A month of blogging

During September, my blogging frequency declined a bit and October wasn’t much better. In an effort to jump start the posting again or burn myself completely out, I am challenging myself to post every day in November. I will be busily knitting and able to blog about some of the knitting, but not all as Christmas is quickly approaching.

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Be informed

In 2004, I was watching the local news station during the campaigns. Please don’t ask what I was thinking, however, I learned about a site which would give you all the candidates, proposals, etc. for your street address. I was able to compare the stances of the candidates who submitted answered to questions, if they couldn’t be bothered to submit answered, I couldn’t be bothered to vote for them. I picked my candidates, decided how I felt about the proposals, printed it out and took it to the polls. I felt strangely satisfied that I wasn’t using process of elimination with a childhood rhyme to pick the best person to represent my values. After completing the survey, I sent myself a copy via email and decided to look it up today to see if it was updated for 2008. If you live in the US, check out the Voter’s Guide for all the positions up for election. It is a non-partisan, information only tool to help us inform ourselves.

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The Trees Arrived

Tonight we planted trees. Last weekend we finished pulling trees out of the way and I tilled the soil to make it easier to plant. The trees arrived today in the mail, so we dug holes, planted, watered and caged them. Hopefully, the deer and other critters will leave them alone. I’ll put up pictures later today or possibly Saturday.

An oh, by the way, I think some brands of animal crackers have undisclosed milk. I’ve gone through countless numbers of tissues in the last 24-36 hours.

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There are other choices

In case you are not happy with today’s political climate in the United States (and you happen to live there) and the choices from the two major parties don’t offer an ounce of comfort, I should like to direct you to Vote Smart. Enter your zip plus four and find out who your current leaders are in the state and federal governments. You can also see what referendums are on your November ballot as well as all the candidates registered to run in your state. You will notice on my screenshot that I blocked my zip plus four, but I have more than two choices for president this year. When John Adams became our second president, he was neither Democrat nor Republican. He was a Federalist. While I have heard many say that to vote for a third party is a wasted vote, I disagree. Think of how many people you know who would like another choice. If all of them voted for someone other than the two major parties, we would have a different party in the White House. If we fill Congress with third parties, the other two will have to change or fall by the wayside.

I am going to avail myself of the right to choose. Many of my ancestors lived, fought and died to give this right to me. Some of my ancestors escaped the threat communism in Italy to make a better life for themselves, their children, their children’s children, my parents, and me. Some of my ancestors fled Europe on the Mayflower hoping for freedom in a new world. I want a different choice than the major political parties are offering me. I see no real difference between the two “big” candidates other than one is pro-life and the other is pro-choice. While that issue is important to me, it is not the sole reason to pick one over the other. Where will my country be financially when I am old? Will my country still exist? Will my grandchildren have the freedoms listed in the Bill of Rights? I will not choose the lesser of two evils this year. I did that in the past election and sorely regret the outcome.

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What kind of knitter?

My mother taught me to knit when I was a teenager. I had lofty goals of knitting my new baby cousin a blanket. I think I successfully learned how to cast on from her and the knit stitch, English style. She let me raid her stash, since I knew the baby was going to be a boy, I chose brown, not a warm brown, more dark. I started knitting a blanket, not quite wide enough, in brown yarn using only the knit stitch, also called garter stitch. I didn’t finish it, ever. I couldn’t even tell you if it still exists somewhere, I think I may have taken it apart (frogged/ripped) and made pom-poms out of it. I didn’t think much about knitting again until my early twenties. I found a pattern in a magazine, bought some needles and yarn, then tried to teach myself from the pictures in the back of the magazine. My fingers refused to connect. I found a friend of the family to show me, again and again, how to cast on, and slowly my fingers worked again. The sweater fell by the wayside when I couldn’t make quick enough progress, it’s now an unfinished blanket, but I am going to turn it back into a different sweater (I think). Four or five years ago I started knitting again, this time to stay for a long while. I’m finally motivated enough to complete projects. Most of that motivation comes from choosing projects I am capable of finishing, with only one or two new strategies per projects. I have retaught myself knitting, this time Continental style as it is easier on my arm and hands. I started think about what kind of knitter I am, process or project. Do I knit for the fun of knitting or for the final work? Everyone I have ever heard analyze him/herself was one or the other. At my current level of expertise (or lack there of), I have to be noncommittal and say I am both. I knit for the process when I learn new techniques and rip back until it’s correct. I knit for the final project because I won’t/can’t finish something that I or another won’t value.

Why do you craft? Why do you knit? Why are you passionate about your hobbies and activities? What keeps you going?

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Knitting and other yarn conversations

I’ve been working on the recreation of slipper socks for a friend of the family for a while now. Last February, Granny mentioned a friend who knew how to crochet, but not knit. He needed a new pair of slippers as the current ones were full of holes. The yarn was quite fine and the stitches quite small. In order to match those, I had to knit the first one on US size 1 (2.25mm thick). Between the first and second slipper sock, I must have relaxed a bit to the point of needing to use US size 000 (1.5mm thick). I have to say, I probably would not make another pair exactly like this. I used yarn a bit to thick for the size needles, hoping to add warmth to the finished product. I certainly accomplished that goal, at the expense to ease. It proved to be a bit difficult to join it all together. Usually, socks are knitting by turning a heel and decreasing the toe. The slippers I duplicated called for square toes and heels. I couldn’t in good conscience knit square toes, they aren’t comfortable. The square heel wasn’t much of a factor in the original pair because they were too short and the heel was pulled under the foot. To do again, I would turn the heel so that it was nice and round. In an effort to finish these up I have been knitting ’round the clock for the past week or so. If I were less tired, I would do some math and figure out how many stitches in the socks, I would conservatively say that there are tens of thousands of stitches in these slippers. I hold firmly to my assumption that the original pair was made on a sock knitting machine.

This weekend we went to a family friend’s farm for a potluck and apple cider pressing. Bring apples, go home with cider. I sat on the porch and happily knit away, plopping the yarn into my high tech knitting bag (my purse) and walking around when circumstances dictated. I had many, many conversations with people about knitting and crocheting. I chatted with an older woman who had a very thick German accent about yarn crafts. She thought she would never be able to do it after losing the tips of her left hand to frostbite. I told her about knitting belts, though I don’t think she will knit. I talked with another woman who crochets a lot, she taught herself to crochet when she was 13, she’s in her mid-twenties. I even talked with several men, a few of whom used the words patience and can’t/couldn’t. I stopped them mid-word and let them know that with the correct project, knitting teaches patience and that knitting does not require patience. I don’t know if there will be any new knitters but I had fun talking with and listening to others about knitting.

Just to round out the knitting stories, I’ll share one more. Yesterday, I went to down to pick up a few things and browse yarn for my Christmas Elf project. One of the stores in our area is discontinuing the sales of some of the yarns. I had a lovely conversation with a woman purchasing yarn for her daughter to crochet about yarn thickness, how to read the label to discover the weight (thickness) and fiber content. The yarn she chose was wool and I wanted to be sure that her daughter expected to knit with wool. I later found the yarn she chose set down in another are, so into my basket it went. Clearance wool is difficult for me to resist. I didn’t find yarn for my Christmas Elf project, but I found some in my stash when I returned home. I don’t have enough to complete the project, but I have enough to practice a few things.

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Remember when

I would like to present a challenge: If you remember one of these, use your favorite search engine and find a page about it. Leave a comment with a link.

  • flower power/poochy puppy
  • rainbow brite
  • jem and the holograms
  • shirt tales
  • voltron
  • gobots
  • smurfs
  • care bears
  • cabbage patch kids
  • pound puppy
  • strawberry shortcake
  • wuzzles
  • glo worm
  • my little pony
  • gi joe
  • the noid
  • the a-team
  • he-man
  • she-ra
  • snorks
  • inspector gadget
  • duck tales
  • alf
  • thundercats
  • teddy ruxpin
  • wrinkles
  • hess toy trucks
  • monchichi
  • kids incorporated

More to come . . .