Archive | April, 2004

Have they no sense of decency?

21 Apr

This, from a recent article on John Kerry’s Vietnam service:

“[Kerry] frequently exhibited a high sense of imagination and judgment in planning operations against the enemy in the Mekong Delta,” wrote Lt. Cmdr. George Elliott, Kerry’s commanding officer. “Involved in several enemy initiated fire fights, including an ambush during the Christmas truce, he effectively suppressed enemy fire and is unofficially credited with 20 enemy killed in action.”

And the Republicans have the gall to say that Kerry might not have been wounded severely enough to warrant his return Stateside before the end of his SECOND tour of duty? Meanwhile, the Commander in Chief of the armed forces may or may not have been in the reserve in Alabama for a year. And Heart-Attack Jones, i.e. Dick Cheney, was probably on his fourth bypass by the time he reached draft age.

Poor Max Cleland, who lost either two or three limbs in Vietnam, was ousted out of Congress, the victim of a cruel Republican “push poll.” (Basically, voters got calls asking them, “If you heard that Max Cleland did [insert egregious lie here], would you still vote for him?”) As was POW Sen. John McCain (that push poll, sponsored by Bush supporters, alleged that he was the parent to an illegitimate mixed race child. Of course, they only used it in the South). Are the Republicans going to treat the Iraq and Afghanistan war vets like this?

Have they no decency? Have they no sense of decency?

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Paring Down

19 Apr

Well, I didn’t make much of a dent in my projects pile this weekend, but I did do some crucial prep work. I got rid of a bunch of my fabric stash, organized the rest, and prewashed all the fabric I’m thinking of using in the near future. I also finally went to Imagiknit and got another skein of Splash to finish my Eve shawl (I even found a great pink and black dress at Ambiance to wear to all my weddings this year–if I use pink ribbon for Eve, it’ll be a great match!). Now I just need my #17 needles back…

Then I started on a much delayed project, my Mom’s Christmas present from this past Christmas: Martha Stewart’s Embossed Velvet Leaf Wreath. Unfortunately, Martha has taken down the photos from her site, but I’ll post some when I finish it.

I started cutting out, interfacing, and embossing the velvet leaves. I even attached stems and have nine almost-finished leaves (out of 85, but still, it’s a start). I’m hoping to finish it by her birthday, May 27. But then again, it is a fall wreath, so it won’t be very timely no matter what. I’m using cotton velvet (in yellow, green, brown, and two other colors to be determined) for my Mom’s wreath and then either silk or rayon velvet (in reds) to make one for myself. Since the two places my Mom hangs wreaths are on their front door, which is dark brown, and above the fireplace, on a brick wall, I thought the yellow would be a better choice. The cotton velvet is taking the embossing pretty well, much better than I feared. I may try a few leaves of the other velvet tomorrow just to compare.

I posted a list of all my various projects to keep me honest and, more importantly, focused.

One More Time, With Feeling

15 Apr

I’m starting to work on Nakiska again, but this time, I’m actually doing a gauge swatch first, which I never do. It never occurred to me that there could be a psychological benefit to making a swatch in addition to the technical side of it. Working on this, in a simple, confidence-boosting stockinette stitch, is helping me become comfortable with the yarn and needles. I’m hoping that when I start working on the real piece, that gradually increasing feeling of comfort in my fingers will translate.

Knitting the swatch is also helping me remember how much I love the color and the feel of the yarn and helping me look forward to wearing it for spring skiing 2005. I think I might be turning my bad Nakiska luck around.

The Curse of Nakiska

14 Apr

What a–um, challenging (read: pain in the butt) project this is turning out to be! It’s probably a bit beyond my abilities at this point, but I’m not quite ready to admit that. After my k1 p1 ribbing problem and losing my place in the pattern stitch, I decided to cast on again. It was much easier (and I didn’t get so bored casting on 90 stitches), and I charged right ahead and knitted up the first three rows in a nice-looking seed stitch at lunch one day. Figuring that was enough for the moment, I stuck my needles in my ball of yarn and put it in my bag. Last night, wanting to get back to some relaxing, crafty things after wrapping up the latest segment in my freelance work, I pulled it out of my knitting bag and realized that about 15 stitches had slid off the needles. I didn’t trust my ability to not drop any stitches while trying to get the stitches back on the needle, so I ripped it all out (again) and cast back on. After all, I had no problem doing the seed stitch last time, right? After two-and-a-half rows of “seed stitch,” I realized I was back to square one–k1 p1 ribbing. Rip out, put away.

I think I gave the yarn some bad feng shui with all the cursing I did when I unknotted it that first night.

I’m switching to sewing for a bit. I hope to make a skirt this weekend out of some new fabric I picked up at Pumpkin Seed. I’m heading to Beverly’s now to pick up the thread and a zipper.

Lunchtime Endeavors

10 Apr

I’ve been struggling lately with reconciling my two favorite lunchtime activities: knitting and walking. Since it’s impossible to do both at the same time, and the town where I work is woefully devoid of park benches (or even public parks within walking distance), I went for a stroll on Friday in a different directin from my usual way to see if I could find someplace to walk to and knit without having to buy a cup of coffee. I walked past this old, abandoned hall with old Roman-style columns–Barbara described it as a rotunda. Then up into a residential neighborhood, past a turquoise and white house with a turquoise and white car parked in front, an abandoned-looking house with a paved-over yard covered in a well-maintained container garden, and some beautiful old houses from the ’30s or ’40s (and one gorgeous, huge Victorian that loomed above the neighborhood on a hill). But no park bench. Oh well. I found one of the great-smelling flowers on the bush down the street from my office on the ground and brought it back to the office. Derk identified it as a star jasmine. The scent filled my little cube for the rest of the afternoon. It’s strange how, when you’re looking for something, you often don’t find it, but if you keep yourself open, you can discover so much more.

Felt Flowers

9 Apr

This (courtesy of Action-Hero and Primp) makes me want to learn how to needle felt. Focus, Nicole. Focus.

Nakiska Troubles

6 Apr

So I cast on (finally) with my little ball of yarn last week at lunch and, after knitting the first two rows, realized I could make things much easier on myself by casting on more loosely. For some reason, casting on loosely is against my knitting nature so far. I recast on, knitted the first three rows in seed stitch, and realized that I was actually doing a knit 1 purl 1 ribbing. Figuring that was okay, I did the first row of the first pattern stitch and ended up with about 6 extra stitches. When I can muster up the courage, I’m going to rip my current row back and start it over again. Ninety stitches just seems like a lot to rip back.

On the upside, I won an eBay auction of some cool stamens to make more velvet flowers and found two more online sources for them. I have this misguided thought that I could make a bouquet for my sister’s wedding or maybe even a spring wreath for my mom.