Smarties. See's peanut brittle (chocolate covered or not), red Twizzlers, Milk Duds, Tootsie Rolls. M&Ms. See what I mean? And this is just the short list.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
The only spinning I do it at the gym on a spin cycle! (And it's been a while. Must get back to the gym!) I looked at spinning at the Stitches West show and it looks interesting, but it would take time away from knitting so I'll stick to purchasing yarns instead. My true creative outlet is knitting. Although I sometimes wish I had a sewing machine because I think I could become addicted to that (odd given that I HATE to sew by hand...) but I don't want to even think about where a sewing machine would go in my house. I live with the equivalent of Felix Unger, and my husband would not think a sewing machine was "tidy" enough!

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

My computer can play MP3s. I like alternative music, "chill" music, stuff like Moby, Zero 7 and Delirium. I also like a lot of what I call "chick music:" Sara McLaughlan, Madonna, Alanis Morisette, Dido, Frou Frou, etc. I also find myself stuck in the 80s & 90s sometimes because I still like Tears for Fears, INXS, George Michael, Simply Red and stuff like that.

9. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?

I have a few favorite colors: pink, purple, red and orange. When it comes to yarns I find myself falling into color themes. I'll buy everything in the red family for a while. Then pink. Then oranges. I like certain shades of blue and green. I am not a big fan of browns and tans and beige. I completely stay away from yellow and yellow-based hues. They make me look dead.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

I am married with cats. My husband's nickname is CrazyCatMan. This is why.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

Yes, yes (but sizing can be an issue what with my big head), not so much, I've had a bad experience with a particular poncho so for now I'm sticking with just one.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

Scarves. Purses, felted or not. Sweaters, if I can ever master them. And I like vests. I know a lot of people laugh at vests, but I like them. The ones I like are not dorky. At least that's what I think!

13. What are you knitting right now?

I'm knitting a very simple scarf using some novelty yarn that I just picked up on sale. I don't normally like novelty yarns but this one was fun. It's kind of a pain to work with it, but I'm hoping once I start the next skein I'll be used to it.

Fuzzy Scarf (bad flash)

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

I'm a very picky person so I think my answer here is no, but it really depends -- because if it is really suited to me it would be foolish to say no.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

I tend to use bamboo circulars for mostly everything, but lately I've been getting frustrated with the length of the actual bamboo part. I've discovered 10" bamboos, which are a great size for a scarf because they don't hit the arms of chair. Primarily I have Clover bamboos, but I just bought a pair of Lantern Moon 10" straights (the ends looked like leopard dots...) and Brittany. They are both very nice. I might have to get more. I'm tempted to try Adi Turbos because so many people rave about them, but what if like them? It means a whole new collection of needles I'd have to buy.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?


17. How did you learn to knit?

See question 3.

18. How old is your oldest UFO?

About 8 months.

19. What is your favorite holiday?

Halloween. I love pumpkins. I can never throw mine out. I make my husband do it when I'm not looking. It makes me sad. To me Halloween signifies the start of winter and the general holiday season. And the weather finally starts to get cold in Northern California. Or what Northern Californians call cold.

20. Is there anything that you collect?

I like monkeys. Sock monkeys. Small stuffed monkeys. But only if they're cute. Paul Frank Julius the monkey. Felix the Cat. Polka dotted things. I love polka dots. Pens. I love a good, fun pen. Or a good, good pen. I also collect wine. I tend to buy more wine than I drink. Sounds like my yarn buying, too. I buy more than I knit. Oh yeah. Shoes. I like to buy shoes. Is that collecting?

21. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get
your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

I subscribe to Vogue Knitting and Interweave. I used to subscribe to Creative Knitting but couldn't stand the patterns, the models, the makeup, the colors, the yarns. Horrible. I own the first two Barbara Walker stitch books. (They intimidate me. I love them, but they still intimidate me.) I just bought the Vogue Stitch book. I also have the two Stitch and Bitch books. Another one on scarves. Probably some other random ones as well. I believe that the more books I own, the better knitter I will become simply through the process of ownership. Not sure there's any truth to that, but I'll keep believing!

22. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I want to learn how to knit polka dots into something. Like a big felted bag with a dot on one or both sides. I'm on a kick to learn about pattern sizing and adjusting for me. I'm sick of making stuff of which I don't like the fit. I want to finish that one perfect sweater. And then make it in 6 different colors. I'm not sure I ever will. I also want to learn how to cable without a cable needle. And I'd like to knit in colors. Not fair aisle stuff (that looks way too detail oriented) but the ability to work in different colors as I knit a particular piece.

23. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
No. I will never knit socks. You'd find me in the looney bin if I attempted socks. I have a very petite (not) size 10 foot.

24. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
Tax Day. April 15. I was born the year JFK was shot (ie: you do the math!). Coincidentally, April 15 is also the date Lincoln died and the Titanic sunk. (Clearly very different years.) What a day!

25. Do you have a favorite local yarn store?
Yes. Urban Knitting in San Francisco.

26. Tell me three stores where you like the style of what they sell. You don't actually have to shop there, and it doesn't matter what it is that they sell (clothes, yarn, furniture, whatever.)
I love Design Within Reach, Knoll, West Elm, Banana Republic, Sea Ranch Lodge, Press, The Carneros Inn, Urban Knitting, Studio-Knit.

27. Any favorite drinks, snacks, foods?
Sticking to the coffee arena, my Starbucks card gets a workout every morning. And Pete's Coffee (local to the Bay Area) is pretty much crack for the non drug addicts among us. There's this other local coffee chain (mostly in LA but a few up north) called Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. Their iced blended Ultimate is appropriately named. Yum.

28. Do you have any allergies?
I'm allergic to just about every eyeshadow other than Bobbi Brown, I sneeze when I dust (what an excuse to have a housecleaner!) but other than that I've been spared the bad allergies gene. My sister? Not so lucky. The mention of pollen has her sniffling and sneezing.

29. Anything else? Pet peeves? Alien abductions? Stories from camp?
My list of pet peeves is so long, so I'll keep it brief. It drives me NUTS when people say "you guyses" as if "guys" isn't already plural. If I've been abducted, I still have no memories of it. I wish I did because riding in the spaceship was probably a blast! I was not allowed (hello???) to go to camp. But when I was about 9 or 10 years old I wrote a letter to the Laughing Cow cheese company asking them to please send me the cow from their cheese label. I thought it would be fun to have a cow in the backyard. Sadly, they never replied. :-(

So what that the cow is red and a cartoon? I didn't care...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Secret Pal 8

One day when reading Inky's blog, I heard about this thing called SP7. Secret Pal 7. Apparently, it was the seventh time that knitters threw their hat in the ring and participated in the co-spoiling of a knitter anonymously. (IE, Knitter A spoils Knitter B, while Knitter C is spoiling Knitter A.) All the while the knitter being spoiled has no idea who's actually doing the spoiling.

The rules for Secret Pal 8 are here, to give you a better idea of how this whole thing works.

Call me crazy but I thought it sounded interesting. Of course, I missed the deadline for participation in SP7, but added my name to the list of knitters for SP8. I even volunteered to be a hostess for SP8. Not knowing exactly what that meant, or realizing that my hostessing duties would fall pretty close to the busiest time at my office (!).

Fast forward to today. The biggest part of my hostessing duties are behind me: I had a list of about 25 people who had to be matched up to each other based on various criteria like interests, allergies, pet ownership, the desire (or not such desire) to make or receive hand-made items, etc. I then had to contact each of them and let them know who they were to spoil. They each then need to contact the person they are spoiling. But the trick is, it's secret. You can't let the person you're spoiling know it's you doing the spoiling.

But not only am I a hostess, I'm also a participant. (Geeze. I sound like that guy from the Hair Club of America. "I'm not just the president, I'm also a member...)

And today, my spoiler introduced her secret self to me with a cute e-card from Hallmark.

I owe my spoiler my "questionnaire" so she can learn more about who I am and what I like (and what I hate) and that will follow shortly.

And I have to start learning about the person I'm spoiling.

In the meantime, check out SP8. You never know. You might be tempted to join SP9.

Let the spoiling begin!