Friday, August 30, 2002


scintillating solstice

& Hoo Hoo's

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Thursday, August 29, 2002

The fourth person in our family to get cancer this year is awaiting his prognosis today. We've been warned it won't be good. I've been Ms. Lucky in this whole thing (well, personally - I'm clean now and all I had to do was lose my female organs...) but my mom and two of my dearest cousins have all been hit this year, too. My mood suits the rain - and it's a good day for the therapy of knitting.

Schooner continues to sail on, finished another 9' piece last night, one more to go then I fit the tree.

The second sail of
Schooner thus far.

Theatrical design update: The Basketweave Sweater Vest I posted a schematic of below has come back from the designer with HUGELY additional stitch patterning so I need to re-adjust the bid, plus the design concept for the crocheted vest has changed from something that seems "homemade by a beginner" to "something more uniform in style and scale" - oh, well, we can always use the piece I already made as a muslin (sloper) - and maybe I'll sell the darned thing someday.

My husband says he thinks it's hip, and
- being a short, balding Jewish guy in his mid-40's - he KNOWS hip!
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Sunday, August 25, 2002

Crow- magnon shay

Yes, I've been crocheting this vest (another piece for the aforementioned show) and digging how sculptural crochet is. I'd forgotton. But S L O W - man, it is very, very slow to make these little granny squares and then weave in the ends and sew them all together in a haphazard manner - what the designer wants... I must say, I DO like the look of it!
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Friday, August 23, 2002

Go vest, young man

Spent most of yesterday swatching for vests for a new Broadway production. I love doing the theatrical stuff, it's really fun to knit for a character as opposed to a fashion plate.

I thought it might be interesting to mention how I create my "swatch renderings" of designs I'm working on. When I work up a design (for theatre or otherwise) I first knit up a swatch, then I create a schematic (measured drawing) of the shape of the garment.

Using photoshop I isolate the specific stitch patterns in the swatch and scale it to the correct size.

I use this scaled stitch pattern to fill in the pertinent spaces in the schematic, creating a pretty good image of what the finished garment will probably look like.
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Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Oh, how we danced...

Today is my 9th Wedding Anniversary! I can't believe it's been 9 years. This is supposed to be the "leather" anniversary - hmmmmm. Shoes? Wallet? Whip?

I've been working on the wire stuff, did half a mockup for a fur coat (knitted) and it's SO groovy! And, of course, the jewelry. Busy, busy, busy. I also worked up a very cool sexy knitted fur piece that you'll find more about when the website KNITTY is open for business! BTW, visit Dangerous Chunky for an amazing weblog experience. Stunning.

On the romantic knitting front - here's a photo of my knit wedding dress. I worked the horseshoe lace tunic up in rayon chenille with french knots and hand sewn pearls as accents.

Based loosely on Bess Truman's Wedding Dress
She was a bride in her 30's with a rather thick waist, too! Why make oneself miserable by pretending to be a size 6 on the happiest day of one's life?

Love me, love my butt.
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Saturday, August 17, 2002

Schooner Update #2

I finished the sail piece for the first branch/crotch of the tree - additional expenditure, $7.50 for two more balls of twine. I'm envisioning three sails total, two this size and one larger, but we'll see what I get finished. This one is 6' (the yellow line was added by me to show total length.) I'll try to get a photo up of the beautiful tree I'm going to attach these to. I think it's a sycamore.

The first 6' Sail is finished
I strung it up behind my garage to see exactly how it looks. I'm hopeful that as I get more practice in on the size 50's I can have a more regular and even stitch. The next sail will be lace!

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Friday, August 16, 2002

Schooner Update

Here's day 1 of my Schooner Knitting Adventure. Total outlay of $$: $7.00 for knitting needles, $18 for 5 packages of 100' heavy nylon cord/twine (more like a thin rope). I'll be working it up in a triangle with two cables running up either side of the center.

The first 4 feet
The size 50 plastic knitting needles have been extended by sticking 3' lengths of hula hoop into the ends and taping in place.

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Crappy Days

What a couple of crappy days I've had. Sucky, awful, stinking days. Yechh. I want to run away and join the circus, except I hate clowns and elephants and tents creep me out.

First I got a phone call from an editor who was rather pissed that I hadn't heeded our "phone conversation" about details to change on a sweater or referred to the sketch she'd sent. As I was very diplomatically trying to assure her that I had no memory of such a conversation and at the same time being totally honest with her that - the way my memory is these days - it's possible that I really don't remember our conversation her assistant found the sketch she thought she'd sent me with the notes on it that she'd mistakenly thought she'd discussed with me on the phone. She apologized - all was "forgiven" (even though I really hadn't done anything wrong) and she told me that, even though the mistake wasn't mine, I'd have to re-do the section of the sweater that was in question and resend it to her. Of course I swallowed hard and said, "Sure!" I hate myself. I hate what freelancing has turned into.

Then today, after working for over a month on a series of projects for a knitting book that I was approached about working on (is that even a sentence?) I get an email two days before the photo shoot for the dummy book telling me that my aesthetic isn't quite what she, the book packager, was looking for. Great. I'd only sent her images of the projects two weeks ago and had been spending the time since then furiously finishing up two other projects that she said she wanted to photograph. If only she could have let me know as soon as I sent her the pix - or could have let me know in a way that didn't sound like she thinks I should be designing toilet paper covers for McCalls. Hell, maybe I should.

I feel like crap. Crap, crap, crap.
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Thursday, August 15, 2002


So I'm thinking, "What on EARTH am I going to do about this huge knitted SAIL that I am committed to making for the Baird Center by August 28..." I went to the Ragg Shop today and found a pair of size 50 needles, popped the ends of them off and taped a string between the two so that I have sort of huge, circular needles. They're not great, but they'll do. I'm knitting the sail in a triangle, the point of which will nest in the crotch of a huge shade tree that overlooks the tennis courts. I'd love to do several of these sails so that the tree really does look kind of like a vessel of some kind.

My sculpture will be called Schooner Is that too obvious? I'll post some photos tomorrow of my progress on this thing. I should have just submitted a wire bowl to the judges.
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Are the best time to get some writing done. It's cooler than usual, my mind is fresh and the kids are at camp (at least for this week) Next week not only is camp finished, but our babysitter who watches kids from her home two doors down will be on vacation so I'll be a kid-lovin' mom all week. So much to knit, so little time. And it's so hard with all of this stickiness sticking to every sticky thing in the sticky house. Did I mention that last night we went to the beach and then had a pancake dinner? Nothing like a little maple syrup to make you really appreciate SAND.
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Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale...

Hot child in the suburbs, that's me. My neighbors are on vacation in the islands. My other neighbors are going on vacation to the Island (long). I am a rock, I am an island. Spent most of the day working up swatches for a theatrical knitting bid. I love to do the theatre stuff, it makes me feel like the $20K degree in folding wasn't a total waste. Yes, it was.

Yesterday I taught a new knitter the basics - she didn't really want to learn to knit wool, she wanted to learn to knit WIRE. I didn't spend a lot of time on casting on and binding off, we only had a few hours, but she really picked it up quickly. I'm excited to see what she comes up with - she's a jewelry designer and wants to incorporate knitting wire into her work. When she arrived she showed me a bracelet she'd bought at Nordstroms that looked knit, but sort of like it was machine made icord with heavier gauge wire than it's comfortable to knit. I think at first she was disappointed that she wouldn't be able to duplicate the look of that piece - now I'm obsessed with that!

I've heard that the sculptural piece I proposed as a site specific object has been accepted by the local art show, so now all I have to do is KNIT a 150 squre foot sail. Hmmmm. By August 28th. I'm sweating.
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Monday, August 12, 2002

Beer makes you knit faster

Just finished a really CUTE pink sweater for Berrocco - I know that at this point I shouldn't be doing my own knitting (I should hire knitters to work for me) but I can't seem to let go. I need to find some knitters who want to knit for $$'s. The problem is, I'm so darned fast and I love the knitting part - plus, I hate to lose the $'s I'd pay to a knitter. But - if I'm going to be professional about this - I have to begin paying knitters. It's more a leap of mind than anything else - a way of looking at myself and projecting myself.

Another problem with this is so many of the things I knit are very unusual, so explaining them to someone to knit for me would take as much time as knitting it myself. Plus, I like working something up so I can figure out tips and shortcuts to relate to the editor. A quandry.

I just received some terrific wire from Artistic Wire for a few pieces for Interweave Knits. LOVING this stuff - all different gauges! I only asked for 3 colors, but it really comes in a tremendous variety! I've learned that Nancie Wiseman, who taught me to knit with wire, has a book about knitting with wire coming out in Spirng 2003 to add to her other terrific books - go Nancie!
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Saturday, August 10, 2002

Check out the artist Germaine Koh and her large knit piece...
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Friday, August 09, 2002

Revolution Evolution?

While knitting this evening I was watching NOW on PBS and have been inspired by Ralph Nader to write to my congressfolk to tell them that I want them to support campaign finance reform. Apparently along with so many other important things it's in danger of falling by the wayside because well - we all know why. Money, money, money - soft and cushy and oh, so green.

I must say that I loved his strategy of writing a letter (better than a call - which is better than an email) to my senator and representative and get a few neighbors to sign the letter, too. Then tell my congressperson in the letter that I'm sending copies to their opposition and also to local newspapers and media. When I think of the amount of time I spend on insane things - and add to that the amount of time I spend being so angry about the corporatization of our government - I realize that I have no one to be angry with but myself if I choose not to act.

A note of sympathy to Michael Moore of Roger & Me and Stupid White Men fame - he recently lost his beloved mother, which is probably why he's silent during this latest corporate roundup of the usual suspects.
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Thursday, August 08, 2002

Another perfect day in South Orange, NJ!

This not having health insurance is for the birds. I've had a strong pain in my side for the past few days - I think it might be adhesions from my surgery - but the doctor is not a possibility at this point. Actually, I will give her a call today and see if I could see her anyway.

Spent most of yesterday visiting Pins & Needles in Princeton (where I'll be teaching two classes this fall - both on Monday afternoons) then off for a shopping extravaganza. I swear, the less money I have the more I want to spend. Seriously, I did get great deals on everything I bought, and it was all stuff that the kids need for school. Several skirts and pairs of pants for Hannah, a shirt, pants, tie, socks, underwear and a hat for Max. Okay, okay, I did get a dress for me, but it was $21 at Talbots! All told, the damage was around $60 for everything (LOVE that Children's Place Outlet on Route 27!)

Knitting wise - oh, yeah... Finished a hemp tote bag yesterday, I'm going to throw it in the washer today to soften it up and see if I can't make it nicer. I still have to fashion a handle for it - I'd love to make a leather one somehow...

I also reworked one of my Universal Chair Seats in the rainbow twine that I mentioned a few days ago - it's KICKY!
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Tuesday, August 06, 2002

When the weather is this good I can do ANYTHING!

Today is the open house at the Creative Arts Camp where I teach - we're doing an original production that the kids have written and I'm SO proud of them. It's kind of a Harry Potter meets Into The Woods - I'm just finishing up one of the costume pieces now.

Knitting wise I've had so many false starts in the past few days. I keep getting terrific ideas, then when I'm halfway through I think they suck. So I rip them out - and when the ball is re-rolled I think, "You know, that wasn't really such a bad idea..." So then I'm back to zero. I'm trying to get a few really great, funky, unusual knit ideas together as a proposal for a knitting book I'm working on, but it's harder than I anticipated.

I really feel the difficulty has lain (laid?) in large part in the exhaustive heat. This isn't a stellar year for me healthwise, but I'm definitely doing better on the cooler days. Today I feel amazing, and I'm looking forward to getting some great strides made in my projects this afternoon in the cool, cool backyard while the kids play! I'm also working up some ideas for Knitting Now and just learned I'll be doing a few new (and very unusual) projects for Interweave Knits (an amazing magazine - check it out!)

Speaking of checking it out - maybe we CAN work out a weekend slumber party with knitting? We all should get pedicures because you can knit while you're getting one! I got one yesterday (the first in months - I'm feeling a little guilty) and knit all the way through it! (of course, I ripped out what I'd knit...)
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Friday, August 02, 2002

Take my hand - I'm a stranger in paradise!

This is TOO funny! While perusing Kat's blog I ran across the Russian Composer's Identity Test.

After taking the test I discovered that I am - ta da! Aleksandr Borodin! My absolute favorite composer (well, I'm a lowbrow, what can I say...) I love his first and second string quartets so much - plus he seemed to have a rather well balanced life - science and art

Son of a 19th Century Russian prince and a...non-royal...mother, you went to medical school and became a biochemist. Most people, however, (and probably your twenty cats as well) agree that they'd trade all of your scientific discoveries for another set of "Polovetsian Dances."

On the knitting front I found some KICKY rainbow twine at Home Depot that I'll be fashioning into something odd and bizzare - stay tuned!
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Will you not take me to Funky-Ville?

Why doesn't blogger every remember me? Is it my breath, something I said - ? I worry too much about this.

Today I funk out and start some new weird, wild and non-discussable projects. Knitting with stuff that god never intended knitting needles to touch. Still waiting to hear if the Baird Center will accept my site-specific proposal for a knitted sculpture hanging from one of the huge trees in Meadowlands Park here in South Orange. I'm torn - I want them to accept it, but I don't want to do the work. Hmmmmm.

I'm astounded by the sheer number, breadth and humor of the other knitting blogs. It makes my head spin - and also makes me so happy to not feel alone. I swear, if one isn't an old lady (THAT stereotype is out the door - I mean, older women aren't even OLD LADIES anymore! Check out Carole King who is SIXTY and still so SEXY in the most life affirming way!) or a young chickie-thangie (under 25 and has never owned more than two bras at a time, or one bra and a pair of non-thong underwear) you'd think one was INVISIBLE to the major knitting world! Not really - I don't really mean that - but it seems that the world sees a fad, runs to the fad, and then runs the other way (hopefully before the boat tips over). Those who stay in the center clinging to the kids are my hero(ines).
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Thursday, August 01, 2002

J'ai Fatigue

My worst fears have come true - I'm sucked into Big Brother. This is intense. I hate these people - they'd rip me apart if I were in that house. Weird. Actually - I'm turning over to NBC to watch Scrubs, so I guess Big Brother doesn't have my soul (yet)

I want to ban telephone calls to my home. I don't mean telemarketers, I mean friends. I love my friends, but when they call I spend half the conversation explaining to them that, "Yes, I'm okay - even if I do sound down/sad/tired/asleep - I'm just really low energy right now!" It takes so much energy to deal with the phone calls and allay their fears.

And - oddly - I'm finding that some folks take it personally when you're not able to be up, bright and happy-sounding on the phone. They say, "What's WRONG with you?" or "Are you ALRIGHT?" in an accusatory way - I think I'm just tired. Never mind. Listen - if you were going to call me, just email, okay?

I'm currently working on a few designs for some snowboarder hats (dude!) - checking out some stuff on the web and this one is hands down my favorite so far. In my wanderings on a German skiboard site I saw, "Klick hier!" and just laughed and laughed. I don't really know why it struck me as so funny. Tired I guess.
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Alison's Scarf
Link to pdf file of cable/trellis lace scarf

Hannah's Poncho
Link to pdf file of multi-sized poncho


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