Archives for posts with tag: 2008

I normally get somewhere between 300 and 400 hits a day. Yesterday I got 1,377 visitors and my stats aren’t showing where everyone’s coming from–an email newsletter or something, it looks like. If you’re one of the thousands who came by from that link and you’re reading this, would you mind leaving me a comment to let me know how you found my site? thank you in advance, I’m very curious!

So… I had started drafting a post earlier about the amazing time we had on Election Night, but I’ve just been way too busy this week to finish it. In the meantime, the short version: it was amazing, it was historic, and there was Much Rejoicing here in Madison: cheering, laughing, dancing, people playing drums in the street and high-fiving strangers and chanting as they marched down State Street under American flags, with fireworks exploding overhead. I cried when he gave his acceptance speech. Yes, I know Obama’s not going to solve everything or turn water to wine, but I feel happy and hopeful. Finally, for the first time in my entire life as a voter, I feel like democracy is alive and well and working.


“What do we want?”


“When do we want them?”


This was the rousing call to undead political action that echoed through the streets of Madison, Wisconsin last Saturday at the 2008 Zombie Lurch. Like dead rights activist Reg Shoe, whose livejournal can be read here, these fine members of the postmortem population were lurching for zombie rights (and delectable brains.)

We stopped by to see them and saw an impressive zombie “Thriller” synchronized dance routine:

The zombies included hikers who had met with some kind of unfortunate ancient evil on their backpacking trip, a scientist who had been bitten by a rabid possum, and a zombie holding a “Zombies for McCain” sign–unfortunately, I didn’t get close-ups of most of them.

Check out the zombie biker at the left of this photo:

A neuroscientist was monitoring the situation while protesting zombie brain waste:

Local news story here, youtube photo montage with excellent soundtrack choice here. (You can see the top of my head (in turquoise bike helmet) in the foreground at 1:36. I’m faaaamous!)

The zombies started at the Capitol building and lurched down the main drag, State Street, until they reached the university. Every so often, the calls of “BRAAAAAINS” would be interrupted by a moan of “BUUUUSSSS,” and the seemingly chaotic mob of zombies would flow smoothly over to one side of the street to let the bus go by.

A woman standing outside Ben and Jerry’s said to me in a puzzled, wondering tone, “What would ever possess a group of people to get together and do something like this?”

Whatever the reasons–delicious brains, camaraderie, Halloween, a sense of humor, raising awareness of Election Day next Tuesday–it was fun! Our friends Steve and Jeanne were visiting us over the weekend, and even their dog Nola got into the undead act:

Back in the land of the living, here’s what’s on my needles (STILL Flicca: I’m perhaps 1/3 of the way through the sleeves now, and then I’ll have to set them in and knit the collar and front bands. This cardigan is taking forever):

And here’s what’s on my wheel:
3.5 beautiful ounces of hand-painted merino in “Tapestry” from my new favorite Etsy seller, Bee Mice Elf. I’m currently trying to produce soft, thick, knittable, self-striping singles, but I have a tendency to spin too fine:

She also sent along this little sample with my order:

It’s the same stuff I spun up for my Quantette, and I also spun up some of her merino in the “Early Drop” colorway last month–spun over the fold for extra bounce, and twisted into a two-ply:

She doesn’t have too much listed in her shop at the moment, but you can special order a 4 oz. braid of any of her fall/winter color collections anytime, and they’re all totally gorgeous. I think the Quiet collection is my favorite, particularly Pensive Plum.

The Urban and Coastal collections aren’t up on her photostream yet, but you can see them in her sold items by clicking through those links.

1 skein of Sundara Sock Yarn in Roasted Persimmon over Green Papaya, Seasons Sock Club, Autumn, October 2008 shipment: $25.

Average monthly per capita income in Cambodia: $24.16

Ashford Traditional single-drive, lacquered, single-treadle spinning wheel: $535

The gross national income per capita in Benin, 2006: $540

The theme of this year’s Blog Action Day is Poverty. All over the blogosphere, people are writing about poverty and how it relates to their little corner of the world.

I don’t hold a lot of illusions about people stopping their yarn stashing, eating out at restaurants, buying new clothes, going to the movies, or what have you, and donating all that money to charity instead while living a virtuous, ascetic life in the cheapest place they can afford. It’s just not the way things work in this day and age and place, for the vast majority of people. I’m certainly not saintly enough to live that simply. And despite their ideals, people have a strong tendency to want to spend their hard-earned money on fun stuff rather than donating it to someone they don’t know and will never meet.

Knitters, crocheters, spinners, weavers, let me suggest 3 simple actions that will change little about the way you live your happy, well-fed, yarn-filled life from day to day, but will make a difference (be it ever so slight) in fighting global poverty–and without making you feel guilty about spending your money as you please:
1) Download the AidMaker browser plugin and shop online as usual. When you shop from online stores like the Apple Store (or Ultimate Colon Cleanse, apparently!) while using this browser plugin, receives a commission, which (aside from operating costs) they then donate to the charity of your choice, at no extra cost to you. Let’s say you go to Amazon and buy Knitted Lace of Estonia or some Cascade 220 yarn–or even an Ashford Kiwi spinning wheel–they’ll donate 3% of your purchase price to the charity of your choice, without you spending an extra dime.
2) When you feel like you need a shopping fix, or decide you could use some retail therapy, consider going to a charity site instead and spending your money on a charitable donation. If you’re a stasher, you can just pretend you bought some yarn and it went straight into the stash, hidden under the bed or in a drawer out of sight somewhere. But instead, you can spend the money on a sheep, llama, or goat from Heifer International, a camel from Mercy Corps, or a loan to a textiles entrepreneur via (at the moment, one of the open loans seeking lenders is for a group of Peruvian weavers trying to start a textiles factory)
3) Or if you feel like you need something tangible as a result of your shopping spree, consider spending money on products that help the economies of developing countries. You could buy some yarns via The Hunger Site–that angora-cotton blend looks especially tempting, doesn’t it? In your LYS, a few yarn brands you can look at include the Snow Leopard Trust, Manos del Uruguay, Malabrigo, Shokay, Lantern Moon, and Mirasol. If you’re feeling indulgent, splurge on some qiviut from the Oomingmak cooperative. If you’re feeling even more indulgent than that, how about some vicuna at $300 per 28.5 grams? According to Peace of Yarn, after maintaining state control and protection of the wild vicuna herds since 1825, the Peruvian government “handed ownership of the animals back to the common villagers of the country, creating a viable and stable source of income for struggling villagers” by sponsoring traditional shearing days called chacus in which the vicunas are trapped using traditional methods, sheared, and released.

So in honor of today, I’m going to go install that plugin, lend some money via Kiva, and ogle qiviut on Ravelry for a while.

P.S. I just bought the Ashford Traditional used on Craigslist and it was actually closer to the GNI per capita of Afghanistan. I’m pretty excited about it–I’ll have enough bobbins to actually do a two-ply without having to wind off into centerpull balls! Lots of ratios! A nice big drive wheel! I can adjust twist and pull separately using the Scotch tension!–though I’m surprisingly feeling sort of anxious and attached about selling my old wheel. It’s prettier, and easier to treadle.

Saturday was the most exciting day I’ve had in a long time! It was World Wide Knit In Public Day, and I did that in the morning–more about that later–followed by:

  • a bike ride with Jeanne to tour a local cob-built house,
  • my first visit to a new Ukrainian deli a few doors down from the new yarn store, where I bought lactose-free cultured sour cream and poppyseed lebkuchen and we shared some strange sodas (Duchesse pear and “bouratino”-flavored sodas: Pinocchio, un burattino, turns out to be the Eastern European symbol for cream soda. Who knew?)
  • a Bloomington scavenger hunt (more on this on another day, it merits its own post). We won, amazingly! This scarf played a pivotal role…
  • Starting to read a very interesting new book, The Fruit Hunters, by (oddly enough, though I should have known from the reference to fisting within the first chapter) the editor of VICE Magazine (link probably not safe for work)

So–WWKIPD. The Bloomington group was on the top row, very center of the WWKIP Day photo mosaic yesterday! I didn’t finish writing this blog post before the end of the day, so we’ve been replaced in the meantime…

I prepared the night before by going through my stash and pulling out all the yarn I wanted to destash, realizing I couldn’t possibly carry everything on my bike (Rahul was out of town and had the car), and sorting it into potentially saleable items and things I just wanted to get out of my house and into good hands. A skein of Shetland cobweb-weight yarn, piles and piles of recycled sweater yarn from thrift store sweaters (some not quite out of sweater form yet, but all of it pretty nice, if I do say so myself), a few skeins of leftover Lopi, random skeins of handspun, various leftover partial skeins of nice yarns like Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece and Malabrigo… I had to leave most of my saleable yarn at home, to sell later on Ravelry, but wound up packing my entire bike basket, a backpack, and a messenger bag with yarn and biking (in a very wobbly and overloaded way) to the market.

In attendance:

  • Nicole
  • Kalani (go see her writeup!)
  • Katie (I’m stealing the photos her husband took to use on my blog, with her permission, because I couldn’t fit my camera into any of my bags, so I have no photos of my own). Her photo is the one featured in the Flickr photo mosaic.
  • Anna
  • Fee (go see her writeup! I suspect that might be my destashed handspun in the first photo)
  • Sylvia
  • Mari
  • April
  • (Am I forgetting anyone? If so, please let me know. Also, undoubtedly there will be more writeups coming along soon.)

Nicole and Katie had made flyers with LYS, “learn to knit” books, and S’n’B information to hand out; Katie made Ravelry business cards with the name of the local Bloomington group; Fee potato-stamped patches with yarn ball-and-needles motifs to hand out; Nicole brought her pile of “Hello, my name is” Ravelry buttons. We talked to various knitters and crocheters and handed out lots of flyers, cards, and yarn. (I contributed lots of free yarn, as did various other attendees, but Fee’s “FREE YARN” sign and basket was the most instrumental in actually getting it into people’s hands and attracting knitters to our group.)

I did some fairly mindless knitting (Sarah’s lace wedding shawl is in slow progress/swatching stages, but didn’t seem appropriate to bring to a public, group knitting event with my laptop and all), bought chard, honey, and garlic scapes from the market, and ate a tamale from my favorite stall.

I wore my Rusted Root, as you can see in the top photo. (Also, a new haircut):

L-R: April, me, Mari, Sylvia, Nicole, Fee’s husband Bryan, Fee, Kalani, Katie

This is the photo that was on the WWKIP website, though a few people were cropped out of it, I think. You can also see one of the plastic bags of yarn I brought to destash, right by Katie’s brown knitting bag: white Berroco Plush, the end of a skein of Malabrigo, recycled cream-colored Irish lambswool, a partial skein of navy blue acrylic, a small skein of handspun singles.

A good time was had by all, and best of all, I left the market minus what felt like about ten pounds of yarn, feeling very light and free–my backpack, bike basket, and messenger bag now empty. Kalani, Nicole, and I had lunch at Esan Thai, a Northern Thai restaurant across from the library, where I had a Thai iced coffee for the first time in ages… yum. I’ll definitely post more about the scavenger hunt at a later date–it was lots of fun, and I think other current or former Bloomingtonians might enjoy seeing how they would have done. Unfortunately, Steve accidentally deleted some of the earlier photos, and we’re hoping he can recover them from the memory card using a free recovery utility.

On the sewing front, I saw this infinity dress Cosmicpluto made and I am now obsessed with making one myself. The tutorial is here, and you should also page through the Craftster thread–it looks like an extremely versatile, comfortable, and flattering dress–not to mention extremely easy to sew, with just one seam as long as you use a stretch knit and don’t hem it. If I make it, if I can find thinner jersey fabrics to use, I was thinking I might line the strap parts with contrasting fabric. It would look cool, would provide a finished edge, and would also provide extra thickness and coverage. I hope I can find a nice stretchy knit fabric locally, because I just love love love this dress.