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December 30, 2005

yikes, a self portrait

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I just finished the big picture's kyle scarf & patty hat patterns. Of course I'm feeling momentarily satisfied but then sets in the big question . . . Will I actually wear this? Having just skipped off to the loo to admire my creation, I've returned praying I won't end up on you knit what? Seriously, chunky is fun, but perhaps I'm crazy thinking I'll have an opportunity to sport this hat in San Francisco?! Who am I kidding? It rarely drops below 50º here. I think this hat warrants a minimum of 40º, don't you? I'm justifying keeping it since the hat was easy to knit, taking only about half an hour. If I only wear it once (does tonight count?), so be it. I can always sleep in it since these old Victorian homes get pretty damn drafty.

December 29, 2005

biggie print progress

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I made some serious progress last night on the kyle pattern scarf. Of course I stayed up too late racing the clock thinking I could finish it. I still have about eight inches to go, and then I must add the fringe. Since my last knitty post, I did end up frogging the scarf again since I was incorrectly slipping the stitches knit-wise rather than purl-wise. Expert "knitting fiend" Lucia thought I may not have needed to start over because I probably wouldn't see the difference since the yarn is super bulky. However, I re-did it anyway and am much happier with the overall look of the pattern (with no mistakes!) and I'm satisfied that I've learned a lot about slipping stitches. Slipping purl-wise kept each slipped stitch from having an unnecessary additional twist. Here's a close-up of the giant stitches (Rowan's biggie print yarn in humbug):

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December 28, 2005

delicate paper umbrellas

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It was a dark and stormy morning. Fortunately my perpetual tardiness saved me from being caught in the torrential downpour. See, there's always a silver lining. Is it possible that I'm not depressed anymore? When I say shit like that you'll think I'm cured.

It's way to work wednesday, again. While passing by the store fronts on 16th street I saw this delicate Japanese paper umbrella mobile hanging in the window of EyeDare. Since it's a grey day I went with a nostalgic black and white effect. This weekly "way to work" project is making me stop, even if just for a minute, and take notice of that which I normally ignore. I'm liking the contrived structure. Though I have mixed feelings about how quickly seven days feel like they pass when you catalog them like this. Which reminds me of the ever increasing panic I'm having about my limited time here on earth. See, doesn't take long for me to rip a hole in any silver lining.

Those who are awake live in a constant state of amazement. Jack Kornfield

December 27, 2005

the technorati made me do it

Technorati Profile

Still figuring out what this blog search tool/service is...and to prove I am who I say I am, I had to paste this link into my blog. Boring eh? And free publicity for them, irritating.

Looks like they may know the under-water weirdoos at Squidoo. they use the same clunky giant then small type link treatment. Suspicious.

elements of style

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My ever brilliant little sister has given me a great christmas gift that may actually serve to make me smarter and you not so annoyed by the plethora of my grammatical errors. I freely admit to having cut most of my classes starting freshman year. It's a long sordid story. When I finally started attending classes regularly again, sometime during my junior year, I still wasn't paying too much attention. Needless to point out the utterly obvious, but seeing that I haven't practiced writing (or math), much past seven grade (I didn't attend eighth grade at all, but that was my wicked step mother's idea) it's a wonder my sentence structure makes any sense at all. Are you still following? Wait! There's hope. This gift is the perfect picture book meets manual which I'm sure Maira designed just for me! (No?! ok, really she dedicated it to her own ungrammatical family) It's Strunk and White's The Elements of Style illustrated by Kalman. I'm inspired; it's perfectly adorable. (*Note the semicolon. Elementary Rule No. 5 "Do not join independent clauses with a comma. If two or more clauses grammatically complete and not joined by a conjunction are to form a single compound sentence, the proper mark of punctuation is a semicolon.) I love Maira's painterly style and the whimsy with which she approaches her subjects. Now I have to start making up for lost time and begin the reading, writing, and applying all the grammatical rules therein. I'm sure I'll f**k up often. Feel free to write me and point it out. I can take it. (and look it up to see if you are correct)

December 22, 2005

knitty holiday finger

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'Tis the season, to question your holiday spirit. I haven't had anyone question mine. Guess I'm cheery enough, or not offensive enough to be noticed?! Hmmm, I'm going out for the latter and actually using the nifty little knitty christmas gift from the irreverent and of course totally fabulous (cause ray ray's all over this!) venabels bell & partner's holiday gift. And just to upset most of America...this finger puppet package was subversively addressed to my 13 month old son!

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Here is it world! And yes, I purposely chose to position my holiday finger at the united states for a terribly subtle political subtext in my grandiose "goodwill towards men" statement. For my knitting readers— Using a size 4 or 5 needle and yarn that that measures a 9 stitches per inch gauge, cast on 21 stitches, knit your tube in the round or across 3 double points in stockinet stitch until the piece measures 3 inches long. Then with wrong sides facing simply sew one end seam closed, then turn right side out and, voila! Fits most standard adult size middle fingers. Be sure to choose a yarn with a little sparkle for that added extra spirit.
Happy Holidays.

December 21, 2005

wannabe reindeer

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My way to work morning was hellacious. I arrived at bart sometime before 9:00 am and noticed on the way down the escalator that it was unusually crowded. But this happens every now and again when a train hasn't been by too recently. I had no idea that a train hadn't been by in about a half hour. An announcement came on the pa system "Richmond train in ten minutes" and while that's a long wait, what can I do about it? I just push myself a little closer to the black tiles on the ground which indicate where the doors open, this way I can make sure to get on the train if space allows (bart's form a line etiquette goes out the window when there's a crowd). So about another 10 minutes go by and another announcement comes on saying there's a delay of about 10-15 minutes due to some debris on the tracks. Huh. Then another announcement about 5 minutes later saying the same thing only the delay time increases to 15-20 minutes. Then again about ten minutes later the same announcement only the time increases to 25-30 minutes. Obviously this is going down hill, and the debris isn't simply a tree branch but more likely something they aren't willing to share with the general public. I haven't yet mentioned to you that at 10:00, I have my once a year meeting with all the executive staff to review the annual report options I've designed. This is probably the only meeting that matters for me each year and therefore I really shouldn't miss it. Swell eh, pressure's on! And to make it just a little more complicated, it's also raining and taxis in SF are notorious for never being around when you need one. My only saving grace is that I ran into a colleague who would legitimized my claims. I also almost talked us both into going to Tartine for pastries instead of going to work at all. Would have been lovely. It all worked out eventually, as these things always do. I was able to flag a taxi at about 9:45 and got to work at 10:01. Lucky me.

So then what's this "way to work wednesday" image about you ask? Why it's about the treat I had at lunch of course, and I don't just mean the little celebration libation...it was the pleasure of sitting next to a table of wannabe reindeer. Wowsers! I took a wrong turn and ended up at the north pole, or these people are a little too festive? No kidding, they wore their antlers the whole time I was there.

December 20, 2005

knitty gritty

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I've recently been torturing my husband by filling the tivo to the brim with knitty gritty espisodes. Although, it's not the "hipster" knitting it claims to be, the demonstrations are really helpful and informative, so watching them knit is not the total bore you might imagine (but then again, I actually like knitting). When they do a close up with the "knitty cam" (they use lots of silly terminology on the show such as calling the guests "knitsters") you do end up really understanding the subtle details of yarn overs, cabling, wrap arounds, etc that help make your knitting more interesting. If only the show wasn't so overly scripted and if the "knitsters" actually asked questions that were relevant, or talked about their own ideas and inspirations, then that would be the start of a truly engaging program on knitting (but for the record, this show is way better than "knit one, purl two" which is super dry, boring, and the host's thick french accent is insurmountable). The "knit bits" can also be somewhat informative even if the skits that accompany the info are, sorry to say it again, pretty dumb. However, I did learn a bit that has me starting my chunky biggie print kyle scarf all over yet again, geeeeee what fun. Turns out when you slip a stitch it's always "knit-wise unless it says other-wise". That's helpful and with the rhyme I may actually remember it, wish I knew that earlier. But now that I've started over, I'm not sure I see the difference? However there is this other bit "normally when stitch pattern directions tell you to slip but don’t specify knitwise or purlwise, the knitter is expected to slip the stitches purlwise" this contradictory information is causing me great angst. Anybody want to help me out with the right way to go on this issue?

December 17, 2005

not even a foot long

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I was going to make this for a christmas gift, but unfortunely I ordered the yarn, pattern and needles from theknittinggarden.com, which doesn't inform you during the ordering process if an item is out of stock, and low and behold the Rowan biggie print "mermaid" yarn I wanted for the Kyle pattern was...yes, you guess it, on back order. So waiting, waiting, waiting, turned into a 15% off discount if I was willing to change the yarn. I went for it, switched my yarn choice to "humbug" (feeling that vibe right about now) and I received the yarn about three days ago. Uh, eight days before Christmas, and not even a foot long into the scarf, I surrender. Perhaps I'll keep it for myself, or save it for a later gift to some unknown chunky knit lover I have yet to meet. Since the secret-ness of the project is no longer an issue, I'll be blogging my progress. Here's the lovely Rowan photo from big picture, and my starting photo below. I don't want to dis the knitting garden in any way other than saying how frustrating it was not having the option to back out since the site doesn't inform you when a yarn is back ordered. I think their site is easy to use and they have a good selection.

As an aside, I had a wee bit of trouble at the beginning because I haven't ever knit with a yarn forward, slip 1, knit 1, pass slip stitch over in the pattern. At first, I got mentally tangled thinking the pass slip stitch over would have me decreasing into no-where-ville. Took me a few tries (and a lame help email to Rowan, who were very responsive and actually helpful, thank you) to master the yarn forward which creates the increase and the pass slip stitch over which decreases, so all stays at the same number cast on. Phew. I'm good to go.

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December 15, 2005

letterpress III, Part III

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A long but fruitful evening spent printing the last part of our little book of quotes. My printing partner Jason and I spent most of the time perfecting our complicated lock up and adjusting the tight alignment and registration. We printed three of our pages all at once using a brown ink we mixed on press. It was a long set up, but a satisfying print run once we got it perfected. The class ran way over the allotted time, so we hardly had enough time to put our type back in the cases let alone clean the press. We weren't able to print covers and bind the books as we'd hoped. I'm going to attempt the japanese binding this afternoon, time permitting. I'm have to teach myself how to from diagrams...fingers crossed that I'll figure it out.

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December 14, 2005

keep an eye on your little ones

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It's traveling around email boxes right now, However I couldn't help posting it.

i'm really jaded

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...worn out, tired and truly lacking in spirit. I see these two walking to bart quite often and every time I think, how do they manage to walk with their arms wrapped so tightly around each other? I kid you not, they're full body embracing every single time I see them. To ad nauseam to my visual experience, they deep throat for as long as possible before they part on different trains, she goes downtown and he outta town. It's really too much, such overt exhibitionism. I'm compelled to look away. But then I start thinking about being young and in love and I think I'm just an old jaded married woman. Perhaps this is a wonderful expression of passionate love and they really can't bear to be parted. As I think back, I was never like that, no matter how off my rocker I was about some guy. Walking hand in hand is sweet. Walking with your arms wrapped all around each other is actually difficult and creates balance issues not to mention width problems when passing others on the sidewalk. Ok, too much thinking about this?! I'll just count this as another bit of evidence proving I'm severely jaded and excessively practical, a great combo.

On another note, Frontline had an interesting (albeit sickening to think about) program on marketing/advertising "persuaders" and how the corporation tries to manipulate us by controlling our culture. It was gross to think about how deep the manipulation goes. There is even a French guru, Clotaire Rapaille, who is one of many market researchers claiming to have figured out consumers' hidden desires. Ad agencies flock to his mansion (and drink champagne while admiring his fancy cars) to learn the "reptilian" hot-buttons that compel us to buy. Grotesque!!

December 12, 2005

frogged again

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Yet another project that didn't make it. I was knitting the matching cutie patootie hat round and round on double pointed needles when somehow I noticed that each needle only had 18 stitches. Doh, I hate math! Each needle should have 20 stitches for a total of 80 'cause I'm supposed to be knitting the med/large in the parenthesis. Guess I wasn't fully conscious while casting on and started the small version. Ooopsie, yet again, arrrggg. I'm way too tired to start tonight. Will try again some other time.

all is lost

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I can't even begin to count the ways in which I love Morning Edition on NPR/KALW. I'm not alone since they claim 13 million people listen of which even a fraction who might love the show is still too many. Since it's pretty much my only source of news, information and sometimes inspiration, I drink it up, ok gulp it down. Today I'm swirling, sniffing and sipping the Gustave Flaubert quote they read on air, To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost. Then I surfed a little and found this one too Nothing is more humiliating than to see idiots succeed in enterprises we have failed in. Pretty much summarizes my daily torture, oh Gus. I feel like a moth being drawn to a flame because I constantly dream of succumbing to my selfish stupidity and going into a really crowded business market filled with a plethora of successful idiots. Sadly I'm thinking I too can find happiness?! I just hope it won't be the death of me, but not doing it feels like it surely will. Quelle est la différence?

December 8, 2005

tufte cookie

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I feel like my data integrity chakras were realigned today (my Marin roots are showing!). Thanks Mr. Tufte-info cookie. Edward Tufte's lecture was the kick in me old design arse I was looking for. The over arching theme I walked away with was " does your content have integrity and relevance?" or " get better content" (damn it!) "DESIGN CAN NOT SALVAGE POOR CONTENT." There's a quote I may frame or a mantra I may repeat ad nauseam. He also got my attention on "respect your audience" don't assume who they are (and therefore design for the underestimating least common denominator a.k.a "the know your audience" mentality). He reminded me to rise up and do better. Yep, that's the impression left on my bootie, thanks Eddie. I also walked away with three gorgeous books too deep with information to truly comprehend (ok I can, but I probably just won't cause life is short and there are so many pastries to distract my eyes and mouth). But I had a great time today, thank you, and I was reminded to care about my work even if I'm not getting any support from my colleagues, company or the outside world. Oh and I got a serious tickle from the "Tedious British Watercolor Exhibition" label in one graphic and Tufte's overarching hatred of PowerPoint. ME TOO!!!

December 7, 2005

letterpress III part II

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Still high from the clean up chemicals. Well, really just punchy from staying up way past my bedtime. Keeping this short, but I wanted to post the fun photos I took while printing my two color Oscar Wilde quote. It just worked out that one press was running a metallic pale pink and another an olive green. I'm loving the results. Yeah, finally some satisfaction. And again, I'm loving the art of letterpress. Worth every penny. The letterpress printer shown here is the Vandercook 4.

yawn. nighty, night.

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bahhhh humbug

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It's a dreary day indeed. Besides the über hectic morning struggling with sick baby, UPS deliveries, negotiating with potential non-english speaking hires, all before nine am??!@#!(*&! Then there's my boring day designing for an all-committee, no aesthetic, throw in the kitchen sink kinda crowd. Now I'm blah, blah, blogging about it and it's boring too. My apologies. It's also raining. Fitting.

On a positive note, looking forward to finishing my type set up and printing during tonight's letterpress class. I'm going early if possible...I will try to remember to take a picture of some part of the process. And I'm very excited about my humbug yarn purchase for a secret santa knit gift. Big fat size 35 needles coming my way, what fun.

December 5, 2005

cutie patootie

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Just finished the "cutie patootie" kimono style baby sweater last night. I am in love with the watery blue-green debbie bliss cotton angora yarns and the shiny, perfectly matching shell buttons I found. I actually started this project many, many months ago when Max was just about six months old. I thought I could finish it before he was nine months, ha ha ha! Knitting anything takes forever when you only do it an hour here and there once a week. I ended up forgetting about it for a while (I do that with knit projects which is why I need to have more than one going at a time) and then when I finally picked it up again, and had finished the all the pieces, I read the finishing details..which are crochet! I crocheted once, a long, long time ago and have no memory for it, let alone the ability to even read a crochet pattern. Fortunately Sonya, my machine knitting teacher, was kind enough to give me a quick private lesson so I could complete this sweater. Thank you Sonya! I went a little nutty part way through the pattern and lengthened the sleeves, thinking this would be a good idea for my giant baby. Alas it was not a great idea, so I won't be doing that ever again. My proportions are all wacky now with a long arm and short waist look. Oh well. It actually fits Max right this second. Today may be his only wearing?! I've started the hat too because I think I have just enough yarn to finish it, may as well eh? But defiantly not doing all those weird i cords.

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December 3, 2005

renegade, ready made, block party

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I had a great night out, which was some serious fresh air, thank you. After luckily flagging a taxi on my obscure San Francisco alley, I strolled through the crowded Hayes valley block party with my enjoyable evening's date, Ray. We noticed a great little show of two brother's illustration, paintings and a 3-d moving diorama at Tinhorn gallery/press. The works had a beautiful line quality and the oil paint was lusciously thinned out with tons of linseed and varnish. The works looked really luminous because they're painted on vellum paper and hung against a white background inside lovely deep box frame. The subject of hunters and log cabin living was fun, though a bit kitschy with a "seen that feeling," they were well done. This was the first of many inspiring moments from last night.

Next we checked out the Timbuk2 one night only, renegade store event. Hubby had come up with an inspired influencer idea ... Timbuk2 opened their future store for one night only, during the neighborhood's block party, creating a buzz about the later official opening in March. He had BASK and NAKA tag the front and the store was filled with product for just a few hours. What made the night really work was the full support of the bike messenger community. They showed up and hung out in front of the store giving all the credibility a marketer could ever ask for, and he never asked. Obviously the brand has legs. Nice. [and it's more than you want to know about me but, ... those guys are hot!]

Then off to a late entry at the fully picked over ReadyMade Magazine party. Looked like it was a good party, but most of the goods at the craft fair were gone, the bar line was ridiculously long, and only teeny bits of chocolate were left to eat. Fortunately we ran into lots of good friends to make it worth the while. Ray and I also found a a couple of impulse buys from a local artist. I can’t endorse her with an easy link, even though I bought a piece and like her work. She really pissed me off. She said she was wiling to bargain, as the night was over and it would spare her having to pack the pieces and take them home. Ray wanted two, and I one. She gave Ray a combo deal, so I thought I’d add another cute, very small bicycle piece to my purchase. I thought I'd hang it in Max’s room since at 13 months he already says "bicycle" {pronounced og'li'co"}. It was on the gallery wall marked at $15. Sita was terribly distracted not really even acknowledging me, which was rude enough, I mean christ the pen is in my hand and my checkbook is open {!}, but she then had the audacity to say the paintings were returned to the wrong places so the pricing was all messed up. Uh, hem. The larger piece I was purchasing was $30, but she wanted to sell me the tiny little bike for $40. I was writing a check for three other pieces and she wouldn’t come down on a tiny little bike with simple polka dots. Fine, I’ll make it myself, I thought, afterall I'm at a DYI party. Later I’m out in front chatting with some friends when up walks an acquaintance who whips out the cute little bike piece I wanted and quips, “How fun, I just got this darling little bicycle piece for $20 and I’m putting it in my son’s room." So now I say “ you suck Sita Rupe.” And yes, I‘m telling ten friends all about your pricing issues and posting your art above [well damn it, I do like it, so arrrggg you double suck, suck, suck, oh wait that's triple suck!]. Ok I'm just super bitter.

Then off we went to Slow Club for a lovely, delicious, and inspiring dinner with new friends. Two have just had their own baby, Branch, a sustainable product shopping site. What fun! Shop, shop, shop, the stuff’s cool and they’re very nice people too.

December 1, 2005

letterpress III part I

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My first question was, "Is there a job case for every state?" I wasn't sure if instructor Maia just didn't want to deal with me, the super heady questioning type of student, or if there really wasn't an answer... until now. Turns out the reason why it's called a California Job Case is a mystery even after you read the article I just linked to. I spent three hours last night setting four lines of type, sigh. Well, actually the first hour was a lot of talking about what we're going to learn and the job we'll create, which turns out to be a little book of quotes. And, as it happens, there was homework. Swell, first class starts with homework. I signed up early and my phone call was a short, simple, here's my credit card kind of transaction - no mention of homework. All the other students had been informed of the project and had come with their brilliant quotes in tow. Fortunately my fab "lifeline" lil' sister and beau were home when I called and quick with the suggestions. For the first quote I'm going with Oscar Wilde. I quickly scanned the room's cases and the type choice came easy, Palantino all caps at 16pt. It looks sophisticated but the serifs and caps make it a wee bit quirky. "ANYONE WHO LIVES WITHIN THEIR MEANS SUFFERS FROM A LACK OF IMAGINATION" I then struggled thinking I could find the perfect whimsical italic for the author line which when juxtaposed with the caps would say "Wilde" without actually saying it. But the Center for the Book only has a few font faces and within those, many only have a few random sizes. None felt right. I then searched every drawer looking for a dingbat, image or abstract shape that would inspire me or even just work with the quote and type size...NADA. I've since then decided to use a chrysanthemum floral polymer plate as a wallpaper background which I designed during the letterpress II class I took in August. That should give it a little texture and flamboyant interest while leaving all the umfph to the actual quote. I now had fifteen minutes to set my next quote, so ya, you bet I choose a short one by Pablo Picasso. "ART IS LIES" set in 72 point Michelangelo with one word on each line, left justified and the remaining text "THAT TELL THE TRUTH" set in 12pt horizontally centered to the right of the "IS". I didn't get it all done by 10 o'clock, so I'll be showing up early next wednesday evening to squeeze copper strips in between the lead spacers and hopefully keep my place in line for a two color job. As always, a late night was hard to manage the next morning, but then there's that creative after-glow I always enjoy. ah.