Happy Birthday, MOM!

Here we are…another February 6th has rolled around!  There’s lots to celebrate today!  First, it’s Mom’s birthday!  Happy Birthday, Mom!   Here’s Mom with all the knits…

Appropriate because it’s also the FogKnits third anniversary, here at the blog and over on Etsy.

In honor of today’s special occasions, I’m pleased to announce a new collaboration with Mom and some new products in the FogKnits Etsy shop!  Without a doubt, all of my creativity comes from my Mother.  She’s got an impressive array of creative skills, from cake decorating to yarn dying.  Today, we’re showcasing her skills as a seamstress!

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The FogKnits Etsy shop now has a variety of large, cotton, drawstring project bags.  All handmade by Mom!  She’s got a great selection of fabrics and she really took it to heart when I suggested a LARGE size!   In addition to just being big, each bag has a gusset bottom so it expands into a very roomy project bag, easily accommodating sweaters and even afghans in progress!  I kinda wanna keep them all!

Find all the details in the shop at www.FogKnits.etsy.com.

I’ve added some new knits as well so check those out too!   Thanks for 3 great years of knitting chat and inspiration.  I appreciate all the comments and suggestions!  I can’t wait to see what the next chapter brings!  (HINT:  Knitting for Baby)  Stay tuned for all the details!


 

Dream Job

One of my favorite things about being between jobs is having time to walk places.  San Francisco has so many things to see.  Little bits of life here and there.  Like the dismantling of the big Christmas tree, tourists in knee length parkas with flip flops and shorts, street sign pranks, sunsets, the peace plaza in japantown.

That street sign especially cracked me up.  That’s supposed to say Van Ness.  Only in San Francisco would someone turn it into a leather daddy reference.  It gives me hope for the future of the city.   Long live the leather daddys and all the other weirdos that flock here.

It’s not a far jump from graffiti to public art.  I’ve had several discussions in recent weeks about public art.  San Francisco, despite all the other troubles in the world, still finds a few dollars to fund public art.  A recent Civic Center project is something near and dear to my yarnie heart.   A large scale yarn bomb installation!

It’s rolled out in stages.  You got a first glimpse back in August with phase one, tree wraps in the Civic Center Plaza.

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The next phases of the project were designed with community input.  Some arts commission took charge of the project.  In reality, this was part of a marketing scheme to re-brand the Civic Center & UN Plaza as one new location referred to as ‘The Commons’.  Whatever.  That’s less important to me than the fact that they paid people to do this.

They’re a pair of sisters based just a bit south of here and they’ve worked with big names like Old Navy and Lyft, as well.  They’ve been quite successful at making a living by yarn bombing.  This project, though, clearly elevated itself from a humble marketing beginning to a grand display of art.

In addition to the initial color scheme, the community also got to choose two more criteria for the project.  Those choices gave us animals, fitting the theme of ‘land, sea and air’…

…in the form of giraffes, cephalopods (sorry, I forget if they’re squids or octopuses) and local favorite, the Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill.

Unfortunately, the junkies and the meth-heads don’t appreciate the beauty these critters bring to the neighborhood.  They’ve been substantially damaged.  I’m bummed I didn’t get down there sooner.  The poor parrots have gotten the worst of it.

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Poor guy.  The cephalopods have lost limbs as well.  They’re still looking good thanks to height though.

Same with the giraffes.  The high points still look good.  They’ve almost entirely lost their feet though.  Poor fellas.

The amount of time & detail that’s gone into each of these pieces is amazing!  They’re so fabulous.  Definitely look for them, if you happen to be local.  They won’t last forever and they’re worth seeing.  They are guaranteed to put a smile on your face!

So, if you know anyone who wants to pay $50K for a knitted art installation, yarn bomb or otherwise…send ’em my way.  I’d love it so much, I wouldn’t even complain about being a 1099 contractor and having to provide my own benefits.  Unless you know someone who wants me on the payroll full-time, I’m okay with that too!  In the meantime, I’ll be updating my resume!  Happy Knitting!


 

Big Plans

Have you seen the new 2018 Ravelry Project Challenge?  Once again, Casey has added an absolutely brilliant feature.  I never knew I needed it but shortly, I’ll be wondering how I ever lived without it?

You can find your personal challenge page on a notebook tab labeled ‘challenge’.  It’s the very last tab.  When you get there, you’re asked to set a personal goal (which can be modified at any time).  The goal is simply the number of projects you want to complete this year.

 

I set my goal at 40 projects, 2 more than 2017.  It was an arbitrary decision.  The project challenge for me is not about metrics.  I pretty much hate the word ‘metrics’.  I would never judge my knitting by metrics.  Quality is vastly more important to me than quantity.

I love the tracking features of the project challenge though.  Here’s what my Challenge tab looks like so far.

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It shows my progress to date, meaning the projects I’ve marked ‘finished’ in 2018.  It also tracks my plans, meaning the items in my queue I’ve assigned a deadline too.  I use my queue as a general catch-all for any pattern I may, possibly want to make.  I try to keep it a manageable size, you know, only 30 pages.  When I go looking for a pattern, I search my queue first.  If I don’t find something I like there, then I go to the full database and look for something new.  As a result, my queue isn’t a list of what’s next.   The project challenge, fills that hole perfectly!

You can see, I’ve finished two projects this year.  That’s 5%.  I’m on my way!  Unfortunately, it’s been raining so my usual spot on the fence for FO photos is too wet.  I’ll have photos to share soon enough, though.

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In the meantime, rainy days are perfect for winding yarn and planning new projects.  I’ve set deadlines for 3 projects.  Of course, they’re arbitrary.  I wasn’t really convinced I liked the project challenge just yet.  Once I set my deadlines though, the projects were pulled over to the challenge page and that was it. I officially love the project challenge.

And, if it’s on the list, it’s time to cast on!  First pick:

Striped Asymmetry.  I found it flipping through a magazine over the weekend.  Imagine my surprise to discover I had the suggested yarn, Woolfolk Tynd, in my stash, in the exact quantities needed even.  That’s a win requiring immediate cast on, if I’ve ever seen it!

The real draw to this project, though, is garter stitch short rows and a clever key hole.  There’s a hole left on one end of the shawl to tuck the other end through.  Perfect!  No more lost shawl pins!

After that, it’ll be a pair of WestKnits.  A pair of repeats, but you know what they say…if it ain’t broke…

The grey gradient skein is a self striping yarn from Gauge Dye Works destined to be a Dotted Rays.  The yarn pair on the bottom is MadTosh Pashmina in Cosmic Wonder Dust and Deep…to become a Batad.  It’ll be opposite the one in the picture…white/speckly wedges with gorgeous blue welted stripes.  I’ve wanted that Batad since I brought this pashmina home, 2 and a half years ago!  It’s time!

Yes, I think this should keep me busy until February!  If nothing else, I’m organized!  Thanks Ravelry!  Definitely check out the project challenge tab if you haven’t yet!  It’s awesome!


 

 

 

 

 

WIP Wednesday – The Bike Project

Welcome to 2018!  I’ve got my first FO of the year already (and my first opportunity to complain about weaving ends! I don’t know why I always want to knit stripes?!)  I really want to wear it, so I’m motivated to get it done.  Still though, I procrastinate.

I’m working on a little bike sweater project instead.

This is the bike.

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And this is the sweater…

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The intention is bright.  Fingers crossed it’s playful and fun without crossing the line into garish.  I think I’m on the right track so far.  Stay tuned…this is only the beginning!


 

Knitsmas

Despite swearing off the holiday knitting trend each year, December 15th typically finds me elbows deep in knitsmas panic.  Of course, this year is no different.   So I’ve got no knitting pictures to share.  At least not for another week.  Here’s a little hint though…

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I love a good stashbuster!

My publicly disclosed WIPs have been getting a little love.

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Only a little though.  I think I did 3 rows on ^this^ day.  There was more celebrating than knitting…

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My contract at work ended.  I stretched a six-month contract into more than a year.  That’s not too bad.  I marked the occasion with concerts and cocktails all weekend long.

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Soon though, I’ll have so much knitting to share, it’ll be unbelievable!  I’m going to swatch for my “christmas” sweater this week.  (meaning the sweater I start on Christmas Day not a holiday themed sweater).  It’s going to be blue and striped.  I’m going to use this yarn from last year.

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Noro Rainbow Roll.  I’m going to pair it with some unspun Icelandic Plutolopi.  Just gotta get through Knitsmas first!


 

Bill Murray, Jan Vogler & Friends

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Last night’s show was…??

I’m having trouble coming up with one word to sum it up.  I’m conflicted about it.  On one hand, the musicians were fabulous and delivered a performance worthy of their world renown.  On the other, some artistic choices were questionable, tone-deaf at the bare minimum.

Here’s the setup:

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The stage setup was minimal and the lighting was sparse.  The colors changed slowly between songs but not during the segments.

From left to right, Bill Murray, Mira Wang on violin, Vanessa Perez at the piano and Jan Vogler with the cello.

The show was about two hours, including the multiple encores.  In the beginning, the narration was quite separate from the music.  Bill did a reading, the musicians followed him with a selection.  The theme, in a broad sense, was American classics.

Bill’s first few readings were Ernest Hemingway, Walt Whitman and James Fenimore Cooper.  The music following was Bach, Schubert and Ravel.

As the evening progressed, the narration merged with the music and by the end, I’d say we even got a few ‘songs’.   The show ended with a West Side Story medley of Somewhere, I Feel Pretty and America.   The first encore was El Paso, a Marty Robbins song familiar to me through the Grateful Dead.  The second encore was Angel of Montgomery, unlike no version of the song I’ve ever heard.

Now for the complaints, one selection in particular, a reading from the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  The controversy over this one is a well known one, stemming from the prolific use of the n-word.  In today’s atmosphere, I have a problem with a room full of white people sitting, literally, at the top of the hill, listening to it.

With all of the conversations about race going on these days, I don’t think this selection added to it.  I’m sure the rationale for including it is a convenient soundbite about the importance of having such discussions and this is just another example being brought to the table.  Blah Blah Blah.  If that was the case, I missed the part where meaningful discussion was had.  To me, it was an old white guy using inappropriate language.   There wasn’t any context for including it.  It was just presented.  Given the plain presentation, it’s left to the listener to come to their own conclusion.  My conclusion:  meh.  If I was the producer, it would have been cut.

Of all the works selected, having one poor choice isn’t huge.  Still though, it seems like an obvious candidate for replacement.  Interestingly, the Huck Finn selection is one track not available to stream on Amazon.  All the other tracks are available but the Huck Finn track is listed as ‘album only’.  I’m curious about that.

The other ‘artistic’ choices fall under the umbrella of sexism.  I think the ladies, exceptionally talented and passionate artists, were relegated to the role of props.  Bill made his entrance at the top of the show flanked by them, holding hands.  It just felt off.  I doubt these women made entrances like this at other performances and I doubt it was their idea.   It colored the entire show.  These talented women were not treated as equals.  And we all know who got the biggest paycheck on that stage.  It was certainly not the women.

At another point in the show, during a cello-piano duet, Bill and Mira, the violinist, did a bit of tango.  They did a little toe-point step in hold and then opened into a little spin from Mira.  Lather. Rinse. Repeat.  It stuck out being the only choreography of the night.  Beyond that though, Mira was ‘summoned’ to dance and throughout most of it, her back was to the crowd.  Again, it just felt off.  It wasn’t natural and it was a bit out of place.

Given the time we live in, I think it’s appropriate to call out sexism and racism.  These are small things to be sure, coming from an old white guy though, it doesn’t sit right with me.  Was the show awful and terrible? no.  Was it tone deaf?  Yes.  That’s the most generous way to put it.  The intention was not to be offensive.  It just fell a bit short of amazing and genius and all the other praised heaped on.

It makes me think, Bill surrounds himself with Yes Men and people are so smitten just being around him, they don’t call him on it.   To read reviews, specifically of the Huck Finn track, calling it genius and a breath of fresh air seems like a cult of personality to me.   I don’t agree with those assessments.

Oh well, can’t win ’em all.  Most of it was good.  I just can’t give it rave reviews like everyone else but I’m not writing letters demanding my money back either.  It was a fun experience.  Frankly, the sweater is bigger than the show for me.  The show is just sort of an aside.  A cap to the whole experience that started when I read a ridiculous call for a Bill Murray art show.  Obviously there’s a cult of personality involved here.  Who am I kidding?  That was a given from day one.

The most unexpected part of the evening:  the number of hecklers.  Fools in the very back row (naturally) shouting things like ‘THIS SUCKS’ at the quiet moments.  They were shut down quickly and loudly by people around them.  I think it was two gentlemen in particular, maybe it was actually 3 though.  They reminded me of the people who yell ‘FREEBIRD’ at concerts.  LOL.  Poor guys, apparently they thought they were coming to see a comedian do stand up?  The first 20-30 minutes were rough for them.  Bach and Schubert are certainly not Freebird.

The best part of the evening:  Talking to people about my sweater :)  People were interested and amazed, so that was fun.  After all the work that went into it, two sentences doesn’t do it justice but you’ve heard about it all already, so I’ll spare you the repetition.

It’s on to new knitting now.  I’ve got a little bit of time for Christmas knitting and I’ve been jonesing for hat binge.  I haven’t knit a hat since August and that was only my second of the year.  I’m ready!  Bring on the hat binge! It’s gonna be good!!


 

Random Goings On

Bill Murray has a ‘band’.

The tour is coming to San Francisco.  I bought tickets.  The Bill Murray Sweater officially has a deadline.  December 8th.  Time to get on it.

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I think it’s really going to be more of a vest?!?


That said, instead of working on that particular project, I’m cast on with this:

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I attempted to trade my Fade to Yellow skein for a Concrete & Tulips skein — aka the rainbow and grey colorway.  It didn’t quite go down that way though.  One enterprising Raveler talked me into trading her a skein of Miss Babs’ Yowza.  It was a color I really wanted but…I wanted this more!

It’s can’t wait!  It’s a self striping yarn but instead of consistent lengths of each color, the colors get progressively longer.  Instead of a big fat stripe of red at the top and little tiny stripe of blue at the bottom, the stripes will all be the same height.  It’s definitely a minor detail to the untrained eye but knitters have been geeking out over it for a while.  This yarn was quite hard to get for a minute there.

I’m sure stripe magic will take over and it’ll be done in a jiffy!


Of course, the only reason I’m allowed to cast on anything at all, Marled Magic is almost completely finished.  Just a bit of end weaving left.  The braid & the tassel turned out just right.  A bit fiddly at first but third time was the charm!

Stay tuned for full photos…they’ll be along soon.

In the meantime, it’s the weekend!  Wooooooooo!