Saturday, February 20, 2010


I find it hard to choose what I am going to do once I come home from work these days.

I adore Dancing to the Precipice. It is well written and reads as smoothly as a novel. Absolutely absorbing. I love the fact that fashion and color and food are so entrenched into the French culture that even in the 18th century people would riot if there weren't enough apricots at market and the way one rebelled/revolted was by the manner of dress and the colors they wore.  Well, before the real bloodbath began this was also true. And it definitely is not seen as clearly as the sans-culettes to the American who has no real grasp of the French sensibilities, especially those of the 18th century French.

Neither one of these things come as a surprise. This blood soaked, splattered, and smeared period in history follows the Renaissance, the Sun King, etc etc. However, after reading other books about the French Revolution I feel that Caroline Moorehead incorporates the whole culture into the telling of this one woman and her families lives and how utterly changed their lives become. She leaves no rock unturned.

That is my first conundrum.

Do I read the night away? Taking a break to prepare and eat dinner and enjoy time with my family of course.


Do I knit.

I tried knitting with needles and it was so terribly painful for me. Of course my tension was way too tight, but I couldn't get past that no matter how many times I tried. I held those needles like my life depended on it....much like I hold a pen when I am writing!  My hands are long and thin and after decades of writing and typing and making, building, and playing with clay they are not what they used to be. My mother had given me a set of Knifty Knitter Looms saying she couldn't figure it out and had lost interest.  They had been sitting around for quite awhile.

Knifty Knitter looms are plastic looms, that have a very large gauge (you would use size 11-17 needle to be about the same gauge as the knifty knitter loom.) I decided to see what I could do with them. I researched online for about a week, looking at other sites and found a select few that made sense to my beginners mind. Isela Phelps is the queen of the loom, at least what I can tell by who publishes and who has the most comprehensible You-Tube tutorials.There are some funny You-Tube videos out there and I think I saw most of them. Her instructions were very easy to follow and so I set to work.  I made my first hat in about 4 hours, spread between 2 days. It will fit a child, as on an adult it has a reservoir tip and that is not good fashion. Well unless you are promoting safe sex.

After my hat I decided I would try several other stitches. The knifty knitter instructions are very poor and according to them there is one stitch. And it is a really ugly stitch and if you do not double your medium gauge yarn  or wrap the pegs 4 times and leave four pegs wrapped at all times your hat tends to look anemic. So back onto You-Tube I went and Voila! I found how to knit and purl as well as how to make a flat panel on a round loom, and how to make your flat panel lay flat and not curl. I think I found others, but can't be sure and to be honest right now that is all I am going to use for awhile until I get confident in using the loom. As I recall in all my reading and researching about knitting, knitting and purling are used in a great many other stitch patterns.

I love knitting looms! However, chunky yarn is not a yarn for all seasons. I began to look for looms of smaller gauges and found them. They are expensive when you realize that a set of 4 round knifty knitter looms are 12.97 at your local Wal-mart. I decided to go look at a few craft stores and see what I could find. I also needed more yarn for this twin sized crochet afghan I have been working on since December.  I settled on a knitting board (found it on clearance!) A knitting board is the same concept as a loom just a rectangular piece made of oak with solid stainless steel pegs. The pegs do lack the grooves that the plastic pegs have on the knifty knitter. I like the grooves, it keeps the pin tool from slipping off, but the knitting board has a bit of a different technique I guess. I really don't know, I have not used it yet.It is also a table project and not a lap project, which could prove to be difficult if I keep sidetracking myself away from finishing my office once and for all!

Right now I am working on a shawl for my mother. When I last talked to her she must have insisted that I find a pattern for a shawl about 4 times. We were on the phone for about ten minutes. I asked her if she wanted a shawl and she never she's getting one out of the crappy homespun I have, that she gave to me with the looms. It is about a third of the way done. It looks fantastic! No dropped stitches and if and when you do drop a stitch you follow your new loop back the the old tightened one and that one will loosen up without an issue. I don't care for homespun ( I think this may be why my mother gave up on using the looms.) It's a fussy frayed yarn that looks pretty as a skein and as a finished project, it's just a bugger to work with!
It's very high maintenance.

On the reading front I am almost half done reading, but I am taking notes (there is an awful lot of info and I : want to learn this info so I can make nerdy references that no one else understands-joke! I am noting for my own purposes so that when I sit down to write about this period I have notes I can refer back to, rather than shuffle through a million pages.

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