Monday, March 31 / 11:49 PM

Job interview today.
Reminds me of my job two summers ago, as a historical interpreter at a fairly low-traffic tourist site. Read 47 books while on the job that summer; asked the girl who'd worked there the year before me what she'd done to pass the time, and she replied that she'd knit a couple of afghans. I was appalled, figuring that would be more boring than just sitting there.
Now I regret all the wasted knitting time!
Although I did read a lot of interesting stuff, notably The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell, which I highly recommend. Another memorable moment was reading Death of a Salesman with tears streaming down my face. Fortunately, it was a rainy Monday so no one interrupted me. However, by the end of the summer, I couldn't concentrate on anything except P.G. Wodehouse, and I was going through those like candy.

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Sunday, March 30 / 9:42 AM

Knitting is sexy, if you do it in your underwear
At the risk of seeming to fall into the category of knitting-because-it's-cool-now-that-insert-celebrity-here does it, I'd just like to point out that I chose the photo of Goldie Hawn for my background because it makes knitting look sexy. A lot more sexy than this:

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Saturday, March 29 / 2:21 PM

Favourite Knits, Part 2

I don't usually like Patons patterns, but this one really caught my eye. It called for Shetland Chunky, which is 75% acrylic. I didn't really like it because it's fairly scratchy and rough, so I substituted Red Heart Chunky, which works up to exactly the same gauge, and I made it in red. It was really cheap but it doesn't look really cheap, and I've received lots of compliments. I keep wanting to be a fibre snob, but hey -- this one goes in the washing machine! I knit it in about a month and a half, and then waited another month and a half to finish it, but I'm getting less and less intimidated by sewing seams and weaving in ends. I'd like to make another similar sweater, but in a cardigan, so I could wear it over other stuff as a jacket. There's one I really like in the Debbie Bliss Cotton Knits for All Seasons book. I hear zippers are hard to do, though.

Also, I started knitting a small teddy bear from Teddy Bears, and I am unimpressed with the finishing instructions. "Sew head to body." Well how do I sew a round head to a round body? And where? The bear is wearing a turtleneck sweater in the only picture (I see Maggie Righetti's point!); there are no diagrams.... I'm just going to have to improvise.

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Friday, March 28 / 4:40 AM

Cool knitting stuff
Headed off to the public library today on my brand-spanking new rollerblades (soo much fun, I've been rollerblading every day since the weather got nice) and picked up the following:bear

  • Knitting from Start to Finishing, a how-to video I'm going to show at Knit Wits, my college's knitting club, next week,

  • No Idle Hands: A Social History of American Knitting, by Anne L. Macdonald. I happened to see it randomly on the shelf. It's a pretty hefty book, and I don't really have time, what with all my school reading, but I'm going to read it anyway. It's 'specially interesting for me 'cause I'm a History specialist. I'll post the verdict on the historiography once I've read it.

  • Teddy Bears, by Debbie Bliss. I love her designs, and these teddy bears are too cool for words. There's even a rugby bear! But my favourite is the aviator bear, complete with goggles, scarf, and faux shearling jacket.

This should be sufficient to increase my procrastination stretch well into next week. Why write essays on Quebec historians and 20th-century Baltic history when I could be knitting? Or reading about knitting? Or blogging about knitting? Ha!

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/ 2:11 AM

Favourite Knits, Part 1
I don't really have any projects on the go right now besides a pair of blue socks on 2mm DPNS, and they've sort of stalled. So for the next few days I'm going to present my favourite things I've knitted, and then maybe I'll get into favourites I'd like to knit.

My absolute favourite thing so far is the Chrissie cardigan from Rowan's Big Wool. I'd wanted to make it for ages and ages, but at $22/ball here in Toronto, it wasn't really an option. I knew Ebay would come through eventually, so I was patient and ended up rewarded with 10 balls of Big Wool in my colour of choice for about half the price I would've paid here. It was ridiculously easy to knit and sewing the seams was so easy! For those of you who've had problems with mattress stitch, I suggest trying it out on super giant yarn - the stitches are so big it's almost imposible to screw up. I didn't make the belt, because the fabric is so thick that trying to cinch it in at the waist would only succeed in creating more bulk. But it fits perfectly, and is just waiting for super-gigantic-buttons that will fit the super-gigantic-buttonholes. Anybody have any suggestions?

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Thursday, March 27 / 3:09 AM

I swore I wasn't going to start a knitting blog, but this article prompted me to get on my soapbox, and I decided that instead of cluttering up others' comment boxes and mailing lists, I should do it on my own turf. So here is my own turf, and here is my response:

Dear Ms. Jameson,

I am a 21-year old University student living on my own in the big city. I hate hype, and I refuse to do anything just because everybody else is doing it. I also barely passed home ec. I'd rather pay someone to sew a button on for me than do it myself, and I'm on a student budget! My sport of choice is rugby, and because my college doesn't have a women's team (or enough female players to start a league), I play with the men. Yep, full-contact, co-ed rugby [I see your "I shoot hoops" and raise you ten --ed.]. I'm also passionate about gender issues: I love my small, traditional college but I hate its gender-segregated student government, and am doing my best to change
attitudes. I'm the one who always has to be the tough guy, and the one who will go find pliers to open a jar instead of finding a man. I wouldn't bother telling you this, but you seem to think that personality is an important factor if one is to have an opinion on this issue.

I have been knitting for over a year now. I taught myself to knit, just to prove I could, after someone suggested otherwise. I intended to knit one scarf, and never touch the needles again, but... I liked it! Knitting is _fun_. I'm not going to tout its meditational virtues or tell you that by pursuing an ancient craft I'm connecting with women
throughout time.... that's all BS. I enjoy it; it gives me the same pleasure as writing a good essay or making a sweet tackle. Knitting may supposedly be a huge trend, but around here, it's a trend I started. Everybody I know was shocked to see me knitting, exclaiming they didn't think I was 'the type.' Well, I'm all about breaking down stereotypes, but you seem to be trying to enforce them. Now I've started a knitting club at school, and its members (both male and female) met to knit and talk about current events. There's no reason we can't watch the news on TV and do something useful and productive with our hands at the same time.

Knitting and feminism are not mutually exclusive. Telling women they can't do something is oppresive. You're espousing an outmoded brand of feminism; one that requires a complete abandonment of all things feminine. I suggest you do some reading, because times have changed. The whole point is to remove value judgements like 'masculine' and 'feminine' from everyday activities. We should all have the freedom to do whatever we want, say whatever we want, knit whatever we want.

I hope you realize this article is not in reply to your criticism of knitting - I myself can't stand basketball, but realize that people have different tastes. I take issue of the stereotypes you enforce, both about women, and about knitting. Your article seems to be based more on other ill-informed newspaper articles I've read about knitting than
about conversations with actual knitters. Your newspaper is widely read, so please: next time you sit down to write an article about gender issues, please think carefully about whether you are advancing the cause of women or simply furthering negative stereotypes.

Yours, etc.

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