Sunday, October 18
Anyway, thanks for following along. I've been slow because I've been knitting. And I twisted my foot which hurt a whole lot and I felt sorry for myself, but it's better now. Just a little purple and swollen, but I can walk. OK, back to Tweedy Aran Cardigan.
One person reported trouble seeing the numbers on the schematic I posted. Sorry for the trouble. I was having photoeditting, blogger, and html trouble. Clicking on the photo in that last post will take you to flickr. Then, right above the photo you will see a mini magnifying glass and the words "all sizes". Click on that to see the schematic really big. Let's see what I can make work now though.
Ah, here's the back. Recall, this pattern comes in five bust sizes, 33.5, 38, 42.5, 47 and 51.5
So first look at the numbers of the schematic along the bottom of the back. Are they exactly one half the bust circumference? Mostly, yes, except not in the largest size. 25.25 times two is only 50.5. If that inch matters, then you will want to know if the error comes in the schematic or in the stated size.
Two issues. First, there's the math sloppiness. In order to know the true largest size, one would need to do some calculations.
Second. Where's the selvedge? I have seen way too many patterns that do not account for the selvedge stitches. Let me give an example. Suppose the gauge is 4 stitches to an inch and it is a pullover knit in two pieces. Design says finished sweater will be 36 inches at bust. So they say knit each of back and front to be 18 inches across, or 4x18 = 72 stitches. However, once you sew the two pieces together, you lose four stitches to the seam. That's a whole inch. The finished sweater really measures 35 inches. I've seen this in patterns for bulky weight as well, with the gauges of 2.5 or 3 stitches per inch. And I am not just talking freebies from random folks on ravelry, these are professional designers, both in magazines and self-published. I've browsed ravelry project pages of some of these and sure enough, for a decent percent of finished sweaters, the knitter mentions that it is smaller than anticipated. Pay attention. If you want to knit a sweater and a number of folks complain about the fit, check the numbers yourself. There's a decent chance the selvedge stitches weren't accounted for.
We do not know in this pattern whether the designer accounted for selvedge but just doesn't show us on the schematic, or if the design does not account for selvedge and thus will knit up too small. We'd have to calculate that ourselves.
Now, one of the best parts of this pattern is the waist shaping. Sadly enough, the IK stylists and editors from 2001 did not even photograph this aspect of the sweater! Fortunately we have ravelry and can browse the FOs to appreciate this detail. So, you choose a size, but how much of a waist shaping will you get?
Check out the schematic. My stars. If you make the smallest size, the waist shaping is in reverse, girth there will be bigger than at bust. The next size up, 38 inches, will give a waist decrease of two inches total, since the back indents by one inch. But then holy mother of saints! The largest size, with the 51.5 inch bust. According to the schematic, the waist shaping is NINE inches. Yup, that would mean a waist circumference of 42 inches. That is quite the hourglass figure, yes?
OK, so all this tells you is that the schematic figures are completely wrong. If you want to know how much waist shaping you will get you have to figure that out yourself.
We'll leave that for next time. Now I want to finish my sweater. See. I've knit the body as a unit and all I have left is to finish one front and then knit the collar. the second sleeve is already knit and ready to be sewn on.
Thursday, October 8
Frankly, I should be knitting out in the sunshine instead of doing this. But it just keeps bugging me. I thought about posting it on ravelry, but there's too much "only say nice things" etiquette there. I thought about posting a review on the Interweave Knits storefront for the pattern, but I'd have to create an account and it seemed like a hassle. I ought to do that anyway though, I would LOVE to know if IK would allow such candid comments in their review.
Pattern: Tweedy Aran Cardigan
Designer: Norah Gaughan
Source: Interweave Knits 2001 and then in a special limited release free e-book and now available for purchase at Interweave Knits.
Pros. This is a really cute cardigan with nice attention to detail. The waist shaping in particular makes for a professional look. A combination of twisted rib, "fancy" rib (a rib created with alternating left and right twists, like mini-cables) and some elegant and simple cable motifs.
Cons: Unfortunately, you will not know it's cute or that neat shaping from Interweave. The only photos are of a size 42.5 sweater on a model with perhaps a 32 inch bust and stick arms. She's probably petite as well, as the sleeves are way too long. There are no photos of the back or the sides that would show the nice waist shaping detail. Ravelry is your friend here. Lots of very well fitting sweaters AND photos of the details.
There are three problems with this pattern. The first seems well known (from browsing ravelry projects) although not listed officially anywhere. The waist shaping decreases 5 stitches from each side of the back (and five from each front), all in the twisted rib section. This is a crucial design element. However, in the 33.5 inch size, there are only Three stitches of twisted rib on each end. If you follow directions, you end up cannibalizing the cable. Oops.
Following the directions will result in the elongated cable lying right next to a column of twisted knit stitches. This is wrong. One really ought to have at least one column of purl stitches next to the cable. I put one column in (by starting and ending the twisted rib with a purl instead of a knit), and now that I am about half done the body, I wish I had put two columns. If you look Very Carefully at the original photo, it sure looks like there's a purl column there where it should be.
Now here's an issue I haven't seen noted elsewhere. (Although, several knitters on ravelry did have trouble getting their sleeves to fit, and some reknit or added a gusset.) The sleeves are pretty narrow, and get more narrow as a percentage of bust size as one goes to larger sizes.
The 33.5 size sweater has sleeve size (measured around upper arm) off 38% of bust, or 12.75 inches. The 51.5 size sweater has a sleeve size of only 30% of bust, or 15.5 inches. For a cardigan designed to be worn with a shirt underneath, with some positive ease, these numbers don't make a lot of sense.
For numbers that make even less sense, look at the schematic (you can click and make it bigger). This is from the ebook edition and matches the original magazine version exactly. (The ebook did correct and errata in the cable instructions.) For anyone who likes math and likes being appalled at arithmetic errors, enjoy. I just have to say WTF? Either Norah or some tech editor at Interweave is either pretty stupid or is making a nasty comment about their audience.
Tuesday, October 6
IF anyone who knits happens to stop by, would you mind answering a question?
Do you knit sweaters or garments or anything from published designs where size might be an issue? Do you care if the design has schematics? Do you check the schematics?
Sunday, May 24
One of your investors is not happy. Moreover, he is completely flummoxed why another investor (Bain?) is happy and willing to give more money to you.
So this VC guy is appalled at your business model. Says "Bill Nguyen is always on vacation and the CEO just looks confused."
And if this information isn't for public announcement. Well then, Rich, don't scream it into your iphone in public, ok?
Wednesday, March 4
One would think that having a new kindle2 and going to a book group would mean a show-and-tell. Alas, not the case. I had brought my kindle, in its gorgeous ultrasuede cover, but it stayed in my purse.
We even talked about kindles. Someone brought them up, someone else mentioned a Seattle Times article than "panned them." The career bookseller was pleased to hear that. (It didn't, not really.) Her livelihood is at stake. But most people had never seen a kindle and no one had seen a kindle 2. One person mentioned that a little wistful. But I was too chicken to get controversial. Little did they know they were about four feet away from one. The negative things they said about the kindle? Most of them weren't true.
Face it. Kindle or its competitors will change bookselling. And in some ways, it's about time. Sorry about that, but times change. There will still be a market for bricks and mortar bookstores, for real live booksellers, at least in the near future, but the times are changing.
- Like holding a book in your hands? Well, actually I don't. I find my hands hurt after too long holding a book open. And some books are heavy and awkward to hold. A kindle is like getting ergonomic bars on your bicycle. All of a sudden, many other hand positions are available and no more cramping.
- Multi-tasking. I like to knit, but that cuts into my reading time. I thought audiobooks would be the thing, but they aren't always appropriate. I can read a children's chapter book (big print) and knit, as long as the spine is already broken on the book. With the kindle, my reading while knitting options open up wide.
- No backlight? I love the fact that it doesn't have a light! It's easy on the eyes, easy on the power consumption, all around a win. I am fine with greyscale. Color is over rated.
- Weight of books. Several people mention being able to take lots of books on vacation, not running out if the plane is delayed. I also see this as the future of textbooks. My teen's backpack is lethal. There's no reason he should be carrying around all that weight all day. (sure there are lockers, but not enough for everyone and not enough time between bells to utilize it anyway.) Just think if all or most all textbooks were e-books. A savings all round.
- Formatting pdfs and blogs and newspapers. So it's a work in progress. I downloaded the free sample first chapter of my graduate school Algebra text to see how it handled the symbols and it was fine. I haven't tried a knitting pattern yet. I expect some will be frustrating, some might be fine.
- Not being able to share or resell books? I suspect that's a work in progress as well.
Book group last night. Six women. Five questions of "Why is this a Classic?" and "Why do we have teens read this?" (One woman arrived late. But she wasn't asking those questions anyway.)
Most said they didn't really understand the book until they realized how depressed Holden was. Another woman brought up bipolar as I considered, but really, I don't think we can say bipolar to be exact, but Holden is seriously depressed and having a manic episode. Very depressed, very out of control. So the ending is bleak because, given the time and culture, there isn't much hope of him getting proper treatment. Someone mentioned the self-medication with all that alcohol. Without proper treatment -- that's going to come right back.
So why do we have high school kids read this? One woman -- the one who brought up the bipolar and self-medicating -- said that she had read it as a young teen and thought then it was an adventure story. Hmmm. Just like Huck Finn is an adventure story. There's a thought. When the American Character group discussed Huck Finn recently, many were struck by how challenging it would be for teens. That the themes of race and the characterization of Jim were so brutal and needed perspective. Many were also struck by how awful Tom behaved. Tom in popular culture is not such an awful bully and brute; he's a fun kid who likes adventure! I don't believe in censoring books to kids, but I have often gotten uncomfortable when kids are reading books as adventure stories but missing --- on the surface --- the book's darker themes. Are they absorbing themes without consciously evaluating them? Think Jane Eyre as a romance, even though if today our BFF were involved with a Rochester, we ought to be very worried for her.
We had a lively discussion. One woman had researched themes on the internet and another woman bought the Spark Notes. Wow, often we discuss a book for all of ten minutes! These women were serious last night, they wanted to understand, to think! So a theme that resonated the most was that Holden really does not want to grow up. His ambivalence about sex, his issues with "applying himself" and on and on. Sure, this would resonate with teens, this does make for legitimate reason for teens to read it. Teens are ambivalent about growing up. Independence comes at a cost. Holden seems to have had a decently affluent childhood, but then his younger brother died and he gets sent away --- as all the boys of his culture are --- to boarding school, a brutal existence with no adult protectors. When he was young, no one protected him. Now all he can think of is to protect children. (Hmm, Ender's Game)
Is it all about sex? Sparknotes would have us believe that. In a way, probably. Everything is about sex. Holden is immature in some ways, but actually seems pretty mature in other ways, in conflicting feelings about wanting sex, but with whom? Sex with someone you like --- but do girls want it? How do you know when a girl says no because they mean it or because they want it but want to be able to deny that later? Or sex with someone you don't like? That's easier, but harder. He sees his peers following this route without compunction --- just one more way in which everyone is a phoney.
I get that he wants to save kids. I get that he wants to keep them from falling off the cliff. The most vivid scene I remembered from my reading as a teen (the only scene I remembered) was him trying to erase the "Fuck You" grafiti from his sister's school. I took it on the surface, just protecting kids. But big themes go further, he wants to protect kids' sexual innocence. Is it just about sex? (ah, the joys of high school. the one woman who said they read it for high school said they never mentioned sex.)
Well, he does take those two young boys to the mummy exhibit, even though he knows it will scare them. And maybe this explains the carousel pony on the cover of my copy. When Phoebe is on the carousel he comments about how kids will attempt to get the brass ring. How it is dangerous for them to attempt this but how we just have to let them do it anyway. Then he goes home and gets help.
I am struck by how yesterday I was stuck in the depression angle. Then discussing the book, we started with depression but were able to move on and appreciate many different aspects of the book and Holden. While acknowledging the depression, we were able to view Holden's journey apart from it. Unlike the protagonist of many children's and YA novels, Holden has two parents. Two relatively normal parents. So for his journey to make sense, it comes with a different cost. I just wish I didn't get the feeling that the book says that growing up requires mental illness. Or maybe I just wish that idea didn't resonate with me so much.
America is still a pretty young nation. Are we still wrestling with growing up? With sexual maturity? Does a bear shit in the woods? This book then seems awfully prescient, given how the 50s and 60s played out.
Tuesday, March 3
On one level, the answer is trivial. Holden Caufield is considered a quintessential American Character. A teen, 50's, boarding school, all popular topics. Many people know of Holden even if they haven't read the book. But is that the reason enough to include it in the list?
I suspect there's a bit more than that. I don't think it's an accident that Holden ends up in a psych ward in California. Just like Huck Finn & Jim, just like Jack Burden in All the King's Men, he doesn't fit in civilization and looks West for salvation and a place to call home. We never know if Huck and Jim make it. Jack lies around Long Beach, creates his own god -- The Great Twitch -- and goes back East where he belongs. Holden? What has California to offer him? What he needs is family, connections, support --- as well as professional psychological help. All he wants to do is save kids, but who will save him? California does have his brother, but only for an occasional visit. It doesn't have his sister Phoebe who probably needs Holden by now as much as he needs her. California implies that Holden is the problem and he can get fixed in isolation. California for therapy, chosen by his parents. How is it different from Holden's plan to run away to California, get a job pumping gas and pretend to be a deaf-mute?
Did Salinger mean to allude to Twain? Or is it just burned into the American psyche to look West to follow your dreams. Are we all a bunch of misfits out here?
I was planning to use some cut-up thrift store cashmere sweaters or other stash fabric to make a protective case for my kindle 2. But while I was at the fabric store this morning on an errand for Franz and was browsing the buttons, I stumbled upon the ultrasuede squares* and knew instantaneously that my kindle's case would
- be made of ultrasuede
- be made of these exact colors
- have a duck on the cover
- not just any duck, the duck from the duck stencil Zach had when he was a preschooler.
We do have the stencil. Before committing to it though, I browsed stencils and images on line. How about a nice elephant? They never forget and could hold tons of books in their trunk? Or a goose? Y'know, Mother Goose-ish? Oh, then I found a really cute owl. But no, none of those would do, it had to be a duck. This duck.
*They are called ultrasuede squares even though their dimensions are 9x12 inches.
Monday, March 2
I really disliked the book the last times I read it, but couldn't have told you why. I found the ending so depressing, so hopeless. This time, I enjoyed reading the book. I liked the voice. I was surprised. But then, at the end, I realized why I disliked the book in the past, why I thought the ending was so depressing when other people seemed to think it was hopeful.
Here's the thing. The book is not what most people seem to think -- a teenage rite of passage, a teen facing the normal angst of growing up. The book is a first person account of a psychotic break. Manic break, I would say, but I am no expert. The signs point to mania though. Many hours without sleeping or getting tired, staying awake even after consuming a lot of alcohol. Grandiose thoughts, poor judgment with money. The hallucinations near the end when he is afraid of falling every time he steps off a curb.
Because the person having the psychotic break is a teen, because that teen is intelligent and aware and empathetic and all that, it looks like a teen event, and because he is so articulate, it looks like something readers can identify with. But it is not a teen event. It is a psychotic break from reality. You don't treat them the same way. And it's not really his first break. When his brother died, he slept in the garage and used his fist to break all the windows. And he tried to break the windshield of the car, but by then his hand was broken. So, he got hospitalized to fix the hand, but no one seems to have considered that the fractured bones were not the problem.
That's the reason I find the ending depressing. He's not being treated as someone mentally ill, he is being treated as someone who needs to grow up, to "Apply himself." That's different. He's not going to get better that way. I don't know the state of medical diagnosis and treatment for bipolar disorder or even serious depression in the late 40's early 50's when the book was written. Electroshock? Worse? We don't even have an avuncular Judd Hirsh to give us a Hollywood moment and make it all better. Holden, hater of Hollywood that he is, would have declared that phony anyway. He'd been right.
Sunday, March 1
Friday, February 13
- Nag the teen. He must
- Finish Application for next year's school dream
- Do homework
- Figure out his LA Honor's project and get cracking
- Work on two Merit Badge requirements
- Practice the horn. Solo & Ensemble recital is just around the corner
- Make dinner one night and do other various chores
- Complete paperwork on service learning hours he's accomplished so far. He needs 60 to graduate, has turned in Zero, but has actually done maybe 15. Can't get credit if he doesn't fill out the forms.
- Prepare the budget for a volunteer board position I've held way too long. (My term is up in December 2009!) This should have been done already. It should have been done this week, but instead the computer has been busy running thorough scans and removing viruses, thanks to the teen.
- Watch eBay. That's my first edition/first printing signed copy of Twilight. Stephenie Meyer came to All For Kids on her very first tour; we were her very first audience. There were maybe a dozen girls and women present. Our buyer really liked the book, thought it would sell, but it was hardback and brand new. We had to scramble to get the dozen people to come so the room wouldn't be deserted for this novice author. My how things have changed! Last time she came to Seattle, she talked at Benaroya and tickets sold out in about a half hour. Erika is a dear and listed it for me, as I have never figured out how to sell things on eBay.
- Nag the teen. Make him show me his application essays.
- Knit! I'd kinda lost the knitting mojo, but a knit-blogger I follow started talking about her group challenging themselves to knit a dozen sweaters in 2009. Vests and short-sleeve tops count as well, as long as they are sized for adult. It was just the challenge I needed. I had some sweater quantities of yarn in stash, plus I had my eye on some new yarn. As much as I wanted to help stimulate the economy, I could not justify yarn shopping if I wasn't knitting. I have three completed (photos below) and two more in process. Details on my ravelry projects page.
- Nag the teen. Remind him that merit badges are earned, not gifted.
- Take the teen to his ortho appointment.
- Provide ibuprofen and soft foods for a couple days.
- Nag the teen to practice the horn even if his mouth hurts. The recital won't wait.
- Knit some more. Maybe some lace, something different than sweaters.
- Read! I have looming deadlines for two book groups. All the King's Men and Catcher in the Rye both need to be finished in two weeks and I haven't started either. (If only I had a kindle, would make knitting and reading simultaneously much easier.)
- Consider signing up to purchase a Kindle if the eBay auction is a success.
- Try to avoid reading the news. This never works though, I can't help it and end up reading all about how bad the economy is and why and what's not being done to fix it. As someone who'd been following Krugman and CalculatedRisk and other smart, logical, rational folks, I knew this all was going to happen, but it doesn't stop me from being pissed off at everyone who let it happen.
- Maybe I should also start working on the taxes. Won't that be fun!
- Get caught up in Lost. We haven't watched any of the new episodes.
Tuesday, January 6
Right before noon on Wednesday, our day two, the announcement was made that all the cases for the week had been settled and/or plea bargained and we were free to go. I know, it seems a total waste, but I choose to believe that we were important. I believe that our very presence upstairs was an important factor in the pursuit of justice, that our presence is what convinced everyone to negotiate in earnest.
Seattle has a "green" philosophy and an appreciation for the arts. Every civic construction project must include a 1% for the arts portion. Therefore, one sees random bits of art in the unlikeliest places. Since not many people get to serve as jurors in Seattle Municipal Court, here's some photos to show you what you are missing.
A nice little pocket park? Wee bit of green in the big city? Well yes, but
this bit of green is 12 floors up. This is the rooftop terrace abutting the jury room. The days I was there we had sustained winds of at least 25 miles per hour, but the staff assured us that was not typical. (It was also windy at ground level. I almost got blown over crossing James Street.)
Looking west and down, a nice view of the green roof on the City Council's digs.
I almost deleted the next photo. It's just a random skyline photo from the rooftop terrace. With dark grey skies and strong sustained winds and a little point-and-shoot, I just couldn't capture anything unique or worthy. There are lots of better skyline photos of Seattle.
Now for the Art.
I think these floating colorful mesh cloudlike things work as benign addition to the room, especially given that we are on a high level with a sweeping view, but that the view for much of the year will be monochrome grey.
Elevator buttons programmed to play Life. I hadn't read the wall text until the end of the day so didn't know what it was or that one could play with it to start the process.
These three watches are part of a larger display of approximately 150 watches, (identical except for 4 Casios with silver bands). The wall text said that they were synchronized when the artwork was installed in 2005. (Or was it 2002?) It was Tuesday Jan 6th at the time, at about 4:30 PM. I get the being an hour off, but I don't get being two days ahead. I thought this model kept track of the month. If there'd been some leap years, it ought to be behind a couple days. I suppose it doesn't track months, that probably makes the calculations work. When I first saw the art, I couldn't figure out what pattern it was supposed to be, were the watches in some sort of picture or abstractly placed?
It wasn't until I took the photo of the entire piece and looked at it in the view screen of my camera that I saw the pattern.
Not big, maybe 100-200 people here. I'm used to county or Chicago Jury duty, this seems like a tiny pool.
Seattle compensates at $10.00 a day and bus tickets. The first thing when we signed in was a chance to donate that to the childcare center.
TVs set up to show us a "Make a Difference: Jury Duty in Washington State" video. It's almost nine, I bet it starts soon.
Video was little cheesy but actually pretty useful. I wish I had seen that 27 years ago before my first jury summons. Muni court deals with small cases, misdemeanors, duis, etc. Six jurors per case, cases are often one or two days. I may be done by Wed afternoon.
Eliot Bay Books gives 20% discount with juror badge.
No one has been called to any courtroom yet. Some people cannot or will not read. I.e. they did not read their summons which was very clear what the length of summons was. Are people stupid or lazy or both.
The outdoor terrace (on the 12th floor) is lovely, what a great view. But oh so windy.
Someone brought in a hardboiled egg to eat. OMG! I love HBE, but only at home, boy are they stinky.
They called the first pool for a case after lunch. I was not called, but I heard the name of someone I know! I really would not have recognized him in a crowd, the husband of a friend of a friend, but I have met him a couple times. I wonder if we would have been allowed to serve on the same jury? Since he got called and not me, we will probably never know.
bored with jury duty, bored with blogging it. Went to Eliot Bay at lunch break (sorry F, they didn't have the book you want) and got a sub to bring back. Had nice chat with the FOF for a while before the bailiff came to take that pool away. He's is younger than me and said he's had like 8(!) jury summons. One other group has been called, but their bailiff hasn't come for them yet.