Wednesday, November 29, 2006

New Respect for Crochet

The night before Thanksgiving, I stayed up late putting my Ultimate Sweater Machine together and giving it a try. I didn't have a suitable table so I attached it to the breakfast bar. (See the glass of beer?) I'll post on that whole experience later.

Here's the fingerless glove I made one evening, based on a pattern at My partner had been asking for it for weeks. I used leftover Knitpicks Merino Style, nice and soft. I'm modeling it on my much smaller hand below; it barely fits over his knuckles.

This is my progress so far on the Frou Frou cardigan. (The color faded b/c of the flash; it's a much darker green.) Some technical issues because I deviated from the pattern when starting the collar. We'll see how it goes.

I was going to work on it over Thanskgiving (and my dissertation too) but there was so much do hair at my partner's parents' house in Ashland, I kept it tucked away. But I did work on a scarf using Elann's Luna Collection and a Moda Dea eyelash yarn I got at Long's. The colors coordinated very well.

It turned out all the women present (mother in law, sister in law, brother-in-law's girlfriend) either crocheted or knitted. We all bonded over that. I was crocheting the entire time--working on either the scarf above or a wool scarf for my father-in-law's birthday, which I gave him on Friday. Soon the other women joined in with their projects.

My sister-in-law was really impressed with the lacy texture of the fuzzy scarf, comprised of shell stitches and v stitches. She said it was much more intricate than anything she knew how to do in knitting so far. Funny, 'cause I've always been envious of knitters. Anyway, I gained new respect for how crochet really lends itself to interesting textures. And when I finished a wool scarf in a few hours--Cascade 220 Heather #9454, a wonderful earthy purple, double-stranded, in front loop hdc stitch--everyone in the house was amazed.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Frou Frou Trouble

I've been madly crocheting the Frou Frou sweater from The Happy Hooker every evening. (Pics later.) Recklessly, I veered off the pattern after completing the back up to row 26 of the sleeves. Started the v-increase sooner than instructed for size M, figuring I'd have a collar that laid flat rather than hugged the back of my neck.

Er, the collar just got wider and wider... I dig myself deeper and start working on one half of the sweater, decreasing at the back of the neck sooner than instructed. After decreasing at the neck edge every row, I'm almost to the front. Uh, guess I'll wing the decreases for the front panels, which are supposed to end in a point.

Other projects: One fingerless glove for my sweetie, who insisted no new yarn. A fabulously cute brimmed beret in black, bordered with a shiny red, in time for Halloween.

Came home today to find a big box on my doorstep. (drum roll please) The Ultimate Sweater Machine! $30 off at, and only six bucks shipping. My dastardly plan: to save my wrists for typing my diss and still crank out homemade gifts. Visions of crochet-embellished machine-knit scarves and hats dance in my head. Is this cheating? Will my partly-machine-made gifts sparkle less because they didn't result from painstaking handiwork?

Sweetie and I are driving to Ashland, Oregon for Thanksgiving with my partner's family. Four days is a long time with in-laws, so we'll see how it goes. We'll both be working a bit. But lots of time for crochet, I hope, to shield me from my father-in-law's hairy dog stories.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Funky wrist issues (or, I love my chiropractor)

Too much crocheting and typing: my wrist started to throb last night and I got worried it was carpal tunnel syndrome. Mentioned it to my chiropractor today, Dr. Tribble in Berkeley, and he started massaging my forearm muscles on the opposite side, especially where they connect to the elbow joint. Ouch! I asked what that had to do with it.

Apparently too much tension in the upper forearm can make your wrist wonky. He's amazing with musculoskeletal dynamics, so I took his word for it and did the recommended exercises: flexing my fingers and hand outwards and backwards to counteract all that pinching and grasping. My wrist does feel much better. Also need to regularly massage my forearm to keep it from getting too tight.

Thanks, Dr. Tribble!

Monday, November 13, 2006


First of all: I gave up on the cardigan rendition of the Sweet sweater. The yarn--some abandoned TLC Lustre--looks too bulky. Or maybe I am the one who is too bulky. So I've started the Frou Frou cardigan from The Happy Hooker.

My advisors said go on Chapters 1-3. Hurray! Slow going on Chapter 4, and here I am instead of writing because someone just forwarded a somewhat garbled but inspiring letter from an a Canadian Anglican minister. It's about her experiences visiting the people's movement in Oaxaca. A selection (paragraph breaks added):

So again at midday the Chiapanecos [an indigenous tribe], who live in indigenous autonomous communities, came to the APPO [Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca] Congress, amazingly dropped off two pickup trucks of food to feed people with during the meeting, at the remaining barricades, etc. And then they, with me in tow again, headed off on a two hour procession through the streets of Oaxaca. They were still fasting, and it was hot and we walked, women on one side, men on the other, for blocks and blocks with Oaxacans clapping, and many crying to see such a sign of love.

All of the city is occupied, but especially the central square, the Zocalo. There is no civilian movement allowed there, even the cathedral's shut down. So we arrive at the permanent police line. The elders speak at length with the police and suddenly the lines are opening up, and we are squeezing through two nasty looking tanks and then along the deserted street, lined with very, very scary police in full riot gear, down to these wierd pads covering their legs and feet, all with plexiglass sheilds and faces of stone.

We go all the way to the steps of the cathedral where we engage in songs and prayers, much kneeling on stone (I'm glad I'm an Anglo-Catholic). This goes on for at least an hour, and much to my deep honour, at the end the Mayan elder asked me if I would come and say a closing prayer. So on the steps of the cathedral steps this mild-mannered Anglican priest basically stole from her All Saints Day Sermon, and prayed to our God, the God of Life who created heaven and earth, prayed for those who build God's Kingdom on earth, for the martyrs who have died for the love of God, and then reminded the grey police who ringed the ring of beautiful Mayans that they are sons of this same God, and owe Him primary allegiance. We then processed out of this circle of death, back onto the streets.
I hadn't been keeping up with the situation in Oaxaca, but the letter caught my imagination because I had a magical time in the city several years ago. It was a peaceful, friendly city (in my eyes as a tourist) with marked political ferment. There seemed to be a protest or march every other day: children demanding more funding for education, teachers demonstrating at a major intersection, and rallies against U.S. military intervention in the Middle East. Music, carnaval mixed in with all of it.

Don't know enough about events to give an analysis, and don't really want to use this blog for that purpose anyway. But if anyone is interested, here are links to pics of the uprising and federale presence in Oaxaca, an article that summarizes the origins of the conflict, and a recent article on nyc.indymedia.