March 2009 Archives

A Class for Spinning


My legendary lack of eye-hand coordination had been getting the better of me in my attempts to learn to use a drop spindle (and in fact, I was starting to refer to mine as a "throw spindle" because of the way in which I managed to lose control and throw the thing across the room while trying to get it spinning), so I signed up for a class.

Today we had our first of two sessions at A Verb for Keeping Warm in Berkeley (my first visit to an ActiveSpace business; it was an interesting location). And here's my first bit of spun yarn:

Spindle of yarn

The thing that helped me the most was learning a different way of drafting the fiber; I had been trying to do this thing where you inch your hands up the fiber while the spindle spins, and it just required me to keep track of too many things. Kristine showed us how to spin from the fold which just sort of worked right for me, with only a few bad moments (overspinning to the point of breaking the yarn, and once just getting disoriented and unspinning instead of spinning so the yarn fluffed apart).

Spinning from the fold produces a woolen yarn (light and lofty, with a tendency to pill and develop an aura), whereas I was trying to make a worsted yarn (smooth, tight, more durable). I'm being calm and letting my inner perfectionist shut up about how little I like knitting woolen yarns (which isn't true; I just don't like dealing with woolen yarns in a finished garment).

We have another session next week, before which I have to spin up two more wads of yarn about this size and wind them into balls. I'm actually looking forward to it.

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School Will Make You Gay


Here's something crazy. Our local school district is working on a curriculum addition about gay families. Kind of a no-brainer around here, where kids have to deal with other kids from all kinds of family situations.

A group of "concerned parents"* is objecting to teaching children to be tolerant of others because "It appears to be advocacy for homosexual causes that goes beyond the mission of providing safe schools"

If you're straight, what would it take to convince you to go gay? And if somebody simply telling you to be polite to your classmates who are gay or have gay parents would do it, what on earth made you think you were straight in the first place? I keep seeing this objection, and it never makes any sense. The idea that advertising might convince somebody who was otherwise biologically oriented to the opposite sex that they might want to try being gay (and that they would like it!) is baffling to me. And if the only thing keeping you from switching teams is not knowing the definition of "lesbian" or that gay families exist, you might as well just break out the hot pants and rainbow flag right now.

Even weirder, the group suggests that the only reason to protect gay children from harassment at school is if they are the only ones who ever get bullied: "There are no statistics indicating that only children with issues related to homosexuality in their lives are at risk of bullying in elementary school." As if it's OK for them to be bullied and harassed because at least kids who are geeky or handicapped get bullied along with them, right?

Now, I'm not sure how much of a difference a curriculum like this will make in bullying. But I can tell you that every kid growing up in the US right now needs to learn to be nice to kids who aren't like them and not use rude words. This is not about safety, it's about job skills. If you can't play nicely with others, and you rely on a series of uninformed stereotypes about other people, you will find it harder and harder to get far in this world unless you have very wealthy and powerful parents (which you do not have if you are going to the public schools in Alameda).

Also, it would be a kindness to explain terms to any kid who got to fourth grade without knowing what "dyke" and "fag" mean. Are there any kids that age who don't know? All the kids that age on my block know what they mean and that they are derogatory, and this curriculum hasn't been implemented yet.

* I find it hard to actually credit this as coming from real concerned parents because the member list is suspiciously empty, and the only name given is "Concerned Parent." What are they afraid of? There's no evidence that only anti-gay activists are at risk of harassment when they air their views.

Cable-Down Raglan: Done

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I finished the Cable-Down Raglan today. Here it is prior to blocking, also before I wove in the cast-off edges and did the underarm seams:

Finished Cable-Down Raglan

This sweater has too much room in the upper body. BUT! It is cotton/alpaca, which means that while blocking I was about to stretch it lengthwise and remove some of the poochiness above the bust. It came out OK. I still think I would make a smaller size and just add width to the bust with short rows if I were doing it over.

And for those who like to see it on a person, here you go, just moments after removing it from the blocking pad:

What's wrong with the camera?

Yes, I set up the auto-picture on the camera and just at the moment when I was wondering why it was not snapping the stupid picture already, and had started reaching out to check, it took the photo. Since this is the only photo where you can actually see the sweater in any detail, this is the one you get.

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Cable-Down Raglan: The Corrections


I've taken to privately calling this sweater many impolite names, though of course it is I who deserve the names, because I am the one who keeps losing my place in the cables and messing up.

Last night I noticed this:

Leaning left cable

The minor cable there to the left has started to creep towards the diamond cable, a mistake that happened right at the funky crossing at the top of the second diamond from the bottom. I dropped the stitches down to there and painstakingly reknit the cable the right way. Twice, actually, because the first time I made a minor but irritating mistake at the very bottom of the cable and could not go on until I had fixed it.

Then, as I was looking at my fix for the first cable, I noticed this:

Too-small right cable

Yeah, so. One diamond is too small (they're all supposed to be the same size). Luckily this didn't require quite so much reknitting.

Even so, I've made decent progress (given how little time I've been spending knitting). I've got one and half diamond pattern repeats to the end of the sleeve.

Alll corrected and almost done

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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