29 February 2008


This is a belated and much-too-quick "Thank You" to everyone who made my 40th birthday such a wonderful day and the party a rousing success!

I felt loved and honored to have you all there.

"My friends are my estate."
- Emily Dickinson

17 November 2007

Calamity Mane

After an anxious, lengthy wait, my Ravelry invitation arrived on the 17th of October. I was - in California-ese - stoked!

Last night, precisely 30 days and four usernames later, I finally logged in for the first time. I'll be honest with you, it was exhilarating.

The number of people involved with this site is staggering; the variation of projects, the ease of usability... all marvelous.

And then I found it: the bitching.

I'd added someone, someone who's blog and design sense I admire, as a friend and happened to look over at the groups to which she belonged, looking to see if there was a group that I might also want to join. One group's logo intrigued me - a Harry Potter graphic with "WTF?" poorly superimposed over it - so I clicked.

Wrong thing to do. The first thing I noticed was a forum discussion titled, "HOLLER IF YOU'D RATHER BE READING DICKENS." Ignoring the ridiculous and aimless use of capitals, I clicked the link. Again, wrong thing to do. It was a group of grownups having a three-page discussion about how reading the classics and reading Harry Potter was mutually exclusive. Most of the people involved in the discussion admitted to reading very little, if any, of the series. Argh!

I'm a big believer that an uninformed opinion is one not worth expressing.

Not only was this group disgusted by the overall fact that adults were reading books that were intended for children, but the pervasive feeling seemed to be that we - adult Harry Potter readers and fanatics, a group to which I vociferously and proudly claim membership - don't know good literature when we read it.

I chose to look somewhere else on the site. Idiotically, I looked at the forums. The first discussion I found was a group of women bitching about how they weren't interested in knitting Clapotis. Now it was my turn to say WTF?! Is this how we're going to spend our time - talking about the fact that someone else's design and effort isn't valuable because we don't favor knitting it? Seriously?

I hope that no person in the "Dickens" discussion group has watched Finding Nemo, Ratatouille or The Incredibles as an adult and enjoyed it - with or without their niece, nephew, little brother/sister, six-year-old, godchild, whomever. There had better not be one single song not aimed at their current demographic that they enjoy. Fine, yes, perhaps the writing of the HP books was not on the same level as Fitzgerald, but that doesn't automatically mean that the storyline wasn't compelling or intriguing - at least to some. By the way, some of us don't like Fitzgerald or Thackery or Dickens (I winced through every last page of This Side of Paradise and found the use of the voice of the author in Vanity Fair an intrusive and unnecessary device. I thought the character of Oliver was one of a whining, twee, weak little boy and didn't enjoy the read nearly as much as that of A Tale of Two Cities). I do hope that this group will remember that Shakespeare was family entertainment when his plays were written, not a badge of highbrow honor.

Per their discussion, I guess that Roald Dahl and Chris Van Allsburgh didn't/don't know what they're doing and that the parents who read those books to their children and enjoyed them are mentally inferior to this group of, apparently, only Oxford-educated knitters.

I can't wait to see the follow-up to the "I hate Clapotis" discussion where they each suggest a new pattern that is more challenging than Clapotis and that teaches a skill that this new pattern epitomizes and can demonstrate. I can't wait! One woman actually commented that she couldn't see herself doing all that knitting to purposely drop stitches. Really? Well, lady, you better vet that Vogue knitting book carefully then, because I think they slipped some drop-stitch patterns in there. The dirty bastards.

Honestly, if you don't want to knit Clapotis, then don't, but don't disparage the people who do like the pattern and do want to knit it.

For the ladies of the HP discussion, come back to me when you've read the books - ALL of them, cover to cover - and then you can comment. And the ladies of the Clapotis discussion, I'll talk to you when you've designed and published a well-loved pattern on Knitty.

I know, I know... free speech and all that rot. You know what I say? Screw you and the natural-fiber-only-it's-fulled-not-felted-I-only-use-bamboo-needles horse you rode in on.

We're supposed to be a community.

Some of us will only knit with natural fibers and some of us don't mind a bit of acrylic. Some of us are Zimmerman-esque in our love of the garter stitch and some of us need to use mathematical formulas in our patterns to make knitting the project worthwhile. Some of us enjoy a little historical fiction and some of us choose Political treatise as our book of choice, some of us like a little bit of Judith Krantz

None of us, none of us, is any better than any other person. It's all valuable in the scheme of things. Perhaps we could direct all this time and energy into something useful, like being advocates for knowledge and growth.

I have to go now. I've already finished the Harry Potter books, but I need to go borrow the Clapotis I knitted for my SIL back from her, take pictures of it and post it on Ravelry.

Bite me.

27 October 2007


Woo-hoo! I got my Ravelry invitation!

18 October 2007

Let the Game Begin!

1. What was the name of the book Dumbledore left for Hermione in his will?
The Tales of Beedle the Bard

2. Whose sign was on Xenophilius Lovegood's chest?

3. Was October 30, 1980 the night that Lilly and James Potter died?

4. What's another name for the Elder Wand?

5. Whose Potterwatch code name was 'Rodent'?

6. What was so special about the peacocks at the Malfoy Manor?
They were all white

7. Who does Harry say was "probably the bravest man I knew?"

8. What thing was Lockhart giving Hagrid advice about getting out of a well?

9. What was the occupation of Colin Creevey's father?

10. Which Professor of Hogwarts was a dueling champion when he was young?

Made by Ansley

10 October 2007

Knitty Strangelove

Or: How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Yarn

How old was I when I learned to knit? Crikey. I was 37-years-old.

Uh-huh. I was 37.

My mother tried to teach me when she learned to knit, but I was in my teens and I wouldn't do anything that my mother thought was cool when I was in my teens. Funny, I'm still a bit like that.

I was in my very late 20's when someone (Cheryl, I think her name was) tried again to teach me to knit. She was patient and weird and always seemed to be wearing a garment that Joseph and his Technicolor Dreamcoat would be coveting and sighing over. She tried to teach me to knit Continental style. I took the yarn with me everywhere and practiced all the time and it was disastrous. I was like someone who doesn't speak the language of the country they're in, but doesn't know that that they don't speak the language. I would stare at her in total confusion all the time, trying to figure out why bizarre words kept falling out of her mouth and why she was making useless hand gestures. Luckily for me, she was a temp and the day she left the company I worked for, I threw the yarn and the needles in a heap on the floor in the corner of my office and never looked at them again. Those needles and that yarn are still there for all I know - I didn't pack them when I left.

I was 36 the third time I tried to learn to knit. I drove 51 miles away from my home to go to a knitting studio in S.F. and took the first half of a two-part class from a wonderful, competent, imperturbable teacher named Helen Kim. Once at home, I (stupidly) took my yarn off my needles to correct a mistake I'd made (I didn't know how to tink back then). I tried to cast back on and lost my mind. I couldn't do it for the life of me. Nothing I tried worked and there was no LYS near me at the time and I certainly didn't know about Knitting Help.com. I'd very recently had pretty major surgery and was feeling like poop on a stick anyway, so I didn't go back for the second half of the class. I gave up on ever being a knitter.

Four months into my 37th year, I went to a newly opened LYS that was about a half-mile away from my apartment. I took a beginning knitter's class taught by a woman named Merrilyn Tuma. She was a professor, a chef and a fabulously prolific knitter. She taught the class as a four-week sojourn and we didn't learn to cast on until the very last week. It sounds daft, but it worked. The first week we literally just learned the knit stitch. She cast on for us and made us knit - mistakes and all. We practiced the knit stitch for a week and then came back the second week to learn the purl stitch. A week later we learned to make stripes and then - one week later, while our confidence was high - we learned to cast on and bind off. Sweet. She taught the class to knit English and it just clicked for me. She was fun and funny and encouraging and unflappable. She reminded us that we were learning new skills as adults and that that was often harder. She confided in us that she'd knit many a terrible sweater before she became the knitter she is today. She kept us honest by giving us homework ("knit half this ball of yarn by the time I see you next") and she gently taught me to do something I'd begun to think I could never do.

I owe her a huge debt of gratitude. I love to knit. I think about my needles and yarn sometimes when I'm away from them.

In not quite two years I've made a beautiful throw from the Colinette AbFab pattern, two felted handbags, a veritable cornucopia of scarves (including the infamous and ubiquitous Clapotis from Knitty - it was a wonderfully satisfying knit), a shawl, a laptop bag (that I felted in part at my sister's house in the States and in part on an oil tanker while travelling from Singapore to Hawaii) and one hateful sweater.

Right now I need to put the finishing touches on my Gryffindor scarf, do the sewing on what will be yet another felted hand bag, rip the crap out of a mini clapotis (only to start it again) and start the body proper of a to-be-felted carpet bag.

Then I really need to get busy.

So many projects, so little time.

05 October 2007

Release The Quaffle!

1. In Deathly Hallows what does Harry step on when exiting his room to wash his cut?
A teacup

2. Which two members of the Order of Phoenix came to escrot the Dursleys to a safe place?
Dedalus Diggle and Hestia Jones

3. In order to throw off the Death Eaters, several of Harry's friends take Polyjuice Potion to resemble him and each Harry goes with a different member of the Order of the Phoenix to a different location. Where do Ron (disguised as Harry) and Tonks go?
Auntie Muriel's house

4. At Bill and Fleur's wedding, Harry must disguise himself by taking Polyjuice Potion and takes on the appearnce of a redheaded Muggle boy from Ottery St. Catchpol. He was introduced to wedding guests as Cousin . . .

5. Kingsley sends a message via Patronus to warn the Weasleys and wedding guests of the coming Death Eaters. What form does his Patronus take?
A lynx

6. In the Half-Blood Prince what drink does Romilda Vane try to give Harry?

7. What is the name of the person that heads the Holyhead Harpies?
Gwenog Jones

8. What tatoo is Harry reported to have on his chest?

9. What color robes do the staff at Weasley's shop wear?

10. Where do Nicolas Flamel and his wife Perenelle live?

Scavenger Hunt Photos:
* A Gryffindor Quidditch Uniform
* A Hufflepuff Quidditch Uniform
* A Ravenclaw Quidditch Uniform
* A Slytherin Quidditch Uniform
* A Picture of the Room of Requirement

28 September 2007

No News

Is just that: no news.