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The WeatherPixie

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January 29, 2003
mea culpa? Previously, my

mea culpa?

Previously, my blog description said something like "my forays in the womanly arts". It dawned on me suddenly that this may have been offensive or at least off-putting to some -- particularly those who do not see themselves as womanly.

To me, the whole Domestic Sphere -- and the traditional dichotomy between public/male private/female of old school Social Science --is meant to be a tad ironic. I spent quite a few years in academe studying Anthropology...

And then I had kids and became a HOUSEWIFE. I love being a housewife. I love puttering around the house doing housewifey things. I take care of kids. I cook. I clean. I knit and sew. I do charming little craft projects with egg cartons and pipe cleaners. I have a tremendous soft spot for old etiquette books, cook books, and any other guides that tell women how they ought to behave, implicitly or explicitly. I hang out with other over-educated, under-employed housewives.

I am very much IN the domestic sphere. And it's underrated.

Anyway, the conception of this blog centered around these ideas. When I started the Domestic Sphere, there weren't any knitting weblogs hosted by men (at least that I was aware of), but that has changed and there is now a growing community of male knitters with web presence. I don't believe that knitting or any other art or craft belongs particularly to women or men. I think everyone should find a medium for creative expression -- whether it's crocheting doilies or carving with chainsaws -- and do it, regardless of what the neighbors think. And if I were your neighbor, I would be thrilled to have another knitter next door!


09:40 AM
January 28, 2003
Knitting Math 101 Ginn

Knitting Math 101

Ginn asked where one goes to learn knitting math, and the answer, for today at least, is right here! This lesson is not really lesson 1 -- but it's the one I just did, so here it is:

Knitting and the Pythagorean Theorem

This is the Pythagorean Theorem. You learned it in high school geometry. My teacher was Mr. Marcy. He loved Albert Einstein and Willie Nelson. We had in-class birthday parties for each. I liked Geometry much more than Algebra or Calculus.

This is your sweater on the Pythagorean Theorem. Any questions?

Here's the big question: How do I make the decreases on the body and the sleeves so that the raglans match up?

First the bits we do know: I know about how wide the sleeve opening needs to be. I'll call this number "A" and say that it needs to be about 5 inches for a baby sweater*. I know how wide to make the bottom of the sweater and the neck opening. Let's say d = 11 and e = 7 (e = 7 because this is a modified boat neck).

Now how to use this information for truth, light and righteousness?

Sharpen your pencils and get out your calculators because it's math time! Let's solve for B and C so we know where we stand.

d - e = 2B. So, 11 - 7 = 2B and B = 2.

To find C, we use the Pythagorean Theorem: The sum of the squares of the two shorter sides of a right triangle is equal to the
square of the hypotenuse... or something like that.

A 2 +B2 = C2

(5 x 5) + (2 x 2) = C2

25 +4 =29 = C2

So, C = 5.4 (more or less)

Sometimes you can just do the decreases the same on the sleeves and the body, but that wouldn't work in this case because I need to get rid of more stitches on the sleeves than I do on the body. How do I know this?

There is a second right triangle on the sleeve.

If the decreases are the same on the body and the sleeve, then B is the same on the body and the sleeve and therefore B is the width
of my sleeve.

BUT B is only 2 inches! There's an extra inch at the cap of the sleeve and we add that in, but that still only gives us a sleeve
that measures 5 inches all the way around (2B + 1 = 5) That is not wide enough for the sleeve. What to do?

We know that C must be the same on both the sleeve and the body since we want them to match up when we sew them together. C = 5.4. 2B + 1 is the total width of the sleeve and we want that to equal 10, so B = 4.5. Now once again, we turn to Pythagoras.

A2 + B2 = C2.

A2 + (4.5 x 4.5) = (5.4 x 5.4)

A2 + 20.25 = 29

29 - 20.25 = 8.75

A = 3 (more or less)

So, now we know all the measurements for the sleeves and the body. Next time, the rubber meets the road: How to turn these numbers into a knitting pattern.


06:40 AM
January 27, 2003
superbowl sunday i mention

superbowl sunday

i mention the superbowl not because i have any plans to watch it, but because it is being played here in san diego. and those of you who are watching the superbowl will witness the freakishly good weather that we are having. i mean, the weather is usually good, but it's been freakishly good. like summer. we were supposed to have an el nino year with lots of rain, which is really needed since we've had very low rainfall for the last 2 years. bad on the longterm scale, good on the daily level... it's too bad that it's not green bay or something.

in knitting news, i finished V2 of my Knitty project. Now I really need to write it up. Break out that protractor! Polish up that pythagorean theorem! Writing up what I actually knit is pretty straightforward, but growing things up to imaginary sizes and figuring out what I would do then... that's a whole 'nuther kettle of fish... and then figuring out how much yarn you would have used, if you knit it that size... more math than you can shake a sliderule at! don't get me wrong, i like math, especially geometry, but it's just not something i do everyday.

since my project slate was clear i got out a bunch of skeins... all the Colinette that Kerrie sent, all the bits and pieces from here and there... and am trying to figure out what they are suited for. making a warm and wooly hat for Leo, and then probably a new twist on the bulky baby sweater. i am excited about it, i just have to figure out the yarns.

so, here are some questions:
any good ways to combine a thin yarn and a thick yarn in one smallish project? not combine them as in hold them together, but combine them into one project where they both have their own glory. For instance, I have maybe 1.5 skeins of Noro Menou (5 st per inch) left from a sweater my aunt knit for me and most of a skein of Tahki Cozy (2 st per inch). Serendipitously, the colors are perfect together. But other than putting the bigger fluffier stuff on as a border on a scarf, I haven't really come up with the right thing. I suppose I could do stripes and increase and decrease for the differences, but that seems awkward.

second, other than a tube scarf, what can i do with a small amount of a tape yarn? buy more is an obvious answer, and maybe the
right one. then i could make a summer shell with a cool stripe or something.


09:58 AM
January 22, 2003
quilt queries the quilt

quilt queries

the quilt is actually pretty teeny. each square is 2 inches. it's 22 x18 squares. BUT, i'll lose half an inch on each square to seams. without the border, it's 27" x 33", with the border, a little bigger, maybe 30 x 36" finished size.

i contacted someone through the local quilt guild who will quilt it for me by machine. hand quilting would take forever, and a regular sewing machine doesn't work very well. so i'll send it out. for this size quilt it's only about $20. Look at this page. I think I like the "stipple" design best.

if i do another one it's definitely going to be a weird version of a photograph. either sepia toned or more like it was solarized. depending on where the spirit moves me. i have to find the right photo too. one with good contrast. still it's fun. i may try to do more of the layout work on the computer, first. i love the corporeality of running around the table switching squares and turning the lights on and off, but if i were actually trying to make a picture of something? i'm sure there'll be plenty of that, but an actual image will call for more up front graphic design.


06:26 AM
January 21, 2003
ta dah! my proto-quilt,

ta dah!

my proto-quilt, all laid out and ironed.

in the interest of full disclosure, i should tell you that in spite of my ravings about how simple this all was, i managed to iron half of my gridded fusible interfacing to my bath towel! wouldn't you think that the side that actually has the imprint on it was where you were supposed to put the squares down? you'd be wrong. fortunately, i had some regular old fusible interfacing tucked in a drawer so I was able to carry on. laying out the squares yet again. since the only place i have to work is our dining room table, i have had to move the whole thing several times. either knocking some squares off of their backing or having to stack them up, line by line, to prevent them from falling as they were carried through the doorway. a large quilt deserves a safe work area! if i do this again, maybe i'll set up a space in the garage to work!

so now onto the border issue. i figure this is like framing a picture. it can totally make or break how the finished product looks. maybe two-squares-width of black for the mat/matt/matte with a subtle hand-dyed for the frame?


09:11 AM
January 20, 2003
more quilting Following up

more quilting

Following up on a couple of comments and emails: I went quick and dirty and just ordered the squares precut. You can also order the
fabrics in fat quarters on up. And yes, you can pick exactly the colors you want. I went with the grab bag approach, because I enjoyed
the chanllenge and didn't really have a clear vision. Try the hand-dyed gradients available from one of these fine ebay vendors: href= "">C and S Fabrics or

Aunt Suzie's squares from I
corresponded with both of them and they seemed throroughly helpful.

Oh, and Shetha, if you don't want to cut diamonds (not a big deal with a rotary cutter), you might consider just placing squares on edge -- those are diamonds, right?


06:28 PM
January 19, 2003
squares --------



07:17 AM
January 17, 2003
happy dance What a

happy dance

What a fabulously exciting day in the world of mail yesterday was! I swear I peaked at the porch a dozen times hoping that he'd come early. As it was, the mail arrived just before I had to leave to fetch Zoe from school so I saw that I had packages, but I couldn't open them. But I was giddy all the way to school. And I was right to be! I got my eagerly awaited fabric squares. I've been playing games with them, and doodling on graph paper. I figure the key to success in this quilt is going to be dark and light. Maybe that's true of any quilt though, eh? But there are so many colors. I ordered some fusible interfacing with a 2 inch grid already drawn on it on Ebay, so waiting for it's arrival should prevent me from doing anything too rash. Though at this point I feel like I could play with organizing the squares indefinitely. So many possibilities. Order? Chaos? Some of each?

And as if that weren't enough, I got the marvelous motherlode from Kerrie.
Thanks, Kerrie! They are all marvelous and my mind is spinning with ideas and I just want to fondle them all for a while and start
knitting them up. My first thought: Another spin of the perennial bulky baby, with Colombo and some plain, natural wool that I have. A
poor choice for a baby living in San Diego? Perhaps. Second, third, and fourth ideas... Scarves, scarves, scarves.


06:32 AM
January 15, 2003
there's a name for

there's a name for it....

and names make all the difference in the world. i'm full of old song lyrics this morning, but mr. byrne was speaking the truth. especially when you rely so heavily on search engines.

WATERCOLOR quilting. the other day i mentioned the idea of the photo-impressionist quilt. now i know next to nothing of quilting, though i've made one... so at least now i know what i don't know. anyway, i went and ordered me a bunch of hand-dyed 2 inch squares and figured i'd just lay them out until i liked the way they looked. now that i know that there's a name for this, it turns out there's all sorts of information on it... and books written about it! i've also gleaned this valuable tidbit: lay them out on a grid drawn on fusible interfacing. then you just iron them on and sew up the long seams all at once. so intoxicating... i can't wait for my squares to arrive!


05:53 AM
i feel knitty, oh

i feel knitty, oh so knitty....

I've been working on my most recent Knitty project, which is why you haven't seen any actual knitting here. Actually projectS, because I'm reworking Haiku (from the premiere issue) in adult size -- not for this issue, so don't get your hopes up too soon!

I've also been on an early Spring cleaning binge. I've gone through the closets, the bookshelves, even the junk drawer casting off what we don't use. Vanquishing things to the garage. Of course, this meant that I had to go through the boxes in the garage. I actually opened up each box and went through its contents. Got rid of all my Anthropology books. Old cooking magazines. Tschochkes that are not terribly sentimental. The whole thing was very cathartic. And we actually have space on our bookshelves. Now, if someone I know would just hurry up and have a baby who needs all these baby clothes...

If only I had a shopvac! I'd be happy to trade my flaky but still working monitor and a Mac Quadra 660 (still functional!) for one...


05:05 AM
oh, domino! Why does

oh, domino!

Why does Vivian Hoxbro call it domino knitting anyway?* They remind me nothing of dominoes.

Anyway, check out what Sheri Figueroa's done with them over at Dyed with Kool-Aid and felted!

*and then I've got Van Morrison in my head all day. Thankfully the early 70's version, because he looks kind of creepy
now that he's older.


04:52 AM
January 10, 2003
my hair! That's right.

my hair!

That's right. Just after Christmas I had almost 12 inches of my hair cut off! I'm figuring out what to do with the remainder that's
left on my head, but what to do with this large lock? I know that there are a couple of organizations that you can donate to, but I've
heard mixed reviews of their efforts.

I leave the spinsters among you to think about other possibilities!


10:41 AM
pixelated While I was


While I was at my Mom's over the holidays, I endulged in some Home & Garden Television. I saw a show where a woman made a quilt that looked like a posterized photograph. This is something that I've been imagining doing for ages, but it always seemed to complicated. Now I know some secrets... any savvy quilters have suggestions on where I might find 12-16 gradients of a color? I've been thinking about dyeing them myself, but if they exist already in the world... Anyway, have a look at


06:53 AM
now for the surprise...

now for the surprise...

Here are the before pictures... some pre-solstice on the beach.

And here's the after picture from Ella's 2nd birthday -- 01-01-03.

Can you tell what happened? I'll provide more details soon!


06:40 AM
MacGyver! A toilet paper


A toilet paper tube, an electric mixer, a little duct tape... and voila! A DIY ballwinder! Check this out! I came across the link on the San Diego Fiber Folk list.


06:36 AM
January 6, 2003
new addition I've added

new addition

I've added a bigger bulky baby bibby to the "free patterns" section at left. It will fit a two year old.

Here's Kepler, aged six months, modelling his moss stitch bulky baby bibby in orange Berocco Pronto.


09:27 AM
January 3, 2003
surprise! And I know


And I know I promised you a surprise, but it has to wait until I get actual film developed. Film. Haven't done that in a while.


07:14 AM
scarves aplenty Revealed to

scarves aplenty

Revealed to you now, my holiday scarves:

Three little scarves knit for three little girls. Each is about 2 inches wide.

Three skeins of Tahki Cozy in "Baja". This is a great yarn. It's discontinued, I think, so get it while you can! Very soft.
Pleasant to knit. A fabulous scarf. This is a very straight up 1/1 rib. That's all this yarn needed.

Knit in Tahki/Stacey Charles Magic in the "Chess" colorway -- an obvious choice for my chess playing brother-in-law. Though the
description of the yarn made it look and sound intriguing, ultimately, I was unimpressed with this yarn. Usually I want something a
little softer for a scarf or something with a little more vim.

I had a hard time finding the right stitch to use on this one. Turning to the blogring for inspiration, I discovered the
basketweave stitch from Action Hero. Thanks, Melissa!
It's a cool little stitch. It's not a reversible stitch pattern, so the scarf has a "wrong" side, but it's not bad. A very functional
scarf -- good for running for the bus in chilly drizzle.

This scarf I knit for my Mom. I used a skein each of Fizz and Aura. The scarf is knit diagonally with an increase on one side and a
decrease on the other. Adds a little zip. Tassels. Beads. Sparkle. This one is pretty glam.


07:06 AM