Rhymes With Fuchsia

Thursday, November 30, 2006

"Dear Yarn" Letter

Dear blue skein,

Since I first took you out of the box, dear yarn, you have charmed me with your ways: your generous 560 yards, your soft sheen, the way you happily soaked up dye, whether you were being handpainted or immersed.

But now — this is so hard to say — I fear we've come to a parting of the ways, dear yarn. You are keeping me awake at night, whispering in my ear of the socks I could make with you — or maybe a shawl? or a hat and scarf? your possibilities have me bewildered.

You are coming between me and my next red scarf, and the pattern that's begun to percolate in the back of my brain; you are distracting me from the Dulaan mittens I had in mind, before you began entangling me in your merino strands, dear, dear yarn.

Much as I love you, it's time for me to give you up. I am donating you as a Knit Unto Others prize, so that you and an as yet unknown knitter can find true happiness together.

I bid you fond farewell, my true-blue yarn.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


That last post was an eye-opening experience. Such enthusiastic, numerous and well-considered comments required a thoughtful response, which explains why you haven't gotten one for so long. I am a very slow thinker, especially when distracted by a combination of knitting, relatives and food. Come to think of it, you could leave out the relatives. Also the knitting.

Now that I've had time to think... Maryse is entirely correct that we lefties have gotten very tired of being called unpatriotic, immoral, amoral, anti-religion, pro-terrorist, and dumb (only an idiot would believe all that evolution and global-warming nonsense). A year or two ago I started reading a couple of very-far-right blogs, looking for common ground, figuring that there must be some. I soon discovered that, on the usual topics of discussion anyway, there was none to be had, unless I would cop to being all of the above and more besides. My best attempts at rational argument fell on deaf ears. My self-evident fact was their dangerous fantasy, and vice versa.

I stopped commenting, but kept reading, I wasn't sure why. Occasionally I would hear a faint clash of cognitive dissonance, and I would hope that light had finally begun to dawn on Marblehead, but no.

Only when I read Lorinda's comment did I realize (speaking of Marblehead) that I was using these blogs to validate my belief that these people had lost their grip on reality, that they were essentially different from me and there was no point in my trying to talk to them. Despite their vaunted Christianity, I was sure, I was better than they were. No matter what the issue, I could guarantee that I was right, and they were wrong. I became convinced, to paraphrase my favorite comic songwriters, that lefties were moral, and lefties were good, and clever, and modest, and misunderstood.

I was, in a word, proud.

How did I slip from confidence in my opinions to arrogant dismissal of people who disagreed with me? It probably had something to do with not actually knowing many conservatives in real life, and something to do with starting at the very opposite end of the spectrum. I had the right idea when I tried to find common ground, I think, but I should have begun with something simpler and built from there. Something that we could all enjoy together while making the world a warmer place, so that our differences wouldn't matter so much while we got to know each other. Something like... knitting.

Pull up a chair, my friends. Welcome to my trying-harder-to-be-humble blog. Not that I'm changing my opinions, mind you, but I'm having a go at changing my attitude, at broadening my horizons, at not self-selecting out of reading any blog that might teach me something, keeping in mind at all times: I could be wrong. Meanwhile, let's knit.

At this point I hear liberals and conservatives alike (all who are still awake) joining in chorus: Who won, already?? Oh, right. (squeezes eyes shut, sticks hand in hat) And the winner is...


So, Norma, what kind of yarn do you want?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Left Twist

By following the kind and excellent advice of Dave and Julie, I managed to get a better picture of the red scarf, with an improved view of the cables and a more accurate representation of the color (click to embiggen).

It's also longer now, so that I can display its reversibility.

All this blue and red is making me ponder one of life's small conundra: while needless to say I haven't done a scientific poll, it seems to me that knitters are disproportionately on the liberal side of the political spectrum. There are exceptions, certainly, but at least in the US, knitters seem to be more blue than red no matter where they live. I'm far from the first to remark upon this phenomenon, and I can't think of a good explanation for it. True, most knitters are women, and women tend to be more liberal than men, but that doesn't account for all of it, and most male knitters also seem to be liberals.

So, a contest: answer the questions 1) do you agree with my observation? 2) if so, how do you explain it? Since I don't know the right answer (if any) to either question, all who answer both questions according to the rules will be entered in a random drawing. The rules: you must answer question 1 honestly and, if the answer is yes, provide a plausible answer (other than "I don't know") to question 2, that is one not involving aliens, Elvis or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I don't require that you yourself believe the answer, only that it be at least somewhat believable. The winner will receive red and/or blue sock yarn (but not the skein I just dyed: we are still in the throes of infatuation, and no one must come between us).

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A Blue State of Mind

beforeLast summer when I started dyeing yarn, I began with handpainting. The first skein I worked on turned out nice, but, as is the wont of first tries, not quite what I had envisioned. It was uneven, a bit blotchy, and, at the transitions between colors, embarrassingly pale. It needed a makeover.

I'd planned to do another round of handpainting, but that was before I dyed the roving for felt balls using the much simpler immersion method. What would happen, I began to wonder, if I just threw it into a pot with some blue dye?

So last week during the unseasonably warm and bright weather (come back, sun! we miss you!), that's what I did.

afterI chose blue in the spirit of the season, and also out of basic color sense: the original colors were blue, purple and green. I measured the dye liberally (pun intended), wondering what magic I was making. Would the blue overwhelm the other colors, giving me a lovely but rather plain blue skein, or would I get indigo, turquoise, royal, periwinkle, Atlantic, cerulean, midnight, lake, cornflower, lapis, and a score of other shades whose names I've forgotten, if they ever existed?

The latter, as it turns out. I am in love with it. (Grant doesn't know.) I want to keep it around forever, just to look at, and I want to turn it into a splendid pair of socks. I'm caught in the eternal dilemma: I can't have my yarn and knit it too.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Wishing You Were Here

I woke up early this morning to a glorious sunrise and rushed outside to capture it in pixels. (Chill: I got dressed first.)

The sunrise only portended an amazing gift of a day, warm and sunny. I keep thinking "this is probably the last one," but the charm of New England weather is that you never quite know for sure. It's supposed to rain for the next three days, and after that... who knows? We celebrated by raking leaves, spurred on by the twins down the street who had come around last weekend talking up their yard-work business and undertaken to mow the lawn one last time. The poor kids. The lawn had gotten away from us, and I had shown them the unruly grass and asked if they were sure they were up for it. For an hour and a half they tried this attachment and that, unclogging their mower multiple times. They want to come back and take one more crack at it. I give them A for effort, whether they succeed or not. At least they motivated us to get the raking done.

Meanwhile, I have been knitting. You may or may not recall that this was a knitting blog, once upon a time, not that you would have known it for the past several months. Recently, however, thanks to the lovely and talented Norma, my knitting mojo has returned, and has brought forth a new pattern for a red scarf.

I really do wish you were here, because despite photographing it outdoors and indoors, fiddling madly with the brightness and contrast in Paint Shop Pro, and generally driving myself half nutty (OK, three-quarters nutty, I was already at half), I can't get a decent picture of it. The alpaca yarn is wonderfully soft and squooshy but doesn't have great stitch definition. This is my first attempt at reversible cables, and I'm finding it a surprisingly easy and quick knit (we will pass over the errant cable and the frogging thereof). I hope to have the pattern up shortly. I know I always say that, but this time I mean it.

Update: The pattern is up. The link to it is right under Dolores in the sidebar. This is my maiden pattern (she said, blushing). If you see any mistakes, for heaven's sake let me know.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006




today if you live in the US.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Happy Saturday!

Saturday sky

Saturday pie


That's all for now, bye

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

On the Road with Flat Scout

I haven't yet recounted an important part of our Rhinebeck trip this year, our adventures with Flat Scout on Sunday. Flat Scout did enjoy her stay, and she graciously agreed to speak with me about her experience.

Lucia: We were so pleased that you were able to join us at Rhinebeck on Sunday, Flat Scout.

Flat Scout: The pleasure was all mine. I must say you gals know how to start the morning off right.

L: Well, what would morning be without Starbucks, after all? But tell me, what did you think of Sunday at the festival?

FS: I loved meeting all the bingo bloggers. The llama, not so much.

L: She does look a bit standoffish.

FS: Yes. She muttered something about my lacking depth. You would think she would have a little more sympathy for the dimensionally challenged.

L: You had better luck with the yarn, though.

FS: Oh, yes, the yarn was very warm and welcoming. Apparently Ruth thought so too.

L: Indeed she did. Well, thank you very much for taking this time to chat, Flat Scout.

FS: You're entirely welcome.

We were delighted to be able to spend time with Flat Scout not only at Rhinebeck, but back home as well. At this point I'm going to turn things over to Ruth, who is live in the center of town with Flat Scout. Ruth?

Shameless Ripoff

Ann, you saved my cookie-challenged butt. Next time maybe you could tutor me on making reasonable-looking leaves.