October 22, 2009

A hard earned sense of achievement

I have finished a couple of projects this week. Actually one of them I also started this week. Firstly; I finished my Aeolian shawl. It turned out huge. I measured it across the top and its pretty much two metres wide. Holy cow. I have such a sense of achievement for having finished this project for so many reasons. Not the least of which is that it is my FIRST finished lace project since I decided I wanted to learn to knit lace. Zomg! Another reason I'm so proud of it is that I was originally sure this pattern was beyond my skill level. But as it turned out it was easy as pie...maybe easier....I've never really had a lot of luck making pie.

The other project, which I started just a couple of days ago and finished yesterday, is a drop spindle. I've been wanting a drop spindle for ages but I haven't had the cash to buy one so I figured; what the hell, I'll just try and make one. I just happened to have a whole heap of polymer clay in my poly-clay sculpting kit (who'd have thunk) so I found myself a mini CD to use as a template for size and bought a piece of dowel...hey presto, a day later I had me a cutes lil laceweight drop spindle. Now all I have to do is get my grubby mitts on some fibres and learn to spin with it! Woot!

October 21, 2009

Derby is NOT about sex!

I read this incredibly narrow minded article/forum post today about the movie Whip It that annoyed me for a couple of reasons.

I havent actually seen Whip It yet, but as one of the co founders of Newcastle Roller Derby League let me tell you that this supposed psychologist couldnt have gotten it MORE wrong. He theorises that 'this game is a metaphor for sex' and that the movie indulges in lesbian fantasy. According to brainiac over there, the movie whip it is about roller blading. WTF? He obviously knows NOTHING about derby. If he did, he would realise that inline skates are a no no for starters. His hypothesis and his language are both very anti-feminism. He claims to be a heterosexual male but lines from his post like; 'almost as "bad" as being a lesbian', are screaming homophobe to me. This my friends is a prime example of academic brilliance (and I use this term loosely because it should in no way, shape or form be applied to the 'academic in question) not necessarily being equated with intelligence.

For one thing, what is 'bad' about being a lesbian? Whats more, what is bad about being a lesbian who is involved in an all girl sport that is specifically directed at empowering and supporting women and designed to encourage acceptance and a sense of sisterhood that you just dont find in mainstream society (and don't even get me started on THAT one)? Ok, yes, there is a definite following of derby by members of the lesbian community. But I'm fairly certain it has less to do with sexual fantasy than it does with acceptance and empowerment and a love of the sport in its own right. Of all the homosexual women I have met through derby (and to be honest, there hasn't been that many, I've met more walking the streets of my neighbourhood), not one of them has seen the sport as an outlet for their sexual fantasies. They all seem to share the same view that it is just a nice change to be part of a sport and a community with other women who aren't judging or fearing them because of their sexuality. It would seem to me that not only is 'acceptance' the word of the day here but it is also a word that our friend the psychologist should perhaps learn to embrace.

Also, what about all those hetero women (who, by the way, are in the majority in derby) who are finding themselves as individuals and building life long friendships with like minded women through derby? All those mums and young girls in warm, functional, hetero relationships with men who dont feel threatened in the slightest by all those other women being athletes?

From reading between the lines of this so called Psychologist, it is clear to me that the concept of women banding together in an effort to become stronger, both physically and psychologically, is something that frightens him. God forbid that women should develop a sense of pride within themselves for becoming a tight knit community of athletes who just happen to enjoy having a good time as well. How dare they? They obviously should be back in the kitchen making sure they're popping out crotchfruit every other year and pandering to the delicate egos of men who clearly feel threatened by women with a sense of self.

I'd also like to know; how is the game of derby a metaphor for sex? He talks about weaving in and out of formation and some kind of 'cat and mouse' game as if derby is about playing tag. Derby is about playing tag as much as it is about doing your grocery shopping...which is to say; not at all. It annoys me that this man, who is apparently doing his doctorate, didnt have the intelligence to actually research the game he was tearing to pieces. If he had done so perhaps he wouldn't have so obviously jammed both of his feet in his mouth and embarrassed himself quite so completely.

Seriously, the suggestion that derby is about sex, is just laughable. Honestly, if that idiot ever bothered to actually go to a derby bout he'd realise that no derby girl is capable of even thinking about sex while on the track...hello???? For a start, you try skating around a track at top speed for a couple of hours and see if you have the energy for sex. Secondly all those sweaty knee pads and stinky quad skates and gigantic ass bruises? Oh hell yeh, that turns me on. Pfft.

The other reason this made me mad? I have friends who are psychologists. I studied psychology at Uni myself. And this guy, who clearly has a SERIOUS Freudian hang up, makes me ashamed to admit that I once wanted to become a psychologist. I will be the first to admit that I am in no way an academic, hell I dropped out of uni, but...even with his apology...Oh. My. God. What. A. Collosal. Fucktard.

For what its worth, Shakesville said it so much better than I did.

October 14, 2009

Everything is better when its free

Ive decided to make a short list of what I consider to be some of the 'nicer', free lace patterns on the net to share with all my readers (yes thats right, all three of you ;oP). The list is just a few of the free patterns that are available out there, thousands more are available if you look around. The ones with an asterisk are the ones I intend to day.

Tree of Light Shawl *

Print o' the Wave Stole

Gail (aka Nightsong) *

Candle Flame Shawl

Cheshire Cat Stole

Pacific Waves Stole

Panache Stole

Rectangle Lace Stole

Estonian Lace Shawl (Nancy Bush) *

Seascape *

Firmaments Lace Shawl

Floral Fantasy Shawl *

Shipwreck Shawl *

Flowers and Frills Shawl

Gold Nugget Shawl

Gossamer Garden Stole

Interlude Lace Wrap

Juno Regina


Lacewing Shawl

Aeolian on...and on....and on....and....

I've been knitting my Aeolian quite furiously and am now up to row 15 of the edge charts which means I have 31 rows to go and she's FINISHED! Gawd I cant wait to finish it. Its gotten so huge and is a bit unweildy to knit at the moment....dont even ask me how many stitches there are, over 500 is all I can tell you. I seperated it onto two 100cm long needles the other night, before I started the edge charts, so I could take photos of it. I'm loving it. Comments welcome!

Im loving this pattern so much I've decided to link another free gorgeous lace shawl designed by Elizabeth Freeman called Laminaria.

October 4, 2009

Yucca Yucca Yucca

I started a new project on October 2nd. Its a lace shawl called Aeolian which you can find the free pattern for by following this link.

When I first saw this pattern I fell in love with it but I thought it would be a bit beyond my skill level because the charts looked very confusing, but now that I'm actually knitting it, it has turned out to be almost too easy. At least so far. The edge charts are the confusing ones so I'll let you know how I feel about them when I start them.

Aeolian Shawl; set up chart & 1 yucca chart

Aeolian Shawl: 6 yucca charts complete

The Aeolian is absolutely gorgeous when finished. I know this because I have been looking at all the completed shawls by the multitude of talented knitters on Ravelry. If you're a knitter and you're not a member you need to sign up right away.

The pattern calls for beads throughout the shawl but I'm knitting it from a four ply cotton that I think is too thick to bother beading. The cotton is showing beautiful stitch definition though so I think it will still be gorgeous when its finished.

I'm loving the pattern so much that I'm already planning my next one, which I intend to knit from my mongonlian cashmere (shown in picture below). Yesterday I went out and purchased just over 2000 beads so I can knit it when this one is finished. The beads are clear Czechoslovakian silverlined crystal seed beads. I bought them from Katie's Treasures for a very reasonable price.

Czech Silverlined Crystal
Size 8 seed bead

Bead on .75mm crochet hook

Tiny sample of knitting yarn with beads

October 1, 2009

Churning through the WIPs

I finished a project today. Its a crochet lace poncho that I found ages ago and hadn't gotten around to making. The pattern is free, you can find it on the Drops yarn website. I made it from Moda Vera Believe, an all natural fibre yarn from Spotlight which comprises of 49% wool, 30% soya and 21% mohair. Its incredibly soft and warm but the pattern is lacy enough that I think it would be suitable for a cool spring/summer evening as well as a mild winters day.

The pattern suggests buttons to fasten the opening of the poncho but I've decided to lace it up corset style with a wide satin ribbon. It's shown here with a shawl pin holding it closed as I haven't bought the ribbon yet.

Also I've been working on my friends birthday cape which is coming along beautifully. The baby alpaca yarn is knitting up so soft and silky, I think I'm going to have to buy a whole lot more of it for future projects.

I have finished charting an image for a baby's pram/cot blanket that a friend of mine asked me to make for her and I have to say it was a huge job and gave me quite a headache. Now that its finished though I'm keen to get it started as I havent knitted intarsia for a couple of years and I'm quite looking forward to it. No photo available of the chart unfortunately but I have an artists rendition of the original concept sketch for the design that I threw together and I'm prepared to show it to people. Please keep in mind that its a copyrighted image/design and all the usual rules apply; this means you may not reproduce it in any form without my express written permission.