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Archive for June, 2015

Rethinking the Plans

Tapestry Mohair

Flying Goat TapestryI got four skeins of “Tapestry Mohair” yarn from Flying Goat Farm’s booth at Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this year. Long term readers may recall that I have a complicated relationship with mohair yarns in general, but I also have a weakness for locally produced fiber, and I just fell in love with the colors (I think I’ve been going on a brown-orange kick lately).

FGF tagNaturally, when I got home, I went to add my new prizes to my Ravelry stash page.  Unfortunately, this yarn hadn’t (and hasn’t) yet been entered.  I opened one skein enough to plop a ruler down by it and guestimate 12 WPI, which would make it sport weight yarn.

FGF WPIFair enough.  400 yards of sport weight mohair should make a really cute felted bag.  I did a pattern search, found a pattern for a no-sew felted bag, which called for worsted weight yarn but listed sport, figured it would work,  and popped it in my queue.

The Problem

This morning I decided it was time to at least skein, if not cast on, the project.  So I took out my trusty nostepinne…

The distance between segments is one inch, so it’s pretty clear that this isn’t 12 WPI. 16 to 17 is more like it.  Which would make it light fingering to laceweight yarn.  The Ravelry database still hasn’t been updated.  I went to the Flying Goat website, and didn’t find a listing for the yarn, but there was a blog post which mentioned tapestry yarn.   What she describes certainly looks like what I have, and it’s a light fingering. So now I’m not at all sold on using the pattern, at least not as is.

The Solution

I realized I have to swatch and felt before I make up my mind.  I really don’t swatch as much as I should, so something that forces me to do it isn’t all bad.  It’s just a different process.

 

Yarn Diet

There are two large projects I’m considering once my self imposed summer yarn diet is over.  One is a cricket sweater for my husband (he’s a ‘universal’ sports fan, and the Peter Davidson is “his Doctor”), the other is the Aidez sweater for me.  I’ve already priced out the yarn for these projects at my LYS, and planned to use my accrued ‘frequent customer’ discount for both.

Craftsy currently has both these yarns on sale for 40% off.  I was very briefly tempted to break the diet, but when I compared the sale price to the LYS price with discount the totals (for each project) were within a dollar of each other – not counting shipping.  So I’ll stick with plan A.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I’ve entered a drawing for a skein of Madelinetosh Merino Light from This Knitted Life (3 July)

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First of all, let me repeat (from yesterday):

Love Wins

I am very much gladdened by yesterday’s SCOTUS decision on the right to marry.  It was the right decision, without question.  Before saying anything else, I understand that, from a pragmatic point of view, the 14th Amendment argument was the way to go.  People certainly shouldn’t have to leave their home state in order to get married, that’s absurd and untenable.

Having said that, from the point of view of respect to the constitution, I was bothered by the fact that the full faith and credit clause of the constitution fell off the page.

For those who don’t recall what I’m talking about, Article IV, Section 1 of the United States Constitution, known as the “Full Faith and Credit Clause“, addresses the duties that states within the United States have to respect the “public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state.”    It’s why your driver’s license is a  valid document even if you drive all the way across the country, even if one state has a harder licensing test than another.

But, still, especially if one has any actual concern for the Constitution (the rules which limit the laws), and the ability of the United States to function as a single country, a state being able to ignore the clause is disastrous.  The fact that it was basically the ‘original intent’ faction which was doing this is in and of itself mindblowing.

So, after heaving a sigh of relief that the correct decision was reached I decided to do some searching on the subject.  I felt that it’s disappearance from the discussion must have come from the attention of activists and press both on the bigger, more likely to have an impact, 14th Amendment.  Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s the case.  If I’m missing some serious discussion that legal geeks have come across, please enlighten me.

The Writ of Certiorari Henri-Obergfell v Hodges (PDF download) definitely mentions it.  Explicitly, on page 29:

The Sixth Circuit decision likewise exacerbates a
split in the circuits on a separate question also
deeply important to same-sex families and their
children whether a state must accord full faith and
credit to sister state judgments of adoption of
children parented by same-sex couples.
page 30:
Compare Adar v. Smith 639 F.3d146 (5th Cir.) (en banc),
cert. denied, 132 S. Ct. 400 (2011) (holding Louisiana not
obligated to accord full faith and credit to out-of-state
adoption decree for purpose of naming both fathers on
their Louisiana-born adopted child’s birth certificate) with
Finstuen v. Crutcher, 496 F.3d 1139 (10th Cir. 2007)
(holding the contrary, in Oklahoma challenge).
Then, again, on page 42:
The district court correctly ruled that “[t]his backward
evolution in Ohio” violates the guarantee of full faith and credit.
App. 154a-55a n.i. This Court has long made clear that states
cannot disregard foreign judgments based on their own public
policy preferences. Baker v. General Motors Corp. , 522 U.S. 222,
232-33 (1998) (“[O]ur decisions support no roving ‘public policy
exception’ to the full faith and credit due judgments” (citation
omitted)); id. at 243 (Kennedy, J., concurring) (“We have often
recognized the second State’s obligation to give effect to another
State’s judgments even when the law underlying those judgments
contravenes the public policy of the second State.”) Instead, the Full
Faith and Credit Clause “ordered submission by one State even to
hostile policies reflected in the judgment of another State, because
the practical operation of the federal system . . . demanded it.” Estin
v. Estin, 334 U.S. 541, 546 (1948).
So, yeah, discussion of the Full Faith and Credit clause was a big part of the case at first.
On April 1 Wyoming filed an amici curae brief (PDF Download) dealing with it.  It cited prior examples of states not recognizing other states marriages, including on page 7:
Lanham v. Lanham, 117 N.W. 787, 788 (Wis. 1908)

the Wisconsin Supreme Court refused to recognize a

sister-state marriage that was in violation of the forum’s
temporary prohibition on remarriage following a divorce.
on page 8:
Osoinach v. Watkins, 180 So. 577, 581 (Ala. 1938).

The Alabama Supreme Court employed similar

reasoning when declining to recognize a marriage
between an uncle and niece even though the
marriage was valid at the place of celebration.
After listing several more instances, in several more states, on page 12 the brief states:
full faith and credit ‘is less demanding with respect
to choice of laws’ than it is with respect to judgments.”
Thus, because a marriage is not a judgment,
courts may consult “the forum State’s ‘public policy.’”
Interesting, if uncomfortable points here.
So, the final brief (PDF download) is interesting. The Full Faith and Credit issue isn’t even addressed.  Not even with respect to the adoption (remember that the precedent cited above was only about marriage).
Page 17:
Although the majority did not specifically address the Vitale-
Talmas Petitioners‘ Full Faith and Credit claim, its blanket
reversal of all decisions below reversed the district court‘s
ruling on that claim as well.
Yeah, I know, it’s a quibble, but I’d actually like to hear some more (probably dry and scholarly) discussion on the full faith and credit question here.  Preferably while knitting a rainbow colored sweater.

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Rainbow Connection

A pre-post digression, in regards to the Supreme Court decision

Love Wins

(based on work in the public domain as well as work provided under a Creative Commons 3.0 attribution share-alike license by Nevit Dilmen)

Back to The Regularly Scheduled Yarn Blog

WIPS

Picotty WIP

I really recommend not having a migraine as a crochet strategy.  Not only did it take a lot less time to replace the frogged mesh segment of the sock, it was also obvious where the mystery decreases had come from.  I was basically losing a full pattern repeat every two rows.

So, yeah, I made a quick, easy pattern much more complicated, and non-functional, than it had to be.  Working from the outside of the yarn ball also made it harder than it had to be – somehow my SWTC TOFUtsies was weirdly splitty when worked in the opposite direction.  I have no idea what that’s about.

I tried them on, and they’re definitely going to take some getting used to, but I think, perhaps optimistically, that they’ll be wearable.  They work up fast enough, and I had little enough plans for the yarn, that it’s worth while to find out for sure.

Teaching Crochet

My eldest daughter, who will be going to Senegal in the fall, has decided that now is a good time to learn a new craft.  She’s starting to take up crochet, which avoids the whole ‘needles on a plane’ issue.  I’ve been having much more luck teaching her this time than the last time I tried, starting with a bookmark pattern my grandmother taught me about 40 years ago.

Shockingly it’s not on Ravelry, so I might have to write it up eventually.

Notions

Debras RescueI’ve been continuing to work on my notions collection.  I picked up another Debra’s Garden needle gauge, this one in the “Purple Rescue” colorway.

I’ve corresponded with Debra, and the $2 per purchase goes to local animal charities in her area.  She’s assured me that she only contributes to shelters with a no-kill policy, so I feel every bit as good about the contributions as I enjoy the color.

They really do make fantastic zipper pulls, and I have actually used one of them ‘on the go’, but at $16 per I do feel a bit extravagant having this many. Well over 90% of the time I need a needle gauge I’m at home, with access to several.  Honestly the idea that all of my project bags be completely stocked at all times is just a little bit compulsive and excessive.

At the same time, as my younger daughter often says, when she’s trying to wheedle, I neeeeeed this.  I really do love them and will probably splurge one more time so that I have one for each project bag.   In a different color, naturally, because colors are half the fun.  When I do give in and get the last one it will probably be another full sized one, as very few of my projects use needles smaller than 2mm, and the full sized ones are so very pretty.

I do so love my pretty tools.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

Cute MarkersSpeaking of oh so lovely but hardly necessary notions, Corrie from Plutonium Muffins blog sent me the Owl Print Panda stitch markers.  They are impossibly cute and fun.  I will get a lot of enjoyment out of these.

Emboldened by my win, I entered a HUGE honking giveaway from Knitscene (1 September), The Mooglyblog Beaded Lace giveaway (2 July) The Mooglyblog Ergo Crochet Hooks giveaway (29 June) and the Happily Hooked Red Heart Yarn and Book giveaway (21 July).

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Coffee is the Precious Juice

Hello, my name is Lise, and I am a caffeine addict.

When I go into caffeine withdrawal, I (sometimes) get migraines.  Sometimes I don’t.  Sometimes, when I get a migraine, it doesn’t occur to me to drink coffee to cure it (because when I get migraines, my mental processes don’t work as well).

My friends, Joe and Jill, have enabled introduced me to this:

Death WishDeath Wish claims to be the world’s strongest coffee.  I don’t pretend to know whether it’s true or not, but it is a very strong, and very smooth coffee.  It’s a great, bold flavor without being totally overboard on the roast.  If your blood pressure isn’t an issue, I highly recommend it.

Yarnwork

Stereo

I finished the stereo cuffs from Laura Nelkin’s Etsy Shop.  The kit includes snaps, but I opted to make the cuff a little bit smaller and add a magnetic clasp instead.  I’m very happy with the effect.

Not so happy with the progress on the Picotty socks.  I started the mesh portion on one, and last night, after 13 repeats (out of 15 realized that I’d decreased a *lot* of stitches.  I blame the migraine.  Had to take a scissors to the work in order to rip back.  So, yeah, something to watch out for.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the pattern from Fiber Dreams.  I entered the KnitScene 10th Anniversary giveaway.  (1 September), the Mooglyblog giveaway for a copy of Beaded Lace Knitting (2 July)

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Summary for the squeamish:  I’m fine, my stuff is OK.  Verbal description of not goodness behind the cut below the (non graphic) picture.

(more…)

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Works in Progress

Belle Greene Shawl

Belle Greene Border in progressI’ve been making slow progress on the beaded, knit on border of the Belle Greene shawl.  It’s not that I’m not thrilled with it, it looks beautiful, and I’m looking forward to showing it off.  The beads make it a non-portable project at this point, which is enough to slow it down.

A knitted on border is similar to a K2Tog across, except that you cast on a number of stitches after the end of the shawl and knit those in a lace pattern.  The K2Tog takes place at what would be the ‘cast off’ edge of the shawl, and forms the inside of the lace border.  Then the K2Tog stitch is slipped and the next row of lace knit.

It should be simple, it doesn’t change anything, but at the same time…

I know it’s not just me, because my sister (and knitting guru) has admitted that she finds knitted borders strangely anti intuitive and hard to ‘read’.  I think I have to agree with her.  Here I am, just about at the end of the thing, and only now does this fairly simple four row chart start to make sense.  I don’t know why that is, but it’s been that way for me.

Oh, well.  I do love the look, and I’m looking forward to breaking in my new blocking wires, so that’s something.

Summer Socks

By the time I finished my TARDIS socks it was already too warm to wear them.  Not that I’m above wearing handknit socks with sandals as a matter of principle, but it’s unseasonably warm and uncomfortable, and I don’t want to resent something I’ve spent so much time working on.

So I decided to give cotton socks a try.  Actually, they’re a cotton, wool, soy and chitin blend from SouthWest Trading Company called TOFUtsies (yes, this is yarn from my stash.  I’m still trying to keep to the diet) and the pattern is a surprisingly open mesh for socks.  I have no idea if it will be functional, but it’s fun.  Especially as I’m doing the (solid) toes, heels and cuffs in pink, and the mesh in blue.  Depending on how it works I might start making more socks in summer appropriate fibers, stay tuned to find out!

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the yarn from Agrestal or This Knitted Life or the shawl pin from Michelle’s Assortment.  I entered a Pattern Naming Contest from Fiber Dreams (official deadline past, but she may be open to more suggestions if you hurry.)

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Something ‘clicked’ for me yesterday about the distance between reading and writing fiction. Or rather, about the distance between receiving and creating fiction (because the actual writing part takes effort, but that’s a whole other question).  I think it’s minimal, more to the point, I think it’s always been minimal.

Sir Kay breaketh his sword

Sir Kay breaks his sword in the tournament. Arthur has to find a new one for him later…

I started off by thinking of character degradation in terms of Sir Kay in Arthurian legends.  According to Wikipedia, the earliest written stories of Sir Cei come from Welsh legends, and predate Geoffrey of Monmouth (I’d heard that before).  He was a young man when Arthur was crowned, and a cousin.  He went to Arthur’s court and had the king trim his hair (it was a thing) then went on adventures with and for him until Arthur said something snarky, then he went on his way in a fit of pique.

That’s a long way from the step-brother who tried to claim Arthur’s sword for himself, isn’t it?

It was Chretien de Troys who began the path which turned Kay into the putz we all know and love today.  Somewhere in there, he became Arthur’s seneschal (keeper of the purse).  Yeah, what else is an author to do with a character he wants everyone to resent – make him the bean counter.  Think about it, he immediately loses whatever ‘cool’ he had, because it’s now always his fault that the rest of the characters can’t have a huge party.  Then you make him the first knight your new character defeats (in order to prove your knight has chops), and before you know it this hot shot hero is now the butt of every Arthurian joke.

Does this remind you of anything?

It’s what happens with centuries of fanfic.  Stories told and retold, with the same characters who slowly morph into barely recognizable copies of themselves.  Except with fanfic one recognizes the original work as ‘cannon’, and this protects the characters (at least somewhat) from the transformation.

The same thing happens with Shakespeare, sort of.  When modern writers riff on Shakespeare plays they do a much more thorough job of ‘filing off the serial numbers’.  West Side Story doesn’t claim to be Romeo and JulietTen Things I Hate About You, if I recall correctly, directly alludes to The Taming of the Shrew even as it mirrors characters and situations.  Shakespeare himself drew a great deal on folklore and legends to create his plays.

There are plenty of other examples, from Clueless to Fifty Shades of Gray to Jane Austen’s Fight Club (a fanfic mashup)

I guess my point is that fanwank has been going on for centuries, it used to be considered more or less ‘highbrow’ and now it’s regarded as a pop cultural phenomenon.  Of course, only the best examples from the past have come down to us, because there was a time that fiction had to get past gate keepers to be preserved, but it seems to be basically the same thing.

Or am I missing something? Is there some serious difference between the two which has escaped me?

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Projects

Doom BagFO

knotI’m very happy with the way the Dice Bag of Doom! turned out.  I had knit two longer tentacles, and ended up twining them together to form the drawstring.  I gave one a bead to ‘hold on to’ and that gave me a nice cord stopper for when the bag is open – it holds itself closed pretty well, because I have one tentacle coiled around another.  It all works very nicely.

Doom Bag with Eyes

WIPs

So that leaves me working on the Belle Greene shawl and essentially nothing else (the Stereo Cuffs are still waiting on a wrist measurement for the recipient).  I love that shawl, and I’m almost done with the knitted on beaded border, but honestly I need a brainless project once in a while.  So I started hooking a mobius hat using some stashed Lion Brand Homespun yarn.  Yes, I am a bit of a yarn snob, and I generally prefer natural fibers, but that particular big box acrylic and polyester brand is one of the first yarns I really enjoyed working with, and I still really like it.  I suppose it’s a ‘guilty pleasure’ yarn, but I can’t work up a lot of guilt for that one.  True,  it’s not putting money into a small, locally owned business when I buy it, but the Lion Brand company is family owned and operated, and seems to have a good reputation within the industry.  What guilt I feel about it is centered around the fiber content – this stuff is unfortunately not at all biodegradable, so I do try to limit my buying of it.

Tools

Yarn ScaleSo I gave in and picked up a new yarn scale.  Actually I just got an inexpensive kitchen scale from Target.  It’s about the same price as a new ball winder or swift, and it is really useful, both to estimate the remaining yardage in a ball and to divide yarn into equal portions for socks, or to figure out when to start work on the border of a shawl.  Basically, the longer I went without one, the more I felt as though I really needed it.

Besides, I think it’s pretty (and I’m always a sucker for aesthetically pleasing tools and equipment).

Yarny News

You may have noticed that Neil Gaiman is on the cover of Knitty. It’s part of a promo for a new pattern book Geek Knits.  You should check it out.  I’ll be ordering my copy very soon…

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I’ve entered the This Knitted Life giveaway for two skeins of yarn (10 June).

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I’m almost done with the Cthulhu dice bag.  Doom Bag with EyeI probably would have finished knitting the inner bag yesterday if I hadn’t been dealing with a migraine.  Since that’s done with (only one day of migraine?!  Joyous music in the background) I hope to get the knitting done today, and then probably another day of finishing (this project will take a lot).

First of all, there will be the eyes (from Creations by Deviln).  As you can see, I installed the first one this past week.  I’ll have to decide on the placement of the second.  I don’t think there will be more than two eyes on this one, although I do have several smaller ones of the same design, so there’s a bit of decision making involved.

Of course, inserting even one eye takes a little bit of work.  They’ve got substantial posts which would be just fine for a stuffed toy, but really stick through the inner bag to the point where it would bother me.  A little bit of work with a flush cutter (from my beading tools) and a nail file took care of that fine for the first one, and I’m sure it will work with however many others I finally decide on.

Of course, I still have to decide which way to position the inner bag.  As I said way back in March, I wanted to use the yarn and stitch pattern from the Win Either Way instead of stockinette.  As hoped, it gives a very biological feel to the bag, which just adds to the delicious creepiness.

Lining Choices

I’m very happy with my progress on this one.  The group will be starting a new game, with a new system (Æternal Legends) with a brand new GM (new to running, new to the system, not new to the group).  So it’s an auspicious time to replace my old tea tin with a new dice bag.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I entered the Expression Fiber Arts giveaway for June – LOTS of gorgeous yarn and notions (30 June), and a shawl pin giveaway from Michelle’s Assortment (10 June)

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A Quick Post on Everyday Life

Cars

My daughter’s purse was stolen yesterday, out of a locked car.  She and her friends left their bags in the car when they went on a hike and someone smashed in a window to get them.  Fortunately, she has her passport so replacing the driver’s license should be easy. Also fortunately there was someone in their group who had his phone on his person, not in the car, so they reported it to the police immediately.  She’s stopped the credit cards and I cancelled the phone service.  It could have been a lot worse…  Still, not what anyone wanted to happen.

I just heard a car story about my Mother in Law.  It happened the week before…   My M-i-L is snake phobic, to the point where just last year she refused to leave her house for two days after seeing a snake crawl under the stoop.  So when her neighbor saw a large black snake crawling across her yard he and his son tried to kill it (yeah, I know, but…)  The snake then slithered under her car and didn’t come out.  That’s when the neighbor told her about it.  She handed him her car keys and asked him to move it away from her house, and he did.   They watched it for a couple of hours, and never saw the snake leave.  My Mother-in-Law had an appointment she had to get to so she got in the car and went.

OK, I’m not phobic, and I don’t have any problem with snakes, so I’ll never really get it. Given how scared she was last year, even I get that it took a HUGE amount of courage to do that.  She didn’t even call me at the time.

Anyway the point is everyone is fine.  Moving on.

Cats

Less scary (but possibly not for the squeamish) I found a new design of cat brush, and the critters really seem to like it.  It’s called Zoom Groom (and there’s a version made for dogs too).

Zoom Groom

That ball of cat hair was from a few minutes of brushing – yikes!  No wonder cat hair gets all over everything.  Yes, I keep thinking that it wouldn’t take a long time to get enough fur to spin, but the staple length is really short.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I haven’t heard about the Loopy Ewe giveaway, but I assume I didn’t win.

I entered a drawing for a skein of yarn from Agrestal Yarn a new show which specializes in ‘all natural’ Canadian sourced yarns (5 June). I found a cool crochet design game giveaway called “Secrets of the Pyramid” ($50 prize, 31 July deadline), but my system is too clunky to run it.  You might want to check it out though.

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