Miss California

Let me preface this post by putting in a few points on how I feel about the things you know are going to come up in this post.  Personally, I think beauty pageants of any kind are revolting for so many reasons.  I think that gay marriage should be legal.  Just getting that out of the way before I go play the devil’s advocate..

Let’s recap.
Perez Hilton: Vermont recently became the fourth state to legalize same sex marriage.  Do you think every state should follow suit?  Why or why not?
Miss California (Carrie Prejean):  Well I think it’s great that Americans are able to choose one or the other.  Um, we live in a land that  you can choose same sex marriage or opposite marriage, and, you know what, in my country, and in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman, no offense to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised and that’s how I think that it should be between a man and a woman.  Thank you.

I almost  feel bad for the girl.  While I don’t agree with her feelings on the matter, she’s 100% allowed to voice her beliefs and opinions (I really don’t want to resort to name-calling here), but I’m not sure a *BEAUTY* pageant is the right place.  We’re not going to agree with eachother about everything and while life might be easier if everyone just agreed with me, I doubt it would be nearly as interesting and diverse (that was a touch of sarcasm, in case you missed it).  If she had been asked this question even twenty years ago, would her answer have ‘cost her the crown’ as the news says it has?  What bothers me about her choice of answer is the wording – that’s how she was raised.  That’s how I was raised too, but in growing up and developing my own thoughts and opinions, I decided that gay marriage wasn’t a bad thing and that there was no good reason in my mind to stop gays from marrying.  Her answer felt so .. pre-canned and robotic and rehearsed and unoriginal.  People are arguing that it wasn’t politically correct – well, give me an answer that appeases everyone!  Someone, somewhere was going to find whatever answer she would’ve given to that question politically incorrect or offensive.  It was a loaded question.  Pleasing Perez Hilton would’ve meant pissing off conservatives.

For kicks, let’s look at the requirements for the Miss USA pageant.
Throughout the USA pageant system, from the local level to the international level, contestants are judged in three areas:
Interview Competition – Pageant judges spend time with each contestant to learn about her successes, talents, goals and ambitions. Attention is focused on her poise, charm, self-confidence and her ability to communicate, as well as the substance of her answers.
Swimsuit Competition – Attention is focused on beauty of face, figure, physical fitness, and the confidence with which each contestant carries herself. Numerical measurements are not considered in the judging.
Evening Gown Competition – Each contestant wears a gown she has chosen for herself. Attention is focused on each contestant’s overall appearance, self-confidence, sense of style and the beauty she brings to the gown of her choice.
Emphasis all mine.  Do we see anything in there about political correctness?  Do we see anything in there about politically/religiously charged questions?  No.  The interview, as described above, is to be about her, “successes, talents, goals and ambitions.”  Just sayin’.. The girl from the state that voted in a measure eliminating the right of same-sex couples to marry and goes to a Christian college got a loaded question by a gay man about gay marriage.  WHAT DID WE THINK WAS GOING TO HAPPEN HERE?!

End point – she couldn’t have saved herself from failure on that question, no matter what answer she gave.  Of course, she’s since gone on a few interviews and dug herself a deeper hole (not to say that Perez isn’t doing the same all by himself either), but it’s clear that now she’s carrying an agenda when she could’ve been just another pageant contestant who gives a bad response to a question.

A week in pictures

The sister-in-law, Brenda, was up visiting this past week. We went a bunch of places and I took A LOT of photos with the new camera. The wide lens and the full-frame DSLR has been making me very very happy. Click any photo to see a larger size, linked to flickr.
Row 1: Crystal Cave
Row 2: Philadelphia Zoo
Row 3: Fort Mifflin
Row 4: Winterthur

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Leafy Socks


Finally!  These were an intense knit.  I had to sit in front of the chart and keep careful watch over my knitting.  Granted, it paid off BIG TIME since they’re really pretty.  The pattern is toe up and reinforces my dislike of knitting toe up socks – I can do it, but I really prefer the cuff down method.  These do have a heel flap and gusset and all the trimmings of a cuff-down sock which I’m much happier with than the typical short row heel and toe.  Kelly Porpiglia wrote an awesome pattern and it was super easy to follow.  The only hold up here was me and my toe up bias.  The yarn is Wollmeise 100% superwash and was part of the September 2008 sock club delivery.

Pattern: Interlocking Leaves
Designer:  Kelly Porpiglia
Needles: US 1 (2.5 mm)
Yarn:  Wollmeise Sockenwolle 100% superwash in colorway, “Buxkranzl”
Ravelry Project Link

March Wrap-up

It’s time for another look at the knitting resolutions.

1.  Clear the WIP queue from last year by the end of the month.
March down too, little to no progress.   Maybe by the end of the year eh?   I’ve re-started work on the lingering pair of socks that were struggling with second sock syndrome and should be done with those in a few days.   As some kind of explanation, they’re toe up (NOT a fan of toe-up socks) and rather complicated – not something you can really take along with you to stitch n’ bitch.   However, they are gorgeous and will be my first completed socks using the infamous Wollmeise.   I managed to get a spot on the sock club for this year and haven’t been doing the yarn justice yet.   I really hope to share those with you soon!

3. Knit one pair of socks per month
Pattern: Lorna’s Laces basic socks
Designer: Kim Haesemeyer
Needles: US  2 (2.75 mm)
Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock Multi
Ravelry Project Link

4.  Spin four ounces of roving per month.
Got that too.   Posted the results of that here.

8. Participate in another test knit.
See the socks above!   When the pattern is available, I’ll put the link here.

Today’s scores

Today was a *busy* day.  I had to go into Philadelphia to drop off the husband’s entry for a homebrew competition so I figured I would take the train and walk around the city for the afternoon.  After dropping off the homebrew, I went down to Spool.  They have a bunch of super cute fabrics, but they’re pricier than I’m used to spending for a yard.  So, I headed out to Fabric Row and found myself at the Pennsylvania Fabric Outlet.  For less than $20, I picked up 6 buttons for a baby sweater, 12 zippers, and a little over 4 yards of fabric.  The fabrics are reproductions of prints from the 1800s.  TOO COOL.

There is also handspun. This is spun from superwash merino roving from dkknits and was my March fiber club delivery. It clocks in as a sport weight, 384 yards, and is destined to become legwarmers. The colorway is called, “Big Black Horse and a Cherry Tree,” after the song, and I think Becky 100% did it justice. It’s soft and squishy and super lofty and I’m just in love.

Today Was Absurd.

Today was ABSURDLY INCREDIBLE, that is.

Got up at 7am and was out of the house by 8:30 to make the 10am-1pm class at Loop with Franklin.   Franklin brought his Introduction to Lace class to Philadelphia and when I got the Loop newsletter about it, I signed up right away.   This was, no joke, the first real knitting class I have ever taken.   Franklin, in his calm  and witty way, took us through the history of knitted lace and lace knitting (two different things!)  which I found particularly fascinating, being somewhat of a history geek.   There was talk of technique, a demonstration of Nupps, all while we worked  through a pattern  that Franklin designed.   I got a whole repeat done and even got a decent start on the applied border at one end.   There aren’t really words in my exhausted brain right now to express how much I loved this class, but I can tell you that I liked it.   I liked it a lot.


After the class was over, I had to book out of Loop and cross all applicable appendages that one can cross while driving and hope that I got home in time to make it to my next item on the agenda.   Naturally, Philadelphia traffic failed me as there was bridge construction and then a HUGE OIL SPILL over a bridge I need to take to get home.   Naturally, by the time I realized that I should turn around, I was  stuck between two walls of Jersey dividers with no way to go anywhere but insane with the stopped-dead traffic.   It finally cleared out and managed to get home with five whole minutes to get the dogs out, watered, fed, and back out the door.

Then, it was on to the Fonthill Castle in Doylestown, PA.   It had been on the list of places-to-go ever since we moved here and a friend and I finally made the trip.   No joke, I could spend a whole day there and just not be tired of the place.   The six story concrete castle was built by Henry C. Mercer (and a dozen local farm boys) in 1916.   He used tiles from his tile works to decorate nearly every square inch of the inside.   On top of the tile, he used scavenged and recycled materials, picking up old dressers and reusing drawers inside concrete dressers.   Broken mirrors were scavenged for their frames and hung lovingly with beautiful engravings and prints.   He even used scrap metal fences and various other metal material for reinforcing his concrete pillars and walls.    He was a  true believer in the arts and crafts movement, and I’d even go so far as to call his house a ‘green’ house with all the recycling and reusing that he did.   It’s kinda interesting that people now are reclaiming glass for countertops when he was doing similar things back in the early 1900s.   It’s a completely overwhelming experience and definitely one I’d enjoy repeating.   We even managed to get on the behind-the-scenes tour later in the evening which took us all the way up to the top of the highest tower and to the crypt/basement, all of the places that are not normally seen on the regular tours.   Sadly, no photography is allowed inside the museum (it was making me all itchy, not being able to capture all that incredible beauty) but I have a few photos from outside.

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As the perfect end to the day, when I got home, there were two wiggly dogs to greet me.    They graciously let me give them belly rubs and a big long group hug.   Perfect end to a really spectacular day.   Now I believe it’s time to haul my tired self into bed and fall into a blissfull sleep  and dream of beautiful lace and concrete castles.     🙂

She sews too

After a minor website outage (fixed quickly by the crack team at Dreamhost), I’ve got a small update.

Not only does she knit, she sews!   I’ve been in love with those great little boxy bags that people get for their knitting projects.   I have to hem most of the pants I buy thanks to a genetic defect (ie. Shortness), so I thought, hey, I can do this.   There’s a great tutorial by Patchy Apple here that I found it super easy to follow.   The resulting bag was put together and given to my friend Debbie for her birthday, but I have the photographic evidence that it exists and plan to make more! I modified the directions slightly and used two basic fabrics with a layer of canvas inbetween. I couldn’t find fusible fleece and that seemed to work out just fine – just the two fabrics would’ve left the bag much too floppy.

Sunshine Surf Scarf

This is another one of those great spun-to-finished projects that I love doing.  

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The yarn is fingering weight and a three ply. I just divided the roving into three parts that weighed about the same. This is my first three ply since I got the SpinOlution lazy kate and put her to the test. It worked out great and the resulting yarn was so squishy and soft.

The Scarf! It’s longer than I am tall (5’4″) and is soft and puffy and squishy. Orange probably isn’t my favorite of all the colors, but I LOVE how this knitted up and how incredibly soft it is. I decided not to block the scarf since I loved the bubbly and rippled texture that the dropped yarn overs give the fabric. It’s been worn a bunch of times and has gathered a number of compliments.

Pattern: Morning Surf Scarf
Designer: Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer
Needles: US 5 (3.75 mm)
Yarn: Handpun from Crown Mountain Farms superwash merino roving, colorway “Sunshine of your Love”

Ravelry Project Link–