Chitchat and the occasional in-depth analysis about fiber, knitting, spinning, crochet, cooking, feminism, self-image, and a modicum of personal blathering.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Must See

Janelle Monae is gaining popularity, and if this live performance on Letterman is any indication, she's going to be a huge, huge superstar.

I'm listening to her "Archandroid" CD now and it is blowing me away. And I don't say that lightly. Between her and Lady Gaga, I think there is hope for women in popular music yet.



Beyond fierce. And not a bit of lip synch.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

It reminds me of the places we used to go

Just some photos. We've got a late spring flower explosion going on.

Columbines-magical.

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Giant freaking peonies.

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Sage
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Yarrow. Actual colors, no manipulation.
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Roses and yarrow.
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(and weeds, ok?)

Iris
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After having punked out for two or three years, it looks like our irises are coming back. I don't understand it, but I'll take it.

Wegelia. I cut this bush down practically to the ground about every other year and it comes right back.
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It's already to a size that bears watching.

That's about it for now. I'm back into the last section of the honeybee stole and hoping this is for real this time. This time next week, we might have finished object pictures.

Hope to have a more substantive post soon.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Love!

I LOVE this awesome commercial. Love seeing a fat person who is not a punch line. Go, Safe Auto!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Jive Turkey

We've been invaded this week.

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This fine fellow was right up in the window all weekend ordering me to put out more birdseed.

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Handsome bird, total bad-ass.

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Yesterday, I was spending some time laying in the hammock reading a book, and I heard a weird "CHUFF! CHUFF!" noise. I turned my head and there were three big tom turkeys not ten feet from the hammock, at the edge of the woods, taking turns fanning out their tails and doing the CHUFF thing sinking their heads into big ol' puffed out chest feathers. They were strutting around while one hen pecked around in the grass ignoring them. I never wished for a video camera so much. It was hilarious.

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I do a lot of thinking about gender and gender traits as performance and choice and taught behavior rather than inbred behavior. I think in the world we live in now, it's way more optional to perform the gender you were born with. One reason I'm so fascinated with drag queens and gay culture. I think it goes back to feeling a need to be a total bad-ass myself, much like that turkey, in order to survive. Being a weightlifter and someone who is mechanically inclined and very physically strong and able to fix stuff yet being a mostly heterosexual woman and certainly cisgender, I think it very interesting how people choose to use and subvert gender roles.

I would be happy to live in a world where the role of gender was up to the person and not up to a general societal judgment. Where certain qualities were not assigned to gender but were taken on by individuals as things that are right for them, like fashion sense or mechanical aptitude. Where the designation of masculinity and femininity did not trail along so much baggage with them, where they were more choice than obligation.

There was a good mini-doc on Logo this week called "the butch factor". A host of qualities given to be indicative of what a "real man" is or does included things like being honorable, or being reliable, or being honest. Why are these given as masculine traits? Because all the women I knew growing up were also honorable, reliable, and honest. As well as tough. And this is where I learned it. And this is why I'm sometimes perceived as mannish or intimidating. If those things, which are good human traits, are masculine, then does that leave dishonor, duplicity, and flakiness as feminine traits? Or am I being too dualistic? Because that's what we've got here, a world (in the west, at least) steeped in dualism and black-and-white thinking, in everything from politics to gender roles to food choices to art and everything in between.

Am I making any sense? Black and white dualism helps nobody and seems to hurt a lot of people.

I'm moving right along on the honeybee stole, and I'm also making socks from a skein of the legendary Wollmeise yarn. And I've got two spindle spinning projects and a wheel spinning project going so I'm busy, craft wise. I'm keeping up with the 365 project too. I've got too many to post individually, so here's the slideshow to date.



And a couple of highlights.

formation

Gorilla my dreams

Calling me

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Come with me, my love, to the sea, the sea of love.

Most of my knitting attention over the last month and a half has been devoted to one project, the honeybee stole by Anne Hanson. I've had my traveling socks of course and I do have another pair cast on and I also have a complicated sock barely started but mostly, it's been this.

I had several false starts. The needle size was all wrong.
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Because the pattern was written for laceweight yarn and I was knitting with a somewhat variable fingering weight, I needed to upsize obviously but it took me a few tries because of my inexperience with lace to determine where exactly I should be in terms of gauge etc. So three different starts until I settled on size 8 needles.

Then there were the mistakes. Thankfully I did not have to rip back to ground zero with any of them but I did have to tink back almost 20 rows once, in the car, while we were on vacation. (the vacation itself may be another post but basically we went to Pigeon Forge TN to see my younger daughter. It was an adventure.)

progress

So things were going well. I had a few scares when I picked up the center stitches to continue from the middle to the other side but after agonizing over it for a few days and much careful laying out and aligning and looking I determined it'd be ok after blocking. Not in a delusional "oh, that giant glaring mistake will block out" way but in a realistic way.

This shawl has three sections. You knit all three sections twice. You start in the middle, do the honeycomb bit, do the swarm bit, do the hive bit, do the edging and cast off, then pick up the middle from your provisional cast-on and repeat.

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I was on the last 2 (out of 10) repeats on the last section on the second side when I decided to take the stole to a spin night at a local yarn store for show and tell.

I guess there's really something wrong with my eyes, or the light in my living room, because I had several opportunities to see where the problem was, and I did not see it. Can you see it?

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No? How about now?
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Now?
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That really needs a dramatic "DUN DUN DUN" sound effect.



All I can figure is I did a lot of this knitting during hockey games and I simply did not see it at the time. Plus, we use CFL bulbs and maybe I didn't have quite enough light when I was knitting.

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How did it get into the yarn? Well, one of my bobbins had one ply of the pink and orange sock yarn I spun not long ago and I guess I just went ahead and plied that off with the new yarn without noticing at the time. You think I'd at least notice the texture of merino vs border leicester, but no.

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So I considered my options, but I knew what was going to happen. Dyeing it might work but I would always know. Ignoring it was not a good idea because, seriously? A big pink stripe? No. I came home from work last night, stuck a long circular needle into the section just below the second swarm section, and frogged it. (there were some knitting errors in the first repeat of the second swarm section that I could have ignored, but I figured in for a penny, in for a pound etc.) I picked up the stitches without further drama and got the offending pink yarn out and got moving on it. I got a repeat done last night while listening to "My Dinner with Andre" which was a movie for which I was definitely not in the mood.

I just didn't want it to suck. And hopefully, now it won't.

It was really embarrasing, though, to pull that out of my knitting bag at the LYS and have everyone going OOH and AAH and then seeing that stripe and the EWW and the UGH (not from them, from me) and the feeling of utter FAIL that happened at that moment.

I hope to start blogging again more but who knows. I'm chairing the Mensa gathering here again and I think I'm going to be pretty busy with that as well as work wearing me out what with this new project I'm on etc. So I can't make any promises.

In the meantime, here's some flowers.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I aint dead

I promise.

Hopefully I'll have the gumption to post something before much longer. In the meantime, have some fun with Leslie and the Lys.