Tag Archives: knitting

Sock it to me!

Today may or may not be the first day of fall.

Evidence for:

  • It’s 65 degrees.
  • It’s raining.
  • I wore wool socks (hand-knit, obviously) and rainboots, jeans and a long-sleeved shirt.

Evidence against:

  • It’s still AUGUST! Stop that, Providence!

Either way, I’m definitely hunkering down for fall- although I’m not sure what classes I’m taking yet, I have at least ordered a new backpack. Also, I’m working on a pair of socks with the leftover yarn from my sweater- I’m almost to the toe on the first one. Observe:

The pattern is Nine-to-Five Socks.

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Joy!

I know this is not a particularly reputable source, but considering the news broke like an hour ago, check it out! Edited to add: look, a reputable source! Thanks, Alexa.

If the source is correct, Prop 8 has been overturned! For those of you who live under a rock, Prop 8 was a ballot proposition passed in California in November, 2008 that banned gay marriage, an institution previously legal in California as of a ruling in May of that year.

Of course, this is not the end of the line for gay marriage in California- I’m sure there will be appeals and the article above speculates that the case will end up at the supreme court, which could result in a precedent set for gay marriage nationwide, no?

I support the right of humans to do whatever the hell they want if it’s not hurting anyone else. As many others have noted, I think that in the future people will compare the resistance against gay marriage with that against interracial marriage- a hateful reminder of how bigoted society once was. In the words of Liz Feldman, comedian, writer for The Ellen Degeneres Show, and generally awesome lady who happens to like other ladies,

Personally, I am very excited about “gay marriage”, or as I like to call it, “marriage”.  Because I had lunch this afternoon, I didn’t have “gay lunch”.  And I parked my car, I didn’t “gay park” it.

She makes an excellent point. Marriage is a universal right. Her video blog can be found here.

In other news, I am reading an excellent compilation of short fiction written for Nature, one of the most, if not THE most, prestigious science journals around. Each piece is less than a thousand words and depicts a small snippet of how the world might one day be. It’s great for picking up and reading just a story or two.

In other other news, my sweater is beginning to look more and more like a sweater. I’ve finished all of the pieces, and the fronts and back have been blocked. I just need to block the sleeves, add the ribbed front band, and sew it up. (Note: blocking is a method used to even out stitches and smooth out knitting; for example, in this case the eyelets in the main pattern cause the unblocked fabric to pucker. The method I use is simple: wet the fabric, gently wring it out, then pin it out in the shape you want on a towel and let dry.)

Tea in Providence

I go to a weekly Stitch and Bitch on Wednesdays. It’s a nice place to hang out with actual, non-college-age humans, knit, crochet, or spin, and enjoy a cool beverage. I’ve met some very awesome people at the S’n’B. We usually meet up at Malachi’s on Ives street, but this week we switched it up and went here instead:

It is not, in fact, in Sahara but rather in Fox Point.

Tea in Sahara is a Moroccan-themed café. They also sell a number of products (housewares, clothing, jewelry) imported from Morocco, and they have hookah, but I haven’t actually seen anyone partake while I’ve been there. I tried the zaalouk and the iced mint tea. I really enjoyed the tea- very refreshing, if a little sweet, and overall perfect for summer. The zaalouk, an eggplant-tomato dish served with pita for dipping, was tasty but nothing to write home about. I’ve heard good things about the hummus and the taktouka, a tomato and green pepper salad.

Tea in Sahara is located at Governor and John.

I got some work done on my sweater, though I’m still not done with the back panel.

In other news, I found this compendium of horrifying situations: MFIF, or “My fault, I’m female:” stories of how people can be super-assholes to you simply due to gender. I don’t know why I read things like this, it probably says something about my subconscious. Either way- read if you desire some righteous indignation, or especially if you think you might tend towards sexism without being entirely aware of it.

In that vein, I’ve been reading a book called Silent Racism by Barbara Trepagnier, which deals with the issues of racism among people who identify as “not racist.” She proposes a shift from the idea of a dualistic racist/not-racist approach to thoughts and acts, but rather a continuum between more and less racist. She also discusses racism inherent in institutions, a topic that has interested me since I first researched the death penalty for high school debate.

Her research practices are not entirely to my liking- the book is based on a series of discussions held by small focus groups of white women. This was done in order to facilitate open communication. However, I would have liked to see a larger sample. Either way, so far I find that the book has been useful in helping me address ways in which I can shift myself from the “not-racist” to the “less-racist” mindset.

An example: take a situation in which a peer has just told a racist joke. According to Trepagnier, a “not-racist” person would simply not laugh at the joke. However, the correct response in this situation is in fact to call out the person’s racism; by not doing so, one gives implicit approval. It can be difficult to call out a person on their prejudices, but Trepagnier assures the reader that it becomes easier with practice. Please try to call out prejudice of any kind, wherever you see it.

Film and fiber

The Providence Place Mall movie theater used to suck. The tickets were once $10 without even the hope of a student discount. Now? Not only is there a student discount ($8), but there is also Bargain Tuesday, during which all movies are $6, including those that would normally have a surcharge for IMAX or 3D glasses.

Because of this delightful idea, my friends and I have been seeing a lot of movies on Tuesdays this summer. Last week, it was Despicable Me (a charming animated film). This week, it was Inception.

Yeah, that just happened.

Holy balls, ladies and gentlemen.

We saw it in IMAX, meaning the screen was an estimated 4 elephants wide by 3 elephants tall. According to this highly reputable source, the African elephant is approximately 20 feet long, and this says up to 13 feet tall, so for an IMAX screen size of 72 feet wide by 53 feet high, we weren’t too far off.

I greatly enjoyed the film, even though we were close enough to the screen and far enough to one side that the faces were distorted in close up. Maybe if SOME PEOPLE didn’t show up LATE then this wouldn’t be an issue. Jeez.

Either way, an excellent film, in terms of visuals, plots, and characters. Plus it was full of actors I like, including Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon Levitt (amirite, Sasa?), Michael Caine, and Cillian Murphy, who on occasion wore a bag on his head reminiscent of the one worn as Scarecrow in Batman Begins. Note: Michael Caine was also in that film, which was also directed by Christopher Nolan, and after a quick glance at IMDB I like every film I’ve seen of his, and plan to watch the ones I haven’t yet seen.

In other news, I’ve finished the first sock-equivalent of my sweater. At this point, most of the back is done:

Something new

Even though I haven’t made much progress on the Citron shawl, I decided to start something new.

I’ve never completed a wearable sweater, so I’ve decided to start one in the hopes of being able to wear it come fall. Unlike previous attempts, it’s not very fitted, so it won’t matter if it comes out larger than intended (cough previous attempts cough). The pattern is Zora from Knitty.

The back, working upwards.

One thing I like about this pattern is that it uses sock yarn (for the non-yarnies, that’s fairly thin but not as thin as lace). Since I’ve knit many pairs of socks, I can gauge the progress I’m making in terms of that. The pattern is equivalent to slightly more than 4 pairs of socks, and I will have finished with the first sock-equivalent when I finish the ball of yarn pictured above.

Today Eli and I had a brainstorming session. We are going to attempt to build a spinning wheel out of PURE AWESOME and maybe some PVC and shit. So far we’ve got some highly technical plans and the capacity to order small parts off of Amazon with free shipping. So we’re pretty much golden.

HIGHLY technical.

Here’s a cool thing I read about today via the Mental Floss blog: Fayum mummy portraits.

These portraits, besides being beautiful in their own right, are interesting for a number of reasons. The portraits, generally painted on wood, were buried with the mummy of the person they depicted. The portraits date back to the first century BCE to the third century CE, though they look like they could have been painted yesterday.

The portraits were painted during the Roman period in Egypt. Yet, unlike the stylized head-in-profile images associated with earlier Egyptian tombs, these portraits are extremely realistic and lifelike. It is thought that much of Roman portraiture was similar, but the Fayum portraits are some of the only surviving paintings from the period due to the dry conditions of the Egyptian desert.

Check out the link above to read more and see more of the portraits.

Three things

Thing one: a mystifying t-shirt.

...being a fucking idiot?

What are they going for here? Is it just “fill-in-the-blank?” Is it supposed to hide something risqué? To me, it just says “I’m the Michael Jordan of censorship! The FCC got nothin’ on me, I’ll **** your *** up.”

Thing two: the book I am reading.

If you’re a food nerd like me, you will love this. I’m reading the chapter on milk, which has info not only on the chemical makeup of milk, the differences between milks from different species and different breeds of cow, and how it’s used and stored in different cultures. FOR EXAMPLE, I learned that buffalo mozzarella is in fact made from buffalo milk. In retrospect this should have been obvious, but I think I assumed it was a specialty of Buffalo, NY for some reason.

Thing three: the shawl I am about to start.

I recently finished two projects, a secret birthday present for my mom and a purple scarfy thing for me, so I’m excited to start something new. I’m going to be making Citron.

The yarn is a gray, laceweight, baby alpaca and very soft. For the non-yarn types out there, yarn sometimes comes in a hank or skein (pictured above) instead of a ball.

When you untwist it, you end up with a giant loop of yarn. I once attempted to knit directly from the loop instead of balling it up. This ended in a giant knot and many tears. NEVER AGAIN.

Et voilà, the solution. This contraption, called a swift, serves the purpose of holding the yarn semi-taut, and rotates about a central axis so that you can easily ball the yarn. The normal people kind is wooden and can cost upwards of $60, but after seeing a post on Ravelry, I stole my childhood Tinker Toys from my childhood home and made my own. Boo-yah, yarn-industrial complex.