20 February, 2008

Color Me Psycho

So Grace emailed me today and said:

i thought of you when i read this
it's about new yorkers who only wear one color.

Like this woman above, who kinda makes me want to die. Intriguing, yes, to wear all one color. But the brain reels--do these people have some kind of massive personality disorder? Mental illness? Eccentricity due to overconsumption? Eccentricity to appear more interesting than they really are? Yep. I decide that that is it. This woman buys Chanel shoes in white and colors them with electric blue sharpies. I took a moment to look it up and this shoe:
retails for $670.00, although it's not white.

and this shoe, from designer Christian Louboutain retails for $950. Could someone really take a Sharpie to a shoe that costs more than my rent? I am reading this article mouth agape, unable to restrain myself from the annoying one color wearing people.

And then I get to this lady:
I love her. She's totally amazing. I want to be her one day. Here's an excerpt of her interview:

"Why green?
I’m from Nova Scotia, where green is in your surroundings. I missed nature when I moved to New York. I started wearing green nail polish, and it spread all over me.

When did you move here?
I hitchhiked down in 1964. I had long braided hair; I was a beatnik.

Where did you live?
We used to live on the Lower East Side. A hippie gang was on our block, and you had to know them to get down the street. They had weapons and chains. They babysat for our son.

What’s your son up to these days?
Sam is a mentalist, a magician. It’s classic mind-reading; he’ll memorize a deck of cards. He’s our one and only.

How long have you been married?
Forty-one years. Every Saturday morning, we’d say, “Maybe we’ll make it to City Hall this morning.” We missed a few because we slept late. Finally, we went and got married. We didn’t have a ring, so my husband, Robert, made one out of paper.

Do you have any grandchildren?
No, but I have a grand-puppy. My son asked me to babysit him, and I airbrushed his tail green. Sam flipped out."

And then I start thinking about how green is my favorite color and blue definitely one of my least favorite. You don't think that had something to do with it, do you?

18 February, 2008

Garter Stitch Appreciation

In 1997 I pulled out some old knitting needles (old yellow plastic ones with metal tops) and some yarn (a skein of burgundy 100% no-name acrylic) that my grandmother had given me, and taught me to knit with, when I was probably about 8 years old. Somehow I still had this yarn and these needles 10 years later, and somehow they made it with me from D.C. to Chicago, where I was going to school. I remembered how to cast on, the e-loop kiddie method, and that was about it. For a few days I just cast on stitches until the needle was completely full and then took them all back off again. There must've been over 200 sts on those 10" needles. I really packed them in. It sort of started coming back to me and one night I tried remembering how to form the stitches. I knew I was supposed to put the right hand needle into the stitch on the left hand needle and then do...something. I tried a few goofy things and then succeeded in forming some kind of...something. I ripped it out and put it back under the bed until the next night. At this point in my college career I had broken up with my alcoholic boyfriend and moved out of our amazingly cheap and large apartment in the Ukrainian Village--for you Chicago-ites it was on Oakley between Division and Augusta, 2 bedrooms for $550 a month. Yeah, that was reasonable then and now I sound old ("back when I was a kid, sonny, you could get a loaf of bread and a nudie magazine for a nickle!"). I moved into a studio above a sex toy store on Milwaukee Ave just south of Division (rent? $400). My bedroom was jammed into this little hallway that led from the big main studio room onto a roof deck. There was a little window in it so I decided it counted as a "bedroom." The kitchen was also a separate room, not just a strip with a stove in the living room, thus, to my mind, turning my studio into a real one bedroom apartment. The bedroom/hallway was probably 5x7 feet. I had a twin bed and it fit in there with no room at the head and a bit at the foot for me to keep a teetering pile of clothes. It was just wide enough for the bed and a person to squeeeze past on the way out to the roof. I loved this room. It was my very own bedroom in my very own apartment. And here I learned to knit. Sort of. I did get it one night, after many false starts where I couldn't understand why this length of yarn between the needles kept getting longer and longer as I knit off the cast on, and when I realized that I didn't need to FILL the needle with stitches and 20 or so would do fine, I produced garter stitch. And decided I MUST be doing something wrong. It didn't look like knitting at all. It was all bumpy and wavy and even with the holes in it it was just all wrong and didn't look anything like my sweaters, which I knew were knit. Screw it. I gave up for another few months or so. I picked it up again a while later after getting a Reader's Digest how to knit book from a thrift store.
I learned to knit and purl and use double pointed needles and all sorts of things from this amazing book. I learned to create beautiful smooth and lovely perfect stockinette stitch and decided that garter stitch was horrible and ugly and useless and a total waste of knitting. Until now.
A simple shawl, all in garter stitch with a little picot edge. It couldn't be simpler. I am totally obsessed with it, even it's little imperfections. If you look very closely at the left side in the photograph I ran out of yarn about 15 stitches before casting off and used a bit of Scottish Tweed 4 ply in the color Sunset to finish up. It's a nice contrast will the blue-y gray of the main color, which is Jamieson's DK in the color Eucalyptus from the dawn of time area of the stash. I love it. It is simple and I didn't need to pay ANY attention, except every 3rd and 4th row I made a little picot. Check the website (hopefully!) later this week and I'll add it, nicely formatted, to the "free patterns" section. This pattern is so mindless it deserves to be shared.

09 February, 2008

Learning to use the new computer

I bought a new computer for my birthday.  We vacillated between getting another mac (which I wanted) and a pc (which Max wanted).  Now, Max had very good reasons for wanting a pc.  He is in school and he would never have to worry about things not being formatted right.  His disks for his board study guides would always be compatible.  He could do all sorts of useful lifey things. But it was my birthday and I like macs and so I won.  Sometimes I am such a jerk.  
So I have a new computer and I love it.  It is fast and can hold millions of pictures and other useless things.  It can't, however, read the photoshop disk that we have.  I have Adobe Creative Suite on the old computer from a job I had years ago, and alas, not the disks.  So I have been experimenting with having the two laptops side by side and constantly moving my thumb drive between them.  I am sure there is a better way but I am not that technologically savvy.  I did manage to upload a new pattern to ravelry today using that system and I will include the link here too.  I can't get it up on my website because all the guts of the site are on the computer at work.  That's a project for another day.  
The pattern is super simple and I am kinda proud of myself for writing it and getting it online even if it is super simple.  It does take a bit of getting used to how long it takes to get even the simple things done.  It took me six hours to get this sucker up on Ravelry today.  Granted, I was interrupted from my task quite a bit to nurse the babe and eat food (I've never been so hungry in my life!) and play with the baby.  He is starting to get older and it is sort of a shock to (what I thought was) my routine to have him be awake for longer periods of time and need things like entertainment.  A week or so ago it was just sleep, nurse, change diaper, sleep, nurse, change diaper.  Now it's pay attention to me, hold me, play with me, nurse, sleep, change diaper, nurse.  It takes a bit of getting used to--and if what I think is true is in fact true then once I get used to this routine something else will happen.  He'll start moving around on his own or something crazy like that.