Friday, October 31, 2008


I'm one of the worst KALers; not only did I do nothing for Socktoberfest, but I didn't even sign up for it. I did sign up for Sock Knitters Anonymous for September and barely scraped up a finish.

One of the options this month was a pattern by Cookie A. I'd wanted to do the BFF pattern for a long time, and this seemed like an opportune time to take it from a "want" to a "done", and "done" they are, on the very last day. Still, done is done; right?

The yarn is Koigu KPPPM in Colour 312. It was, as usual, a joy to work with, and I am quite pleased with how well the colours let the cables show. I would have been even more pleased if I hadn't run out of yarn and had to scrounge up another skein.

I did substitute in a Fleegle heel, though, because I like it.

In the Other News Department, I special ordered a spindle from SpinSanity, and Shannon came through for me with flying colours. It's a bottom whorl, in a rubbed, antique-y blue. It's wonderfully balanced and spins perfectly. The icing on the cake was that Shannon gifted it to me. I think she's trying to feed my budding spindling addiction in payback for causing her a slight case of garterlac obsession. I'm a willing victim.

The fiber is merino from Eagle's Find Fiber in the Leaves and Stones colourway, and it's spinning up into a wonderful, golden-hued single that I'm hoping to Andean ply into lace weight. This is the first time I've tried merino, and it takes a bit of getting used to. It's easy to draft, but not so easy to draft evenly because it's so spongy and stretchy. I keep telling myself it's just part of the learning curve, and I'm not actually minding having to practise at all. :-)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mystic Earth - Clue 1

Clue 3 of the Mystic Earth KAL came out this week. I, being on the slow side, have just finished Clue 1. The shawl is what I would call sampler style, meaning that there are panels of different stitch patterns, each within a box of eyelets. Although that's not my favourite type of design, it does mean that just when you start to get a bit bored, you start doing something altogether different. For someone like me whose attention tends to wander with bigger projects, this is probably a good thing.

The shawl theme was also revealed this week. There are four panels, with each one representing a season. Clue 1 is Spring, with a waving leaf motif, meant to symbolize the emergence of budding growth.

The construction has been fun. You first knit the bottom border, and then turn it on its side and pick up stitches along the straight edges for the body of the shawl. I admit that I was a bit scared of that at first. Even though at times it seemed like I was doing it more by feel than by sight, I think it came out alright.

The edging on the sides is then knit along with the main pattern.

It's an interesting pattern, with just enough wrong side row action to keep you awake. The waves are created by K2togs and SSKs and YOs, but you then purl into the back of the YOs on the return rows to close them up. The only YOs that remain are those within the leaves.

I apologize for the crappy photos -- it appears that my camera will have trouble with this colour. The top photo is the most accurate, but it's more vibrant in real life.

Clue 2 is Summer and looks to be more complicated than Clue 1 -- don't expect to see it soon. :-)

In the Other News Department, spindling continues. I finally managed to create a three-ply sock weight with the last little bit of the practice roving that came with my learn to spin kit. It knits up nicely at 10 sts/in on 2.0 mm needles.

That means it's time to try to maintain it long enough to make enough for some actual socks.

I love my new spindle. It's made of mesquite, walnut and maple, and the inset is jasper - a Ledbetter from Ball and Skein. The roving is from All Spun Up. Again, this is taking a while, so don't expect to see finished socks any time soon.

Yes, I'm practising patience. I think it's a good thing. Probably.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Ten Years

I usually try to stick to my knitting here, as I view this space as a little corner of my world that is safe and free from all the stresses of everyday life. This week, though, I am reminded again of just how unsafe and unfree life really is out there in the real world..

This upcoming week marks the 10th anniversary of the murder of Matthew Wayne Shepard. Matthew was a gay American student at the University of Wyoming who was was robbed, pistol whipped, tortured, tied to a fence in a remote, rural area, and left to die near Laramie on the night of October 6 – October 7, 1998. He died from severe head injuries at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, on October 12, 1998.

Matthew suffered a fracture from the back of his head to the front of his right ear. He had severe brain stem damage, which affected his body's ability to regulate heart rate, body temperature and other vital signs. There were also about a dozen small lacerations around his head, face and neck. His injuries were deemed too severe for doctors to operate. He never regained consciousness and remained on full life support.

The disturbing and brutal nature of Matthew Shepard's murder prompted calls for new legislation addressing hate crime, urged particularly by those who believed that Shepard was targeted on the basis of his sexual orientation. Under current United States federal law and Wyoming state law, crimes committed on the basis of sexual orientation are not prosecutable as hate crimes.

The Matthew Shepard Act (officially, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007 or LLEHCPA), HR 1592 was a proposed federal bill that would expand the 1969 United States federal hate-crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim's actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

The bill passed the Senate on September 27, 2007, as an amendment to the Defense Reauthorization bill. The cloture vote was 60 to 39 in favor. The amendment was then approved by voice vote. President Bush indicated he may veto the DoD authorization bill if it reaches his desk with the hate crimes legislation attached. Ultimately, the amendment was dropped by the Democratic leadership because of opposition from antiwar Democrats, conservative groups, and President George W. Bush.

Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden voted in favor of the legislation; Senator John McCain did not vote. However, in an interview with The Washington Blade regarding the Matthew Shepard Act, Senator McCain stated, "I have voted against the proposal several times".

The Campaign to Erase Hate is a program of the Matthew Shepard Foundation. It models the principles that were core to the beliefs and aspirations of Matthew Shepard. For more information, please visit the Matthew Shepard Foundation and Matthew's Place.

This is a knitting blog and not a place for politics, but I would like to again thank Myrna Stahman for caring enough to mark Matthew's death by designing two scarf patterns and sharing them with us.

Matthew, we have not forgotten.