Thursday, September 27, 2007

&#%$! @^*>! %*&#!

Ok. I was home sick. After a morning of sleep, I thought "Hey! I could sit here and knit in absolute peace and quiet. I can make some progress on my lace and not have to worry a bit about distractions."

I thought I was sumpin', let me tell you! Uninterrupted time to knit without feeling guilty! Unheard of!

Until I picked up my knitting. I had knit about 8 stitches when I knew something was wrong. I was off. So I tinked back a row, counted, and everything looked fine. Then I knit it again, and I came up with the wrong number of stitches. I did this several times. Always the wrong number of stitches.

Finally, at 9 p.m., as my head was about to explode, I ended the row and had exactly the right number of stitches! I was ecstatic! I really had been working on this for hours! So I decided to knit the next row so I could go to bed knowing I had made at least some progress today.

Half way through the row I realized that I had forgotten the requisite purl (ws) row and would have to tink back. &#%$!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


A highway patrolman pulled alongside a speeding car on the freeway. Glancing at the car, he was astounded to see the driver behind the wheel was knitting! The driver was oblivious to his flashing lights and siren, so the trooper pulled alongside, rolled down his window, turned on his bullhorn and yelled, "PULL OVER!"

"NO!" the knitter yelled back, "IT'S A SCARF!"

Monday, September 24, 2007


I know I wasn't supposed to cast on the Swallowtail Shawl until I finished the Luna Moth Shawl, but I was having a bad day and came up with the wrong number of stitches on the Luna and didn't feel like ripping back 300 stitches, so I cast on the Swallowtail. The next thing I knew, I had lace. And it is beautiful.

Given the gauge, I'm probably going to add an additional 5 or 10 repeats of this introductory pattern. After this comes a Lily of the Valley pattern that ends in scalloped lace edging. I'm very excited...of course, that's before I've actually encountered a nupp. I've heard that they are difficult...but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Needs vs Wants

I am an incredibly lucky man. Incredibly lucky.

I have absolutely everything I need. Everything. I am well fed, I have a great job, a wife and son who love (wife) or tolerate (son) me. I have a lovely home, good pans, sharp knives, and food is plentiful. My stash -- though not large -- is full of lovely yarns. Our water is clean. My health is decent. I have access to some of the best doctors in Chicago. b G-d has been very, very good to me.

That said, I am still incredibly greedy and have a list of some things I want. Please feel free to print off, photocopy, and distribute. I'm providing links where possible.

1. A 6 burner stove. This is the big-ticket. I dream about it. A lot.

2. A ball winder. I know -- it's WAY high end, but it's like a BMW -- smooth and sexy.

3. Cashmere and silk lace yarn. In Eau de Nil. And Terracotta. (I'll knit two shawls, thank you very much.) What a joy that would be.

4. Addi Lace Turbo circulars -- in every size. Oh, wouldn't that make life so much easier!

5. I'd like to take Norbert to Europe. It is the one area of his education where I feel I have failed. I want to take him to Ireland and France and Greece.

6.A large collection of folk music..50's and 60's stuff mostly.

7. I want to have more money so I could afford to give away more. I know plenty of people my age who don't think philanthropy is a responsibility for this generation. But I think that it is both a practice which must be developed over time, and that everyone should do their part.

8. I wish so very much that I could afford to fly Myfanwe to New York so that she could go to one of those famous bra shops to be properly fitted for and actually purchase bras that fit and are comfortable.

9. I want someday to own a little land just barely out of town where I can keep chickens. I would escape there weekly and bake cakes and eat omelets and fried egg sandwiches.

10. I would like, just once, to walk into a clothing store like Hugo Boss or other high-end designer and not have to worry about be treated with respect. Fancy places don't like fat people. Oh, I would love to have a well made suit...and a blue blazer.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


I don't have a cute title for this post. Nothing clever. I'm too tired. You'll have to forgive me. This happens every year at around this we enter the Jewish High Holidays, or, as I like to call them, the Bhutan Death March of Holiday Seasons.

First it is Rosh Hashanah. Clean the house, polish the silver, try to make sure the house doesn't smell like dog, bake things with honey, feed a crowd, then run out on a disasterous mound of dirty dishes and head to synagogue to sit in an un-air conditioned sanctuary for three hours while the cantor does her finest impression of a banshee, then rush home, tumble into bed -- totally ignoring the dirty dishes -- only to arise a few hours later to start cleaning up before beginning another day just like the last.

Ten days later we have Yom Kippur. Clean the house, polish the silver, try to make sure the house doesn't smell like dog, bake things with honey, feed a crowd before the sun sets, then run out on a disasterous mound of dirty dishes and head to synagogue to sit in an un-airconditioned sanctuary for three hours while the cantor does her finest impression of a banshee, then rush home, tumble into bed -- totally ignoring the dirty dishes -- only to arise a few hours later to start cleaning up before beginning another day like the last, only this time on an empty stomach.

Yom Kippur is closely followed by Sukkot, an eight day festival and among my favorite of the Jewish Holidays. It might help that Sukkot is usually right around the time the weather begins to turn cool. Then comes Shmenei Azeret. Bringing up the rear is Simchat Torah, which celebrates the giving of the Torah. This is also my father's yahrzeit. Don't ask me why I threw that in...just trivia.

All this means that, by the middle of October I have the shiniest silver in the world and a lethargy so pervasive, sloths form my pep squad. It also means that between Labor Day and the middle of October, Norbert only has 12 or so days of school. You can't imagine how stressful that can be.

I have completed a few more repeats of the pattern on the Luna Moth Shawl. It really slows down after a certain point...I think I am up to 339 stitches and approximately 60 inches in width across the top. I figure two more repeats (40 rows) and I will check to see if it is large enough.

Ravelry continues to suck a whole lot of time out of my life! It is really such a fun place. I've picked at least a dozen lace projects I want to start, which should be enough to get me through the next 2 years. But every day I go back, looking for more!

I've made some Ravelry friends, and I've joined the Lace Knitters' group, the Yarn Harlot Fan Club, Dolores' Devotees, the Brenda Dayne Fan Club, a Shawl Knitters' group, Jewish Fiberholics, and a couple of other groups. I haven't made any best friends, but I figure I'll invite a bunch of the kids for a sleepover and maybe things will just click.

In real life, or the real world, or whatever this is, I found out that my law firm has a knitting group which meets every Wednesday at 12:30. I wasn't able to go this week because I had a doctor's appointment, but I will definitely try it next week. I hope they are ok with a guy who knits, because I would hate to have to add everyone to my list of people I have to crush when I win the lottery.

I've made a tentative decision on the next shawl I'm going to knit. I've decided on the Swallowtail Shawl, which I hear (from people on Ravelry) is an enjoyable knit and looks really, really beautiful. Don't you agree?

Kwiky is thinking of knitting the same shawl. I can't wait for the pattern to arrive so I can cast on!

Saturday, September 15, 2007


Norbert and I were out in the burbs yesterday to pick up his best friend, who also happens to be named Norbert. (I know...what are the odds? We thought he'd be the only Norbert in his class, and it turns out there are four of them.)

Anyway, I've been wanting Galina Khmeleva's book "Gossamer Webs Design Collection", and we were driving right by, so I asked Norbert if we could stop in at Chix With Stix, a yarn shop in Forest Park, right next to Oak Park. It was fine with him.

I could instantly tell that this was not going to be a good visit. There were three women sitting at a table knitting and talking, and when we walked in the door, they fell silent. I strolled over to the books and startled looking when a woman came up to me and asked me, "Are you looking for something?" Not "Good afternoon. How can I help you?" or "Is there anything I can help you find?"

I told the woman what I was looking for, and she said "We don't have that." Then -- I kid you not -- she turned, walked away, and sat down at the table and picked up her knitting. She didn't ask "Can I recommend 'A Gathering of Lace'?" or "What kind of a shawl are you interested in knitting?"

Norbert wanted to buy some orange baby alpaca that he thought would make a great scarf for Myfanwe, but I didn't want to spend any money there.*

While walking to our car from the AIDS Walk today, I mentioned this to Myfanwe, who has heard me recount similar experiences at several other shops in the past. While I was firmly convinced that this rude behavior was certainly because of prejudice against men who knit, my wife suggested that maybe it wasn't gender bias and that maybe the sales people just didn't like me.

I said, in response, "These sales people didn't even know me!"

Her reply? "Lots of people who don't know you, don't like you."

I couldn't really argue with her.

*I ended up ordering the book used from I'll take Norbert by Loopy Yarns sometime soon to look for some yarn for his stash. They like boys.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


(Nobody ever believes that I am from the south.)

Anyway, I will have to keep this quick. I have to work tomorrow.

The food for the bat mitzvah went over beautifully. Everything tasted divine. I make an incredible kugel, and the chocolate fountain was a lot of fun. I still don't feel like I've caught up on my sleep though, because I woke up the morning after the bat mitzvah party and it suddenly popped into my head that I had people coming over for Rosh Hashanah dinner last night and I hadn't cleaned, planned, or even thought about it.

I pulled it off. Never fear.


I am about 25% of the way into the Luna Moth stole. I am enjoying it -- thought it hasn't been without it's frogging moments. I don't know why I am incapable of knitting lace if anyone is in the room...or the telephone rings (irregardless of whether or not I actually answer the phone)...or the upstairs neighbor farts, or someone turns on classical music. I swear, I loose all ability to read a pattern, count to 7, or any of the other skills I need to knit lace. I've put a lifeline in since this pic was taken...I started to worry about what could happen to it.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


I couldn't help myself. It really isn't my fault -- it's an addiction. Really. I saw this:

at this lovely site, which I found while perusing that Demon Ravlery. I tried not to buy any. I really did. As tempting as it was, I navigated my little self away several times. I just walked away, humming Eartha Kitt's "Get Thee Behind Me Satan" to myself and reminding myself that the first step is to admit I am powerless over lace yarn and that my stash has become unmanageable.

And then -- also on Ravelry -- I saw the Luna Moth Shawl:

The detail shot was even better!

Then I started thinking about how lovely that shawl would be in silver silk. About then I must have blacked out, because the next thing I know, there is a receipt in my e-mail for 2 cones (2500 yards) of heavy laceweight silver silk yarn.

I'm trying to figure out if there is some way I can blame this on my wife.

Sunday, September 02, 2007


Sorry for the prolonged silence. Myfanwe, Norbert and I were on holiday in the middle of nowhere, doing as little as possible, and eating as much as possible.

It was a glorious success.

We stayed in a little (4 bedroom) cottage in Southwestern Michigan. This is the view of the woods from the dining room. The view from the other rooms looks basically the same. And yet we are only a short walk down a private road to a lovely private beach on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan.

This has been a very wet summer we can remember in the 15 years we've been staying here, and almost all of the woodlands around us are back-dune wetlands at the present time. The mosquitoes are worse they have ever been. And water seems to have gotten into the phone lines, giving all communication and very loud crackle and preventing even the most rudimentary (i.e. dial up) internet connection.

This was difficult for me. I discovered that a laundromat in town (5 miles) offered free wifi. You could see me at odd hours, parked outside the laundromat, checking my e-mail on my laptop. That presented its own problems, since apparently my laptop battery only holds 10 minutes worth of power now. As Roseanne Roseannadana would say, "If it isn't one thing, it's another."


Just call me LaceWeightGuy.

My Ravelry invitation came in the mail whilst I was away. Thank Bob! I thought it would never arrive. But it has, and it is absolutely everything I had hoped. And almost none of the things I had feared! I've already identified several lovely projects I can't wait to start!

If you are already in Ravelry, will you be my friend?

Has anyone knit the Kiri shawl? I can't, for the life of me, understand the cast on and setup instructions. I'd be much obliged.


I am cooking the food for the bat mitzvah of a dear friend/neighbor next Saturday. They are expecting 200 people, and I'm not exactly what you would call prepared. Oh, and I forgot to get help, and most of the people who assist with prep are out of town. So I probably won't have time to blog/knit/read/sleep or do anything else until after the bat mitzvah. And then, after a day of solid sleeping, I expect to be back to normal.