Wednesday, August 17, 2011

WTF is Project Runway and Can I Have More Yarn Please?

I have been hard at work earning Homo Points since my last post.  Unfortunately, my points were lost when the subject of Project Runway began over on Ravelry  Actually, I see it as my points were dashed upon the rocky coast of a universe out to have a good laugh at my expense.
To make a long story even longer, I actually confessed that I didn't know of Project Runway or of the people who star in it.
In reality, I knew what I was getting into.  Even as I hit the return button to send my post off to be critiqued by the world, I knew my true Mo friends would be shaking their heads in disbelief and sadness as they read my declaration of Project Runway ignorance.
There was much chatter over this, what can only be described as tragedy, and, in the conversations that ensued, I discovered that it is the show to know if you are excellent Mo. (Okay...check that out, that last sentence rhymed!)
Not being an excellent Mo or even a Mo in the know, I sat down at the computer and tried to do a little research on the topic.  It must be an insanely popular show because it appears to have been around for nine seasons.  Now, there may be more but the biggest number I saw was nine; so, no taking away points if I'm wrong.  Anyway, I clicked on the MyLifetime link and proceeded to watch an episode.  About 30 seconds into the "what happened on last week's episode" supernatural forces conspired against me and locked up my laptop.  Now, usually, I wouldn't assign great significance to this event but it was such a bad lock up that I had to reboot twice.  Obviously, someone/thing is out to stop my Homo education.  So, after rebooting and sifting through information about this show, I'm going to blame this woman, Heidi Klum, for the evils perpetrated upon me.

Before my research,  I had no idea who she is or what she has done, but she seems to be the reigning queen of Project Runway.  Now here, I can be a good Mo.  I'm looking at that outfit on the right and thinking, "Honey, please, you're hurting my eyes.  With taste like that a visit to Dairy Queen must be an evening on the town!"

SHHHH!!!  DON'T tell anyone but my research not only revealed that she wears scary clothes but she also had huge, giant tits added onto her front as fashion accessories.  I'm not lying; check out the before and after pictures:
KAZOOMBAS!!!!  Grab onto those puppies in an earth quake because they aren't moving!  Apparently, to be a frightening fashionista, you need super boobs.

Anyway, I digress.  After reading up on Project Runway, I have discovered that it is the American Idol of fashion designers.  A giant reality show of people trying to become the next Queen of Fashion (I use Queen because all of the dudes are SUPER flaming.  No mater who wins, male or female, there will only be a queen).

I'm sure you can guess that this reality show does nothing for me.  You can also guess that deep down, somewhere, I should have some little warm spot for fashion and fashion designing as I am a Mo.  Well, you're guessing wrong.  I don't!  It's no where in me.  Trust me, I've looked!

Now I know someone is going to say that I'm picking on fashion designers but I'm not.  I don't dislike fashion designers.  I actually appreciate them and the work they do.  I just don't want to watch a TV show about them.  Especially when I can watch football.....Ughhh....F*&k, there I go again, more Homo Points down the tubes.  See, even where there is TV to watch, I'm outta luck. 

However, all of this designing talk has made me realize that my quest has not been totally thwarted.  In fact, I'm the designer.  First up is a nice little design contest sponsored by Skacel using only one hank of their Simplicity Hikoo yarn.  Of course, one hank isn't much and I found myself feeling a little like Oliver Twist..."May I have some more please?"

Well, just like poor Oliver, I'm not getting anymore gruel or yarn.  Never to back down from a challenge,  I came up with a pretty neat design.  I would show you but, since the contest hasn't happened yet, if you saw it I would have to eliminate you by using a paper clip (Jason Bourne and I are tight).

Wait, I can see the worry on your face.  I implore you not to fret as I do have a wee bit of other designing to share.  Remember that little bit of lace edging that I showed last post?  Well, I have been playing with it and I'm thinking that it will make a nice shawl.  Here is my latest test knit, lovingly held in place by my partner Jeff (yes, I know he spells his name the wrong way but don't tell him).  It's a bit hard to see with this yarn but the acorn and leaf pattern works well.

The pattern in not too complicated but it does take concentration as there is something new happening on the knit and purl rows. I mean on every row.  I usually like to listen to books when I'm knitting but this pattern as put a halt to that.  I either lose track of the knitting or the book.

So, as you can see, I haven't given up on using my designing to earn Homo Points.  I think that when I finish this shawl, I should be well on my way to earning my Silver Gay Card!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Everything is Cowboys, Poodles and Lace!

Well, I have definitely been embracing my more manly (un-homo) side this week.  It all started with this need to fit into those size 31 Wranglers and, from that decision on, it has been a slippery ride down to the boarder of Hetero Haven.

As my profile states, I'm a failed cowboy turned math teacher and, for me, the cowboy still runs deep.  You will often find me wearing all that cowboy gear: boots (I have around 30 pair), Wranglers, western shirts, hats (I think I'm up to seven) and  I love it all.  It's what we wore back in Albuquerque when I was growing up and it has stuck with me for these 40 plus years.

Anyway, Wranglers do amazing things to a man's anatomy.  Even the most homely of physiques can look stunning in a pair of Wranglers.  If you can't picture it I'll try and help; Wranglers do for men what the push up bra does for women only it works on both the front and back sides of a man.  Such a great garment that does such great things!  Of course, the smaller the size the better the garment works.  Really, think about it, if your gut is big, everyone is going to be focusing on it and not the important, sexy parts that have been lifted and molded into perfection.

Currently, I wear a size 32 in Wranglers.  Now to be honest, this is not a true 32.  This is the type of 32 that requires lying on the bed and sucking your gut in till you almost faint to zip them up and button them, type of 32.  To add to this misery, I refuse to by fat boy Wranglers.  For me, that is anything over a size 32.  So, I spend lots of time in VERY tight Wranglers hoping that my goods are properly displayed.  In reality, this is all about vanity.  Now how Mo is that?  Aren't all true homos vain?  Why yes, Virginia, they are!

I'm enough of a real Mo to be vain but enough of a loser Mo to want to be comfortable, leaving me with but one choice, hit the gym with gusto and be a man about it.

So, here I am three weeks after that decision feeling beefier,  thinner and trimmer.  What's really bad about this is that I'm actually enjoying the intense workouts.  That's right, I'm having fun being a jock!  All of that sweat pouring off of me; the burning feeling in my muscles from lifting too much, it's like a drug!

Well, this is all very good for me.  It's making me healthy.  It's making me look good and, it may help me get dates but I'm thinking that it's not helping my homo status.  Now don't get me wrong; there are lots of gay guys who work out a ton.  However, they have other Super Mo qualities.  For example, when they speak they speak in a range four octaves higher than the average hetero male; they have their eyebrows waxed weekly and they listen to musicals while puttering around the house.  All of these Super Mo things I do not do.

Am I doomed to utter Mo failure?  Possibly not.

While at the gym today, I was contemplating this current conundrum and remembered a comment from a student of mine.

Once, this past year, I was lamenting to friend of mine how I was such a bad homo.  She thought this was quite amusing and told her family about it at the dinner table one evening.  Her son, who happens to be one of my students, informed her that I was actually a really good homo because I have Standard Poodles.

When I recalled this statement, I almost tripped on the treadmill, sending a shower of sweat onto the woman next to me.  I was too thrilled at my recollection to worry about her evil glares or be concerned that she was wearing a neon pink top with neon green spandex shorts.

Thrilled with my realization that I had finally made the grade, I finished my workout and headed to the steam room.  Ahhh, time to relax and bask in all of my superior homo-ness knowing that I can be gay while working out hard and enjoying it!

Of course, the universe is out to have a laugh at my expense.  I suddenly realized that my poodles aren't sissy poodles.  My poodles do stuff like this:

Yes, my girls ROCK!  And they will kick any Lab's ass when it comes to swimming and retrieving!  BOOYAH!

Opps...there I go again and so go a few more gay points.  I'm trying.  Really, I am trying.

Well, since my poodles aren't a good gay fall back then my knitting surely must be.  I'm still on a big lace kick and I recently found this lovely pattern (Check that out; I just used "lovely" in a sentence.  How gay is that?).

This pattern just screams GAY!  It's actually an edging which is meant to be grafted or sewn onto the main piece of work.  I'm really not that concerned with the edging bit.  Personally, I think it's a bit Grandma.  What I do like about it is the leaf and acorn motif, just that part.  It's pretty F'n cool.  I'm currently trying to come up with ways to use just that part in some bit of knitting and I think I'm onto something way, stay tuned.

Monday, August 1, 2011

My Loser Mo Adventures at Sock Summit

As most of my knitter friends know, Sock Summit was just here in Portland.  I was very excited about this convention when I heard that it was going to be here again.  What a great opportunity to learn some new gay guy skills.  I mean really, it just sings GAY with all that yarn, needles, colour and tons of women and very few men.

Well, as usual the road to my official gay card was blocked from the very start.  My partner, Jeff, is a former English teacher.  Every year, he and his English teacher friends head off to Cedar City, Utah, to that city's Shakespeare Festival.  I never attend these gatherings as seeing two plays each day for three consecutive days really makes me want to vomit.  Don't get me wrong, Jeff loves it (he's a better Mo than me) and so do his friends but it just doesn't do it for me.

This year, one of the group couldn't make it due to a wedding; so, I agreed to buy her tickets and hang out with my partner appreciating live theater.  One glaring problem, it totally interfered with Sock Summit.  Unfortunately, there was no way out.  The one saving grace is that we returned to Portland in time for me to attend just one day of the convention, Sunday.

Happily armed with this information, I logged on to Sock Summit's web page to register, tickled that I was about to add points toward my official gay card.  As I started to review the course offerings my heart began to sink, "This is so not going to be an opportunity for double or even single gay card points."

"It's all about knitting SOCKS!"

I HATE knitting socks.  I mean WTF how can you have an entire convention dedicated to just socks.  Why not something practical like sweaters.  Now that's something you can have a convention over.  I knew it would deal with socks but I truly thought it would also deal with other knitting genres.  NOPE!

Now you must realize that this is yet another set back.   I've been working on getting this card for 40 plus years and I'm not getting any further in accumulating points.  There had to be a way to salvage this, and as if by magic, it occurred to me "I know, I'll take one of Franklin's classes.  That would be fun and Gay!"  (So, if you don't know, Franklin Habit is one of the kings of knitting.  He's a great guy and has tons of great ideas and, of course, has a HUGE following.  Also, he's a blast to hang out with.)

As I clicked on the the link for the registration page, I should have realized that something was amiss as a cold shiver came over me and dark clouds blocked out the sun.  I didn't think much of it at the time; I mean hey, I live in Oregon, cold shivers and dark clouds are the norm.

Well, true to form, the Universe conspired against me yet again in my quest for a gay card.  As I reviewed the available classes it became apparent that there were no spots in Franklin's classes!

Okay, I'm going to diverge for a moment here.  I think that there should be a standing rule for situations like this.  Gay guys Always have a spot in any class taught by another gay male knitting teacher.  Really, this is just common sense.  We are a minority in the knitting world.  There should be an affirmative action program just for us.  Plus, let's be real, gay guys are a Ton of fun.  Who wouldn't want at least two or three of us in a class to break up all of that middle aged estrogen?  Not only would it be a learning experience, it would be a party and, if one of us was a true Mo, all of the middle aged women could get fashion and make up tips.

Rant over (for the moment).

Burying my disappointment I decide just to go to the market place at Sock Summit and hang with my male knitter friends.  Of course, this, in and of itself, is fraught with problems.

I think male knitters can relate to this very well.  There are a certain amount of odd looks that you get when you walk into the female dominated world of knitting.  You can almost here their thoughts, "Hmmm...who's that?  What's a guy doing here?  Who's husband is he?"  Of course this is just as you are walking into the building.  The next round of thoughts occur as you are actually looking at yarn and knitting needles, "He must be here with his wife. Hmmm...he knits but he's a guy, probably not that good at it. He doesn't know what he's doing; I'll have to tell him what he wants to buy."  Yup, that's what they are thinking; I know it, and, of course, all these thoughts actually take points away from my gay card account.

Anyway, I dealt with these archaic misnomers admirably as I walked into the market place, smiling trying hard to look like I belong.  Just so you know, this is where I'm a loser Mo Extreme.  I can feel it radiate from me.   I really don't fit in.  Just to let you know, I really did try my best.  Here was my plan. 

First, I did not wear any of my cowboy gear that I usually wear.  Instead of Wrangler's I wore Lucky Brand jeans.  Instead of boots, I wore Puma's.  I even carried a man purse!  But, to no avail, I still didn't fit in.  I know this by one thing; I couldn't get anyone to wait on me.  Yup, they saw me; my wallet bulging with credit cards hot to be used but they didn't come.  Even the gay clerks ignored me.  Nope, not even an interested glance, they all just clung onto the women customers, admiring their choices in yarn and crooning over colour combinations....Vomit! Come on guys!  I'm gay like you and I'm somewhat attractive.  I have nice biceps!  Wait.... I know; it's the colour thing.

That's right, I did it again.  Damn!  For those of you who don't know me, one of my most glaring loser gay guy things is that I don't get colour.  Truly.  I don't know what colour goes with what.  I can't see the subtle shades of pink mixed in with the purple.  I can't tell when the yellow is tending to more of a green.  To me taupe is just a grey and mushroom is just brown.  Gasp!  Horror!  Shock!  A gay guy who doesn't get colour?!!!  I know; believe me, I live with this shame daily.

So, there I stand, in the middle of an arena of extreme gay card point acquisition, radiating disdain for crooning over colour choice, watching my opportunity to be a real Mo trickle away.  Uggh, I just can't help it.  Defeated again, I left the market place  head hung low, and waited for my male knitter friends to finish their classes and shopping so that we could go out to eat.

I guess I'm the Pinocchio of the gay world.  Instead of telling people that I'm a real boy, I spend my time telling them that I'm a real Mo.

However, I will persevere.  I'm still working hard on the gay card.  My Sunflower Shawl has sparked interest at Knit Picks.  They sent me their yarn to knit up the shawl and I finished it last week.  I'll be blocking it today and then I'll drop it off at their offices.  Hopefully, they will like it in their yarn and I'll have my pattern up on their site.

Also, I'm designing yet another lace project.  In my opinion, nothing screams GAY more than knitting and designing lace.  I'm thinking I should get at least a thousand points towards Winner Mo status by coming up with another great lace pattern.  I'll keep you posted!

Friday, June 3, 2011


It has been some time since I posted anything or even knitted something.  The reason is that we have had a litter of puppies!  Our little girl, Trudy, had a litter of six puppies three weeks ago.  Here is a picture of them on day two.

This picture is of the batch o'puppies at about one and a half weeks.

 This is my favourite picture so far.  These are the only boys.  They are so insanely cute!
On the knitting front I have been working on a baby blanket for a teacher friend.  It's about half way finished....Yeah!

I also had some professional pictures taken on my Tuscan Sunflower Shawl.  The photographer and the model are former students of mine.  One of the benefits of teaching at an arts school is all the talent you can find for really good prices.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Many Irons in the Fire

Well, the school year is winding down.  I have only a month and a half left.  I am so ready for a break.  The greatest reason is that I'm really tired.  This happens to all teachers at this time of year.  It also happens to the students.  Usually, my first two weeks of summer break are spent on my couch sleeping.  It always amazes me how much time it takes to start to relax.

The other big reason for the break is that I have a lot of fiber related projects going on.  I have two big ones that seem to be occupying most of my time and about six small ones that I pick up when I need a break from the other two.

Big project number one:  I am working on another round shawl pattern.  This one is coming together a bit easier than Tuscan Sunflower but it is still quite a bit of work.  I'm hoping to have it finished by the end of the month.

Big project number two:  I have started a yarn business.  This past week I filed all the paper work for WildHorse Fiberworks.  Currently, it is an internet store selling hand painted sock yarn.  I'm hoping that it will grown into an actual yarn store over the coming years.  I have this dream of owning my own yarn store in retirement.  Hopefully, I have just planted the seeds for this to happen.

Anyway here are a few pics of my latest dying experiments.

I'm pretty happy with the way that these guys turned out.  I can tell that dying yarn is going to have about the same learning curve as knitting; it's going to take a lot of practice.

My smaller projects include two sweaters and two baby blankets.  One of the babies was born about a week ago.  Luckily, the mother already has a sweater that I knit for her first son.  Jen was really sweet when I told her that she probably wouldn't get it until summer.

The next blanket is for a new mom; so, I'd like to get it done fairly quickly.  However, I'm not too sure about that one.  My plan is to do a fair isle blanket very similar to this one.  Baby is due in five weeks.  Hmmmm....what do you think?

Anyway, I'm pretty happy with all that's happening in my fiber world.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Three Months of Work and Here it Is....

 I have been beating my head against the wall on this one for about three months. The biggest challenge was getting the center motif to resemble spiraling sunflower seeds. The easiest way to have done this would have been to start with a star pattern in the middle. I didn't want that though. I wanted spirals from the beginning.

Months down the road and many, many iterations later, I finally came up with what I wanted. I don't know how many times I started this guy and then ripped it out. I'm pretty sick of it now.
I started working it out using white sport weight yarn. Then when I was happy the center, I switched to fingering weight. Then, when I was satisfied how that knitted up, I went and got the good stuff.
The center is definitely not for the novice knitter. There are several double yarn overs as well as interesting things that happen on the plain rounds.
The petals didn't cause me much trouble. When I got to the final version, I didn't even have to rip them out once.

Now that it is finished, I should really get busy on that sweater that I promised my partner. However, I already have an idea for another circular shawl.

I wrote up the pattern complete with charts and everything.  My partner says that I should sell it.  I'm still thinking about that one.  It's seems like such a big step to go from knitting to putting your stuff out there for others.
I'm sure that I'm just being silly.  I guess the only way to get over it is to just jump in and do it.  Hmmm....I'll think about it for another day or two.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Confessions of an Addicted Knitter

It's official; I am addicted to knitting.  At the beginning of this school year, I began bringing my knitting to work.  While the kids are doing their seat work, I walk around the class knitting and helping them out.  Next, I started knitting during meetings.   No big deal there as I can knit and follow the conversations easily.  My problems really started when I began knitting during my plan time, "Oh, I can get to that grading later on.  I'll just knit a few more rows."  I just can't seem to get enough knitting in during my day (or spinning).  It is now at the point where I have to leave my knitting at home so that I can do my job.  What's worse, is that I resent the fact that I have to work and can't pursue my fiber fun.  Maybe I should seek therapy.  

As for my knitting adventures, I'm still stuck in this doily thing.  Actually, I'm thinking about taking my doily concepts and turning them into round shawls.  I'm seriously wanting to do the whole design thing.  I do a ton of knitting and ripping, playing with different stitches and the ripping again.  I'm loving it.

All this practice is actually starting to pay off.  I'm really beginning to understand how to change from stocking stitch to lace.  Making the transition between the two, and having it look good, has been a challenge.

Here is my latest.  It will eventually become a shawl. 
This is just the center motif; however, I am very happy with the transition from stocking stitch to lace.  Adding the next motif is going to be interesting.  I know what I want to do but having the translate to a nicely knitted piece is a different story. 

Hopefully, in a week or two, I'll be able to show the finished product.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Doilies and More!

I'm still stuck on this doily craze.  I am really enjoying playing with the pattern.  Just a few changes in the pattern results in a totally different design.  Here is a modification of of my first design.  To change the center motif, all I did was change the number of pattern repeats and the direction of the decreases. 
I am fairly pleased with how it turned out.  However, there are a few design pieces that I added in that will be removed on the next go round.  These guys here:
I have also been busy spinning this weekend.  My two ply yarns have never impressed me; so, I decided to try my hand at three ply.  OMG!  What a difference three plies makes. 
I can hardly wait to make something with this yarn.  I have about 550 yards at this point.  To really do anything I'll need about 2000 yards.  After I get enough, I'm going to use dye it various shades of purple.  Maybe that will be my task for this next weekend.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Doily Craze III

Well, I have definitely gotten the bug about doilies.  I have spent the past few weeks starting doilies and working about the first 30+ rounds of different patterns to see how they are constructed.  There are lots of little wadded up doily centers about the house.  It resembles the home for coasters in rehab.
Anyway, I decided to jump in and make my own.  Yes, that's correct, design my own doily.  I started of simple with a spiral pattern.  Nothing else but YO, K, YO, K2 K2tog, then YO, K, YO, K3 K2tog, building upon itself.  Well, by row 19 I was really bored.  So, I reversed the direction and added a SSK at the beginning of my motif.  That worked out well but since things were now shrinking in my motif I had to add something in to fill the gap and help the doily grow.
Well, here it is.  I don't know what row I stopped on.  I think somewhere in the 30s.
Since I'm just playing around, I used some left over Baby Ull that I had laying around.
I'm not sure what pattern to add next.  My brain is more focused on how to change the star and make it do different things.  I may just stop here and keep this as an idea and go back and play with the center.  I'm thinking that I would like to see things more curvy and swirly.  I don't know if it can be done but I'm going to give it a go.
All and all, I'm very happy with my first ever knitting design.  Now i just need to transfer the chart from paper to electronic.  I think that will be my project for this weekend.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Doily Craze Continues!

Well, the Hunnicutt Doily design team is hitting several road blocks.  What I thought would be an easy process is turning out to be much more difficult.

Coming up with a pretty design was the easy part.  Translating that to stitches is more difficult.  The problem lies in what look I'm trying to achieve.   For example, I really like the look of a leaf shape outlined in yarn-overs and then that bordered by a single twisted knit stitch.  Well, I'm finding that you can't put in another yarn-over motif next to it.  Or if you can, I haven't figure out a way to make it look good.

Anyway, I have taken to knitting several small sections from various doilies to become familiar with their construction.  I'm hoping that this will help me figure out the best motifs for different geometric designs.

Pictures to come!