Monday, July 24, 2006


OK, I was going to try to write this entry in rhyme to match Peter Yarrow's wonderful song, but I only got the first line written before my creative juices failed me.

Knit one candle out of peacock alpaca,
and beautiful silk spun very fine.

I tried to go on, but I couldn't find anything appropriate to match up with "canned ass", "f***ing yarn overs", and "three-thousandth dropped stitch".

BUT IT IS DONE! And it is blocked! And it is such a fealing of accomplishment, I can't even begin to describe it! (Three sentences -- three exclaimation points! Oh, dear! I need a tranq!)

I first thought learning to knit lace would be the hard part. Then I though blocking would be the hardest. Now I realize the most difficult part of the process...waiting until Chanukah to give it to its intended recipient!

I blocked it within an inch of its life, and I still was not able to get the shape of each candle perfect, but I think it is as close as one might expect for first lace. (You never forget your first time, do you?)

Thank you everyone for all of your encouragement, advise, spankings, and diversions. I couldn't have done it without you!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Myfanwe, Norbert and I went last evening to Millennium Park for an ambitious and enjoyable concert, "Steppin' Out: When The World Listens". The concert -- the "Official Band Concert of Gay Games VII" featured over 250 symphonic band musicians from over 35 affiliated LGBT band organizations from around the world.

(L to R) Gale, A Boy Whose Name I Forget, and Lil' Myfanwe

An attorney (and DEAR friend) who works with Myfanwe, also named Myfanwe -- what are the chances of that -- and her partner, Gale, are both accomplished trombonists and members of Lakeside Pride, Chicago's LGTB band. Through "Lil' Myfanwe" and Gale we have come to know and love several band members. (Norbert's trombone teacher and her partner are also in the band, though playing percussion, not trombone.)

The concert was most enjoyable -- I particularly enjoyed Charles Ives' Variations on America. I appreciate how the piece encourages the listener to view things -- music, tradition, history...maybe even war -- from a different perspective. I think, in this day and age, people need to be encouraged to look at things from every angle. Intolerance is, after all, the inability to find worth in alternate beliefs.

Speaking of intolerance, we can talk about mine. There were three -- count 'em -- THREE protesters at the concert last night. (I'm sure more wanted to attend, but they were busy blowing up abortion clinics or subjugating women.) I almost didn't post this picture -- anyone who knows me knows I wouldn't agree with this schmuck on anything, and I hate to publicize his message of hate. So if anyone can photoshop something clever like "I have a very small penis so I have to take it out on the world" into the sign, I would be happy to post it and be forever grateful! [Editor's Note: Rachel, bless her heart, provided me with a censored photo so as to prevent helping this guy spew his hate. Thanks, Rach!)

This guy kept shouting about how G-d is killing off queers. "The average lifespan for a homosexual male is 40.4 years. The average lifespan for a homosexual woman is 42.4 years." Where does he get this shit? If this is true, two-thirds of the audience was living on borrowed time! And 'homosexual woman" -- has anyone used that phrase in the last 50 years?

I would have pictured the other two hate hatemongers, but they desperately needed baths and I simply can't abide dirty people. Didn't they know they were going out in public? Weren't they hoping to get their picture taken? Didn't their mothers ever teach them the importance of good grooming?

Concert pianist Tatsuya Nagashima (who also was competing in the Games in tennis) performed a 15 minute set which included a lovely Chopin piece -- I couldn't hear which one -- and closed off his set with a classy response to the protesters. He played a beautiful (60 second) arrangement of "Yes, Jesus Loves Me". The crowd was on their feet!


(L to R) Bossie, and Flossie, and Clara Cow

As always, the audience was positively teaming with people who had no idea a) that there were other people in attendance who came to hear the concert, b) that their never-ending, high-decibel chatter might possibly prevent others from hearing the concert, and c) in polite society, it is important to think about how one's actions affect other people.

Chicago, the city that gave the world Cow Art, also produced these three Bovine Bores -- who, while 20 feet away from me, all managed to talk loudly enough that I could hear everything they said quite clearly. (This is a rather remarkable achievement, since I am deaf in one ear and usually have to concentrate to hear one person in a quiet room.) To add insult to injury, every ugly and bitter moo and low was delivered in nasal Southwest-side, white trash, Jerry-Springer-Audience twangs that can only be compared to taking a rake across a blackboard.

I came very close to moving my chair really, really close behind them so that, when they asked what I was doing, I could tell them I moved closer so they wouldn't have to shout for me to hear. I wish I hadn't chickened out. Maybe next time.

And, if history is any indicator, the next time I go to a concert, there will be more cows.


Yesterday I completed the Candle Flame Shawl! Hooray! It only took me about 7 weeks, but it seems like longer somehow.

It is going to be beautiful, I can tell, but no pictures until I have it blocked. In its current state it still looks like a pile of canned ass!

I'm anxious about blocking. It is 80" long, and I'm worried about having dimples on the sides from the pins.

I've read several different ways to block lace, and can't figure out which is the best. In the past, I've blocked things by soaking them in room-temperature water with a drop of detergent (to ease the surface tension and allow the water to soak the fiber, I think), then rolled the piece in towels to soak up excess moisture, then pinned the piece out. I'm thinking about pinning the piece dry and wetting the fiber with a spray bottle of water. Any opinions? Don't be shy -- I wouldn't ask if I didn't want to know!


Thank you, CarryFairie!
(See, it pays to believe in Fairies!)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Yes, I am ready to admit that I have fallen under the lace spell.

Ted asked in comments what my next project was going to be. As the Candle Flame shawl nears completion, I have been giving it some thought and have decided to knit Rachel Schnelling's Rectangle Cover Shawl. I've ordered the pattern from KnitPicks, along with 4 skeins of Alpaca Cloud (100% baby alpaca) in Midnight.

If you are on the KnitPicks mailing list, you can see a closeup of the pattern on the back cover of the June/July catalogue. The pattern has diamonds set within diamonds set within diamonds. It is a large shawl -- 84" x 27". I chose the black alpaca over the greenish-blackish-grey pictured because I thought it would be elegant and versatile. It goes with everything, after all! Black is the new black, Baby.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


The Candle Flame Shawl is progressing nicely. It has now reached 56 inches. I'm not going to post a picture because it looks just like the last picture, only longer.

I'm enjoying it now. I've hit my stride, and am able to relax a little more. Not to say I could knit the lace at the circus, but I am now able to knit it with the radio on in the background. And last night I watched two episodes of Without a Trace while making fine progress. (Though I did have to set the knitting down when Samantha was being held hostage by the murderous drug kingpins.)

The pattern puts the desired length at 70", but I am definitely going to have lots of yarn left over, so I was thinking of taking it to 80". Does anyone have any opinions on that?