Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Having Opinions, and other Societal Faux Pas

yarn, sundara yarn

We're still on old pictures here at Chez Yarn. This one is an oldie but goody from last winter. Three skeins of Sundara Sock. Yum.

So what has me blogging the day after I blogged? Timer. Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Scarlett Johansson.

Wikipedia has just informed me that Scarlett Johansson is Jewish. I knew my Jewdar was failing, but this is not the product of diaspora. I loved Scarlett in Manny & Lo when she was just a child, but I never would have guessed she was Jewish. (Technically she is only half Jewish, but it's the "important"* half, her mother's half.)

And why should it matter? Because that is what I grew up doing, the age old conversation filler of "is she/he Jewish, or isn't she/he?" I rarely think on this, because I am so culturally removed from where I grew up (Long Island), I come in contact with so few Jews, and the climate of political correctness has changed.

Malabrigo Indiecita

To tell you the truth, I am really uncomfortable talking about this. Cultural sensitivity is not my strong suit. I grew up in what I believed was an environment that embraced all religions, all races. The only bias I can recall was against the XY's, as I grew up in an all female household with a distant, divorcee father. Naming peoples visually defining characteristic (black, Asian, Jewish, Puerto Rican, etc.) without there being any sense of judgment was commonplace in that world.

But that world is gone from me now. I am uncomfortable, but fuck it. I am trying to understand my place in Jewish culture, in Jewish life. So long I was a partial, cultural Jew with spotty matrilineal Jewish heritage. If you were going to marry an educated boy, chances are he was going to be Jewish.

I left that world when I moved to Boston for College.

The mother of my last boyfriend, the man-boy I was seeing right before I met my husband, actually contacted her Rabbi to get confirmation on my Jew status. Turns out I was not Jewish. I'm so glad the Rabbi three states over cleared that up for me.

In Boston, Jews were other. I met people who didn't know any Jews. I didn't comprehend the cultural divide I existed in. Now, looking back over 20 years ago I can see I was a Jew unknowingly left among gentiles. But now that it's 23 years later, who am I now?

I think Jews I grew up with would say I am a gentile. Their clannishness is not easily forgotten. I don't feel like a gentile, but I do feel less like a Jew as the years flutter away. Yet, when I opened up my soul this past year, what I saw inside is a Jew. She is a godless Jew, but a Jew all the same...

Wow, that makes me think of that wonderful conversation between Neo and the Oracle in Matrix Reloaded. I, like Neo, have made the decision, now I just have to understand it.

*According to traditional Jewish Law, a Jew is anyone born of a Jewish mother or converted to Judaism in accord with Jewish Law. If the same child was born to a Jewish father and gentile mother, he would not be considered a Jew. Reform Judaism considers children with either patrilineal or matrilineal heritage Jews.

Monday, August 30, 2010

For those about to rock - we salute you.

Leaf on the Wind

I finished my eighth(!) Shetland Triangle this weekend. No, that picture above is not the Shetland Triangle.

I don't have any recent pictures. I'm not motivated to take pictures of anything lately, even the record number of yarn skeins I wound into cakes on Saturday. Instead of bemoaning my creative paucity, I've decided to fill in the blanks with an unblogged project from last year's deadspot.

Last spring I knit a lovely Serenity baby blanket for my husband's best friend's first child, a baby girl. Did I mention this is a free pattern? It is a free pattern, and from the charts at least, an error free, free pattern.

Leaf on the Wind

I really enjoyed knitting this project. And the reason's why are, what? What did I like about this project? Do I even know? Hmmm.

1) The lace was challenging but not fussy.

2) The occasional cabling was easy, and eye pleasing.

3) The yarn is Dream in Color's Classy, in the Chinatown Apple colorway. I took a big gamble on this yarn and it payed off. DIC Classy is a lofty, worsted weight yarn that is kettle dyed. A knitter should expect variation in each skein; there are no dye lots. If you love color with dimension, rather than a flat, single hued yarn, DIC has much to offer.

I used four of the five skeins I bought. I opened each skein, compared the tones, and numbered them. The fifth skein was the only to differ significantly in color and luckily it wasn't needed.

The superwash merino yarn, itself, is not spun as some luxury yarns are in this price range. It's a commercial spin, with a commercial worsted touch. After washing it's soft as can be air dried. I gather from Ravelry, that it's even softer if you throw it in the dryer.

Leaf on the Wind

I didn't see the record growth some raveller's have with this yarn, but that may be because this is a lace pattern and subject to significant growth to begin with.

I remember this project so fondly, that I kinda want to knit one for myself. Now's not the time though. I already have one high maintenance project on the needles, a second one would just set me up for some full time disapprobation.

I'm more content to reknit favorite patterns these days. Saturday evening I started an Ishbel with my one and only skein of Sundara's fingering merino cashmere:

Sundara FMC

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday Mornin' Quarterbackin'

Thoughts for the day...

1) I've only knit one gift this calender year, a ribbed hat for my niece Meaghan.

2) Be careful what you wish for.

I wished for a day doing nothing on the couch yesterday and that's what I received. I couldn't get out of my own way; I was molasstic inertia. The list of what I didn't do with all those voluptuous hours of freedom is long and sad and whah whah whah all the way home.

Beach Glass sundara sock

It really pisses me off when the precious hours and days of my life are squandered. What some people wouldn't give for the leisure and bounty of my small life and I don't take advantage of it. I am unable to take advantage of it.

What causes this paralysis? What makes me inert? Is it guilt or trauma or stupidity? Maybe that's why I've always been unsympathetic to the travails of Hamlet. I don't like what I see, because I see it in me.

Cruising up the Nile FSM

No matter how bitter the above tone, I am not really miserable, just exasperated with myself; a cutaneous forlorn.

On the bright side it is rainy and in the 60's.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


So I decided I'm taking tomorrow off to get some things done that went undone last weekend and the weekend before. This way, this weekend coming up I might be more apt to get motivated to work on a couple of overdue projects, instead of attempt to play catch up and whine at my failure.


Did I mention I was cranky? Well, I thought it was worth mentioning again. I always think it's worth mentioning. And this, really, is why I find being alone preferable. I wouldn't want to listen to anyone tell me they are cranky, but I have a congenital urge to share this information myself. So I blog it.

Hopefully it doesn't do any damage out there in the cyberspacial innertubes. That's a cool word, cyberspatial. Yes, I made it up just now. That's what words are for, to communicate exactly what one is thinking or feeling. If there isn't a word to do that, I say, make it up. Language is the clay of communication. Molding it is one of my life's greatest entertainments. (Fuck the cool kids. Lulz.)

So, what was I saying? Oh, yeah. I am cranky. I'm cranky and I have some lovely pets. I took a few photos of my eldest cat, Hunter, this weekend.


Poor Hunter took years to live up to his name. In his first year he was severely injured. Regardless of our brokedom, kitty got a bionic leg. What wasn't easily sewn up was his psyche. He's been a scaredy cat ever since. Living in this less dense part of Greater Boston has been good for him. He has found his inner Hunter, he goes on walks with me with the dogs. He is even getting a little used the vacuum cleaner. Now that's a big one for him.

I'm obsessed with quality mental health, even in my pets.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Portrait of a Shawl

Portrait of a Shawl

So I'm back to comfort knitting.

This is only the second skein of my Malabrigo sock stash that I have caked, but the first skein to be knit. It's a Shetland Triangle.

My seventh.

Shetland Printemps

I've started an eighth.

I was sick all weekend and I took it like a sport Monday morning. It's frustrating to have a body so heavily influenced by my brain. If it's possible to have one's hormones give one a fever, than that is what I think happened to me. And then Sunday I experienced some enervating bowel distress. Sweet baby jesus, that was fun.

This morning I was thinking of Mary Baker Eddy. In simple terms, her development of the Church of Christ Scientist may be wholly attributable to her own experiences with somatoform disorder.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mit Gegenüber, or where I get in touch with my Inner Bitter.

Beaver Creek Foliage

I was looking for some fantastic German word or phrase to encapsulate the anarchy in my mind. Mit Gegunuber are two words I put together. It may not be proper German grammar, but I make the rules on this har blog. It means, to me, "with opposite" or maybe it should mean "opposite with." Oppositional. You know they have personality disorders based around oppositionalism. I feel oppositional right this moment. Like a petulant two year old.

Gimme gimme now now.

Beaver Crick 8.8.10

Our crick has dried up. First time in the four years we've been here that it has run dry. I'm ornery, the weather's ornery, who isn't ornery? They should stay away whoever they are. I'm ready to spread the wealth on any unsuspecting passerby. Poor, poor passerbys.

Yeah, so a few weeks ago I rewatched The White Ribbon. It was a foolish mistake on my part. The critical press couldn't get out of their way on this one. I have nothing nice to say about most of the reviews I read parroting the narrators own postulation that the society presented may explain the fascism that overtook Germany during her national socialism period (1925 to 1945).

Anyone who wrote that in a review should be mocked. Says, me, of course, unqualified me. We all look back to our past and with the clear vision of hindsight apply crisp, soothing platitudes to raw, burnt memories.

I can't get my head around all my thoughts but here's a summary.

1) The little boys are coddled. They are soft and sweet and full of love and compassion, and most importantly, naivete: The doctors young son trying to grasp death, the pastors' son wanting to nurse the bird back to health, and the yeoman's son aching for the loss of his mother.

2) The pastor's oldest son is filmed glaring at the camera with the short blonde hair and hollowed out eyes reminiscent of Mia Farrow in Rosemary's baby (during the first trimester of the pregnancy where Farrow is in pain 24-7). He has been visited by his first nocturnal emission and this new biological fascination has him losing sleep.

3) Women are chess pieces. Only the rich Baroness has any pretense of autonomy. The young nanny is stopped by the school teacher. It is her day off, probably her first and last for a good week or so, and the teacher stops her. She is polite and waits for him to finish his nonsense conversation.

I can't help but wonder if she was disallowed from breaking off the conversation altogether. Did society require she give him attention as long as he sought it out? He knew she was on her way home, and yet in his attraction to her, he ignored her obvious desire to be off on her holiday, and kept her close with his flabby conversation.

Shetland Printemps


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