Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Not much going on—so not much to write about. But eventually, (now) the small bits and pieces add up.
A new denim skirt completed—a good match to the denim vest. Not a perfect match—but that the good thing about denim—it doesn't have to be. This vest was last seen back in the beginning of April—when it was still under construction. Since then, its been finished—and had stud buttons nailed on—a nice touch for a denim vest, I think--and worn.
The skirt will go well with other other vests (especially, I think the red one)--It's nothing special 6 gores and little bit of kick at the hem; elastic waist—and some top stitching. It could have been done in a day or two if had just stuck with it. But it's done now. (I need to focus on the good!)
While there was blue thread in the machine, I finished up some mending (for friend) and for myself—a pair of jeans--currently the only pair of jeans that fit..(all of the others are way to big!) got a new zipper put in. It's a real chore to replace a zipper in jeans. I am not sure why I went to the effort. I don't wear jeans much—never did. As a teen I like cord's better. And that's been pretty consistent for most of my life. It's not that I haven't owned (and worn) jeans occasionally---it's just more often when I wear denim its skirts or dresses of some sort. And when I did wear pants, they were more likely to be tailored trousers, or twills (ie, colored jeans, which are now once again in style) Still it's nice to have a pair of jeans that fit.
I've got a little knitting done... First—I got the buttons sewn on the lacy blue sweater vest (—so now its really finished. A bit done on my socks (languishing since forever... I started them in January and they still aren't half done!) and started a new sweater like thing-- but I am not loving it.. I have to decide if I am going to finish it.. or frog it. Every time I look at it, I think, more and more—FROG IT.
Mostly, I have been reading. I love my NOOK, and have filled it with books—it's amazing how many ebooks one can buy for $50—I have one or two pieces of fiction--(well semi fiction) Stories based on historic characters—presented in fictional vs historical style. The rest has been non fiction. A little history (real history) a little science –some biology, some ecology, some just about nature. Most are a few years old—and have been—for want of a better word—remaindered--a few were under a dollar, the bulk of them under $3.
I haven't read everything I bought yet—so there will be more days and evening filled with reading and not with knitting to come.
There is more sewing to come too.
And that's about it!
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
I don't often make one..
It started here—with this story.. It continued when Ramona JoyCarmelly linked to that story (see her face book page and scoll down to the Prom dress controversy (at this posting (blog) the face book post is over 6 hours old)which started a lively (but reasoned) discussion.
It continued (scoll back up) to posting by Marty Coleman—or jump here
Which prompted me to write this..(if you just read what I have written here--you are sort of coming in at the middle.. At least read the story that started it all.)
Prom—short for promenade (a noun: A formal dance; a ball; A march of all the guests at the opening of a ball.
Until recently—a dance for HS or College graduates.
The “prom” in the article? For middle school students (8th graders). 13 years olds.
What is appropriate for 13/14 year old GIRLS? (or boys, for that matter?)
Girls is not a word I use lightly—13/14 year old girls are at the edge of puberty.
Girls (and boys) on the edge of puberty are at a difficult age. They are beginning to take on sexual traits--(enlarge breasts, wider hips, narrow waist for girls, as well as menstruation) and similar/different physical characteristics for boys ( broad shoulder, muscles, and fully functioning sexual organs) But—our society (and many others) realize that in spite of their physical ability to be fully functioning sexual beings, they are not emotionally or psychologically ready to function as adults.
For just this reason, 13/14 olds are not considered to be mature enough to drive a car, or live on their own, to sign a contract, or (in most states) old enough to give consent—to either non marital (or marital!) sex. This is true in civil law and in many religious canons. (The RC church is not alone to considers 16 years old to be the age of consent for a girl).
Yes, I realize many 13 and 14 year old girls are engaging is sex--(another topic!)
But legally and traditionally, they have been considered to young to do so. (And we tend to judge those societies were girls are married off as pubescent—as cruel and abusive of girls and women)
Is this old fashioned thinking? Are 13/14 year old girls to be treated differently than 16, or 17, or 18 year old young women?
Certain new science shows that the teen years (from about ages 12 to 20) involve a huge amount of brain grown—that young teens (of both sexes) are physically incapable of thinking (and acting) the same as older teens (and that 21 as an age of majority has some real grounding in science!)
Yet, here we are—reasonable (am I wrong to think those engaged in this discussion are reasonable?) are arguing for the right of pubescent girls to dress up and display their bodies as if they were adults and to do so in a very explicitly sexual way.
HUMANS, like all animals, have instincts. Unlike most animals, we also have reason. There are instincts that are part of sexual arousal. REASON keeps us from acting purely from instinct.
Instinctualy, humans (both men and woman) see symmetry as beautiful (symmetry is only skin deep—but it is a clear indication of good physical health—and signals potential for being capable of bearing healthy children)
Instinctualy, humans see broad hips (in the context of a narrow waist) as an other clear indication of good physically health (and a signal for being capbabile of bearing healthy children.)
Instictualy, clear skin is another measure of good health--(ask any one with acne!)
When aroused, both men and woman exhibit some classic responses.
The lips (on the face and the “lip's” of woman's genitals get red--and slightly swollen)
For men, it is the lips and the penis--and for a man's penis, it goes from slightly to very swollen--very fast!)
Like wise, the pupil of the human eye dilates—which make the eyes look bigger and darker.
So lets look again at the 'prom' dresses/girls attire. Narrow bodices (tightly fitted at least) –that accentuate (or create the illusion of) full hips.. Lots of exposed skin. The girls will also likely be wearing make up.. mascara, eye shadow, and perhaps eye liner—to make there eyes look bigger and darker (as they might be when aroused), lipstick, too, to darken, and accentuate the lips (making them look bigger)-- High heels complete the outfit—and these change her posture—and thrust her hip forward (in to a sexual position)
Combined, the effect are a collection of visual signals of sexual arousal and availability.
It this appropriate for 13/14 year old girls? Do we really want them promenading about announcing their sexual arousal and availability?(at a dance? At any time?)
WE denounce societies that treat 13 and 14 years girls as ready for marriage—but we seem to be willing to fight to the death to allow our 13 and 14 year old girls to project themselves as sexually mature and aroused. More mature than they really are.
Part of rape culture is an attitude that men and boys can't be REASONABLE—and can only act on instinct—an argument I reject. Men and boys are HUMAN, and as humans, can act responsibly and reasonably (if if they do at times have an instictually response to certain stimuli)--and I believe most men do--Boys? well its harder for teens to make reasoned decisions--see that thing about their brains not being fully functional!-- but still, I think most boys do.
But another part of rape culture is an attitude the woman are MOST valuable as sex object available for pleasuring men. (And secondarily, as thing to gestate children.)
Unfortunately, we all (men and women alike) often buy into this. WE CHOSE to wear high heels that thrust our hips forward (and arc our bodies into an upright sexual postion!) WE Chose to wear clothing that reveals lots of skin (and shows how healthy we are for breading!) We redden our lips, and darken our eyes—and emulate sexual arousal. We act as if our only value was our physical appearance, our sexual body and ability to get pregnant. Woman buy into the idea that being beautiful (and sexy) is vital. Not all women, but many, many women.
WE start training girls at a young age (see Toddlers and Tiaras) to the idea that they should measure their value by their looks—and that the that best way to looks is ready for sex—to the point of looking sexual aroused all of the time.
Media, (TV, movies, magazines) re-enforces the message. We pay lip service to the value of education, sports and other aspects of our humanity.
No, the girls don't (shouldn't!) wear burka or cloth sacks to the dance (and yes, it should be a dance, not a prom). The girls should dress like girls. Not like sexual aroused and ready to go sex objects.
Yes, the boys should be taught to respect girls and woman (and not to act like animals and use animal instincts as an excuse—because instinctual urges are not an excuse.)
Yes, we need to change the culture of our society—we need to change how men view woman.. but we also need to change how we woman view women. Yes, we are sexual beings. Yes, we should be in control of our bodies, our thoughts and our actions.
And we need to be in control of our children, too. We need to protect them from them selves at times. We recognize that our 13 and 14 year children are not of an age to sign a contract, or to drive a car, or to drink alcohol. We also need to recognize that they are not ready to consent to or engage in most sexual behavior. And we need to stop thinking is OK for them to dress and act in ways that present the message that the most valuable part of them, is their sexual nature. We need to step up and change the culture. Not just as it present the world to boys and men, but how it presents girls and woman. If we see our selves and value our selves most as sexual object--how can we expect men to do differently? Rape culture exist not just because of men, but because of women, too.
There are pressures on boys, too, in our society--and these are just as real, (very different, but there!) and these too need to be addressed. (but that's another essay!).
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
The real yesterday, and the allegorical one. Yesterday—the real one—was Earth Day, and I spent most of it with my daughter at a Earth Day celebration at St John's University (the Queens one—for you sports fans, the RED MEN one.)
Curiously, I have lived in Queens more than 30 years, and this was just my second time on this campus--(the first was for my son's HS graduation. His graduating class was too large for the his HS auditorium—forget about the class plus parents and family.)
The Earth Day fest was small—but it was pleasant doing something for Earth Day—and spending time with my daughter. She was there promoting her local CSA—Many of the kids were interested--but not really candidates—since they didn't live locally. Some of the staff was more interested—and more likely to join a CSA.
The weather was –well spring like. Most of the day was sunny and moderated the cool air--(the high for day was just 53°--(11C))--which wasn't really uncomfortable cool (even when standing and sitting around most of the day)—but it was breezy—and gusts of wind knocked over many of the displays—and when the sun was behind the clouds and the wind gusted--the cold cut through warm clothing leaving us chilled –A special thanks to Coffeed—fresh brewed cups of coffee were a treat--and warming.
I was around –and participated in the first earth day, too. I haven't always done something for earth day over the past 40 something years—but I have for many of them.
I brought knitting with me, and got a cast on done—more yarn from the same garage sale as the last yarn--(now a buttonless sweater vest)--11 skeins of thick and thin wool and mohair blend (that is a guess—based on how it looks and feels—since I don't have any labels for this yarn.) Not very soft, --and interesting. A catch word for I sort of like it.. but I am not sure. I like the colors—but I am unsure of the texture, (how it is spun) and unsure of the softness (or rather the lack there of) and unsure of the quanity—Well I know I have 11 skeins—but I don't know how many yards that is—or how far that unknown yardage will go towards making a sweater. I am starting top down.. and we'll see how far I get. Enough I think for short sleeved sweater.. maybe enough for half sleeve—or maybe not. The first skein didn't seem to get that far—just a few inches—but its hard to figure with a top down sweater and every round increasing.
It's all ready too big (too many stitches on the needle) to stretch out and see how it really looks. Plain--just stocking knit. A busy yarn like this doesn't need any stitch pattern. It will be a fast project too--this bulky wool + size 13 needles means it won't take long at all to knit. (After this something fine I think Maybe another top of sock weight yarn and size 3 needles.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
But—getting closer! Last night I finished off the back--and had less than a yard of yarn left in the full skein I used for working the back.
There is still quite a bit of yarn on the other two partial skeins—and only a few yards will be needed to knit the garter band for the back neck facing. The remains? Trim I guess on something (some lace trim on a pair of white (or solid blue?) arm warmers? Or some trim on a hat? Or both? Or something else? Well nothing I am thinking of right now.
So here it is, garter bands till to be knit, but shoulders grafted and ends woven in.
Finished-- it is a few inches longer than the spice vest—but it's also an inch or so short of the ideal length. I love the results anyway. The yarn—almost all partial skeins was $3 at a garage sale—and the results? Easily worth 10 times that—if this were machine made. Hand made? 100 times increase in value!
Already it is a match for several items in my wardrobe--but it will be pretty paired with a navy skirt (still to come) or a grey one.
Friday, April 19, 2013
While the skeins get more and more anemic. I try not to look at them, or to worry. I got many more rows (earlier in the knitting) than I thought possible for anemic skeins, and now each row is so much shorter. I am hoping that all my angst is for naught.
The front sections, original had 65 stitches—they each lost 5 to the armhole (the back lost 5 too), The front V neck saw 15 stitches whittled away over many rows —and is now just 45 stitches. 3 more single stitch decreases to go-- as the 3 purl stitch “ditch” between the lace columns become 2 stitch ditches. This will make the shoulder a bit narrower—since I have narrow shoulders. Not very narrow (my shoulder or the vest!)--but the small decrease will make the shoulder area less stretchy—and looking narrower.
The back hasn't changed much... originally 120 stitches, is now 110 stitches. But big changes are coming soon. Since the front bands (5 garter stitches/1 inch) will be continue (after the front shoulders are put on stitch holders. These bands will added to the back neck, so I will need to start the neck line early—but not too early—plus I want the back of the vest longer than the front. I think 2 extra rows rows are enough to make the back just a little longer than the front. Adding two extra rows when knitting flat is piece of cake.
I want the back neck to be slightly lowered--(about ½ inch or so below a normal neck line ) and since the band adds about 1 inch—I need to begin the neck shaping at about inch 8.5 (or so) of the armholes. Maybe latter, if I think I have enough yarn. There will also be some “AT THE SAME TIME” shaping of the back neck and the shoulder—All lot of things will be going on at once! Fortunately, the front neck shaping is complete—from this point the V neck is going to have a straight edge. The decreases in the ribbing will effect the shape of the neck edge is a subtle way.
I had reserved a full skein for the back, and 2 partial ones for the front. Enough I thought—but now, as the skeins become see through—I worry that I underestimated.
This is the exciting (scary!) part of knitting with left overs (and in this case, OTHERS left overs) the question is: Will I have enough? The yarn (all of the yarn in this project) was $3—the cost of yarn is not the issue. The issue is—will I have enough? Do I have enough yarn to add another 2 inches (at least!) to the armholes? Will I have enough to complete the garter band? Will my fear cause me to come to an end too soon? Nothing worse than shortchanging a sweater or a vest (for fear of running out of yarn) and then finding yards and yards of left over yarn (and skimpy sweater).
It would be a shame to have put in the effort—and not have a well fitting FO. Will I have enough yarn? Or will there be a short fall? Tune in tomorrow to see!
Thursday, April 18, 2013
And then some more—now the armhole is at 4.5 inches deep –not quite half way. 9 inches is about the minimum depth—and unless I am in serious danger of running out of yarn—I will make the arm hole deeper. Not much (10 inches?) but a bit.
The V neck shaping continues. So for the front at least, every couple of rows there are fewer and fewer stitches.—which makes guestimating how much yarn I have left harder. The back is still pretty plain (that is just the same stitch pattern; no decreases or shaping—I am counting on the slight rib of the pattern to make the most of the shaping—But I do plan a bit more shaping at the top—the 3 stitch purl “ditch” between each column of lace will be reduced to 2 stitches in the last inch or so of the shoulder area.
The garter button band will be continued round the back. This is the trickiest part. Decreasing early enough to make a big deep (deep and wide) back neck.
Sewing is reductive (cut X, allowing 5/8th of inch seam allowance) and the final edge is reduced (a high neck becomes lower) But knitting is the opposite. I need to make the neck line deeper and wider than I want it, and then ADD on an inch or so of banding, making the neckline higher and smaller.
I have the shoulder seams to think about, too. I think I might bind off the back, and (half) graft the front edge to the back. The lacy columns won't quite line up—the stitch pattern is P2/K7(lace)/P1—If I keep the counts even—a must for grafting—the patterns won't line up the front will be P2/K7/P1, and it will folded onto the back (which will be P1/K7/P2—in effect.)--Which is why I am thinking about the decrease in the Purls—a pattern of P1/K7/P1 will match up better.
But I think I need one bound off edge to help support the knitting.
So I am off to get my daily inch (at least) of knitting done—Who knows maybe even 2 inches. The idea is to finish this project!
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
All 700+ pages of it.
I piggy backed on a friends order (KnitPicks)--she had a big enough order for free shipping and I got free shipping, too.
And now I have the UR of all knitting books. Last night I turned the pages, and looked here and there at a detail or two. There is a lot of information here. I know most of it.. but there are still ideas that are new to me. Stitches and details that make small differences-some detail that I KNEW (but had never thought about or analyzed, and really understood.
There are (I think—but it was late, (11 PM before I really got to read) some cast one variations (like yet more variations of basic long tail) that are new to me. And some new bind offs, too. (and maybe as a result, another matching pair of Cast on /Bind off. But cast ons and bind offs are just two of many many chapters.
I know this book will help get my creative juices flowing.. with new uses for techniques—both new and old.
Meanwhile-- since yesterday the armhole (newly made) has grown to be 3 inches deep (or about 1/3rd completed. If I am able to keep up this rate (hardly a cut throat pace) I should have the vest complete by the end of the week.
I don't plan to rush--and I reading --both the tome and other books will cut into knitting time. But I do want to have a FO--its seems like ages since I have finished anything!