Monthly Archives: December 2008

The Non-Transferability of Human Experience

True or false?

Warm Ewe Up Swap Question the First

I have joined a yarn swap on Ravelry called, punnily, “Warm Ewe Up.”
One of the rules is that we have to have a blog and post on it at least twice a month. To get us started, the moderator is posing group questions to be answered on our blogs.
And, here is the first one:

#1 – Why did you learn to knit?
The short answer:
Because I’m a girl.
The longer answer:
Because when I was growing up, competence was expected in basic living skills. Because this was long ago enough that such skills were divided along gender lines. So, along with learning biology, French, history, and diagramming sentences (really!) girls learned to cook and sew and clean. “Home Ec” was required for all 7th and 8th graders, but I’d learned to sew and knit years before then.
The Even Longer Answer:
I lived in the country and my mom was extremely practical, adventurous about food and gardening and animals and projects, and we were expected to join in. My parents’ best friends were Don and Gudrun and Gudrun was from Germany and even more practical than my mother. So, of course, she taught me to knit.

What I’m trying to get across here is that it wasn’t a “hobby” that I “chose” at age whatever, it was just part of being female in my family.
I can also make a roux, fold napkins, ice a cake, milk a goat, can fruit, grow vegetables, quilt, embroider, sew, plan a party, refinish furniture, repair a roof, muck out a stall, tie a nice bow, play dumb, bake a pie, write letters, decorate, play pool, swim like a fish, and amuse small children.

Things I cannot do include I cannot do a single thing to do with machines (except a sewing machine, which I can clean, oil, and maintain), cars, car engines, car tires, (nope, can’t change them), mechanical stuff, electricity (nope, I can’t even replace a fuse), splitting wood, cutting down trees, operating a tractor, fishing, football, boxing, fighting (I’ve tried self-defense classes, but they don’t take), and I can’t whistle.

But Wasn’t that Sexist?
Of course!

Then Why Aren’t I Angry?
Because, as it happens, it suited me. If you look at the list, it’s not all staying-indoors stuff and it’s not all easy. As it happens I was a very skinny kid, not very athletic, kind of shy, a whiz at schoolwork, was called “creative” whatever that means, and didn’t like getting cold or dirty. So, just by luck, I didn’t feel like I was personally being excluded from things I wanted to learn or do.

What about girls who wanted to learn other, different, things?
Well, that’s what made it so sexist!
For that matter, times were tough for boys who might have wanted to learn to knit.
Ah, the 50’s and 60’s.
Things were tough for anyone with an unusual name, family, appearance, or non-conforming disposition.

So, it’s all Much Better now, right?
Sort of.
Well, it’s great that kids aren’t forced to learn gender-based skills.
But, if I were in charge of the universe, they would still have to learn some skills, except they would have a choice.
Instead, as near as I can tell, most kids don’t learn the things on the “boy list” or the “girl list” anymore.

Merry Christmas!!

To celebrate, here is a photo of a knitted
nativity scene that someone made from a
Jean Greenhowe pattern.


Warm Ewe Up Swappee!

That’s the term, right? I’m the spoiler and she’s the swappee?
Anyway, I can’t wait to start the spoiling — from reading her profile and associated online publications, Ms.XYZ sounds so nice. In addition, we have a lot in common. I dare not say what we have in common, lest she read this blog at some point. But, it gives me confidence about choosing things for her.

Quiet Afternoon

The tree is half-trimmed, my favorite cat is sleeping on the printer, I’ve sent the case I was writing to my boss, my dad is taking me out to supper (so no cooking tonight), the weather is raw and rainy, my daughter is home from out west and so far we’re actually having FUN together, my son is leading a tour at the Carnivore Preservation Trust
(really! Here’s a photo:)

All in all, I’d say it’s naptime!

Unfinished Gift Solution – Photos!

Ta da, the promised photos!
First, the scarf.
The pattern is on Ravelry – it’s The Corrugator

My Corrugator, intended as a Christmas present for my father,
is languishing in the beginning stage


So, as a placeholder for here is the wee little version of the scarf:


Finally, here is the presentation.
I plan to add the little scarf to a greeting card
and wrap it around Monet’s neck:


Hopefully, this will be better than mumbling
“Um, sorry it isn’t finished, but uh, things have been crazy.”

Solution for Unfinished Holiday Gifts

Bit off more than you can chew,
er, I mean knit, this December?
Me too.

Here’s one solution:
I started a lovely blue scarf for my father,
but it probably won’t be finished in time.
So, I knit a tiny, miniature scarf in the same
yarn and same pattern.
Next, I’ll make a greeting card –
maybe a paper doll of my dad,
or maybe “Santa’s Workshop” –
with the little scarf in the card.

I’m at work now, but photos to follow later!

Slightly Tipsy

Boy, am I a cheap date. Two glasses of wine and . . . well, two glasses was plenty.
More later . ..

Annual Meltdown – Watch for It

I have observed that during the last three weeks of December
the psyche of – well, everyone – kind of runs off the tracks.
Is it Holiday Stress?
Economic Anxiety?
Ancient Childhood Traumas haunting us?
Too much awful Mall Music?
Sugar Overdose?
Visiting Relatives?

Or maybe that old standby, All of the Above.

Regardless, I hereby predict that many of your friends and relatives
will become strangely neurotic, cranky, and difficult –
not to mention stark raving mad –
at some point in the next few weeks.
Plan on it.

What or who is the stressor for you in December?

Rainbow Lace Bookmark

Trying out the new camera on some FO’s,
starting with this bookmark.

Warm Ewe Up Winter Yarn Swap Questions

Swap Q&A

Do you knit or crochet, or both? How long have you been at the craft?
Just knitting. I learned as a child and have become obsessed in recent years.

Do you spin?
Not so far, but it looks like fun.

What yarns/fibers are your favorites?
I love yarns that are soft, natural, and any weight below chunky.

What yarns/fibers do you not like?
“novelty” yarns, acrylics, and chunky or super-chunky weight fibers.

What yarns/fibers would you like to try but haven’t?
I’d love the chance to try yarn from some of the more unusual animals.
I also lust after Madeline Tosh’s yarns.

What are your favorite colors? Colors that you don’t like?
Some of my favorite colors are deep aubergine, dark periwinkle, forest green, warm browns, warm cream, warm yellow, deep deep orange – your basic “autumn” colors.
My least favorite and hated colors are bright kelly green, bright magenta, grape, navy, grey, black, white (your basic “winter” colors).

What are your favorite types of projects to knit/crochet?
Things to wear – I don’t make a lot of household items, except for bookmarks.

What are you currently working on?
UhOh. Okay, here goes: socks for my daughter, a scarf for my dad, a lace scarf for me, a lace shawl that I’ve just begun, and a cardigan with acres of stockinette.

What is your favorite FO? (Please post a picture if you have one.)
A sweater I made for my mom (no picture, sorry).
And a hat I made my son.

Are there any techniques that you want to learn?
How to finish projects once I start them, and how to not buy too much yarn.
Oh, you meant knitting techniques? I’d like to know how to convert top-down four-needle sock patterns into toe-up magic-loop patterns. I aspire to learn lace knitting.

Do you have a yarn winder and/or swift?
No and I’d love one – but that’s waaay over $35.

How do you store your needles/hooks?
I use circular needles, stored in a cloth thingie.

Do you collect anything?
UFO’s, teapots, journals made from thick smooth paper, and items decorated with roses.

Do you like sweets?
Love them, but can’t eat them due to blood sugar issues.
I do drink strong coffee though, *hint hint*

What are your favorite scents?
patchouli, grapefruit, cucumber, melon, rose.

Are you having a birthday during this swap?
not unless it goes on till September!

Do you have any online wish lists? (Amazon, Loopy Ewe, etc.) Please include a link for your pal.
Not now – I didn’t know there were such things. If I join one I’ll come back and change this answer.

What is your living situation (Are you married? Do you have kids, pets, or both?)
I’ve been married for 26+ years. We have two mostly-grown kids, aged 22 and 25, four cats, and 2 dogs. I like the dogs just fine, but I LOVE the kitties.

Are you allergic to anything?
Bath and Body Works fruity scents.

Is there anything else that you would like your pal to know?
I wasn’t sure how to answer most of these questions.
I’d like to have a yarn store/cafe some day.