Category Archives: Loom Knitting

Workshop Scheduling

Each year, participants of the Men’s Spring Knitting Retreat volunteer to lead workshops at the retreat.

Knitting Expertise Shared

We have amazing spinners, weavers, knitters, crocheters and designers who show up to the retreat each year, willing to share what they know with the guys who attend.

Some of the more popular workshops have been Lace Blocking, Weaving on a Rigid Heddle Loom, Designing Knits that Fit, Sock Heel Architecture, Tunisian Crochet,  Choosing Colors That Work Together, Intro to Double-Knitting, Crochet Edging, etc.

It’s amazing what the guys come up with each year…especially since each workshop is 3 hours long and we really don’t have the facilities to delve into the messier workshops, like dyeing.

If you could attend, what workshops would you like to see?

Current Knitting and Spinning

I finished the Biased Garter Scarf using my hand-spun, and I’m quite pleased with how it turned out.

I also finished the spinning the Mohair/Shetland singles from Mindy and started spinning some unknown wool that I will ply it with.

The unknown wool is being spun thicker than the mohair/shetland blend..I think it will create an interesting yarn when it’s all finished.  I’ll certainly have enough of it.

Readers’ Comments/Questions

Regarding my afterthought heel, Leslie suggests, “For an afterthought heel, try doing the same thing as a toe, just decreasing to the final number rather than increasing. K2tog and SSK make a very nice heel, one stitch from the edge.”

That’s exactly what the pattern called for, and I might pull out my heel and re-do it that way.  We’ll see how ambitious I am.

Thank you all for the well-wishes on my kidney stone saga…I’m feeling quite well now and will have my final visit with the Urologist (hopefully) next week.
Source: fre

Garter Stitch – The Perfect Learning Tool

Having said for years that the most important characteristic to be a successful knitter is perseverance, I think garter stitch is the perfect tool to assess if someone will be a lifelong knitter or not.

Knitting Assessment

Garter stitch can also be incredibly boring and seemingly takes FOREVER to grow.  
Seems like it would be the perfect test of perseverance for a potential new knitter.  If I’m teaching someone to knit and they don’t have endless persistence with it comes to knitting endless rows of garter stitch (and ripping out and starting again when they make mistakes), I typically think the learner won’t ever become an earnest knitter.  I know there are exceptions to this generalization, but it seems to be a good indicator.
On a more positive side, garter stitch is simple enough to help a new knitter understand how to create rows of loops that eventually form a fabric.  Garter stitch doesn’t roll or curl up.  Garter stitch fabric makes it easy to count rows.  Garter stitch has approximately the same row and stitch gauge, making it easy to pick up stitches and perform things like mitered or modular knitting.  Garter stitch creates furrows that can easily be used for illusion or shadow knitting.
Finally, when my life is a bit full, garter stitch can be an incredibly soothing and rhythmic way for me to continue knitting.

Current Knitting

A while ago, I was watching television and didn’t have my knitting project(s) with me, so I picked up some handspun yarn and some needles and just started knitting a garter/biased scarf.

With all the medical tests and procedures lately, I’ve found this easy and rich-colored garter stitch project has been a joy to work on.   And even with this much length on the scarf, it seems to be an endless task.  I will, however, persevere.

Source: fre

What Is The Plural of Lithotripsy?

Yes…during my latest encounter with a kidney stone, it turns out that the 6.5mm stone that was causing me issues had a mate in the other kidney that was even larger.

Is There a Two-Fer Discount?

The smaller, problematic stone had moved down my ureter, blocking the flow of fluid on my right side into the bladder.  It also caused quite a bit of pain.

The first lithotripsy completely pulverized the blocking stone (and I only had one stone on my right…unlike the graphic above).

Since I had met my annual deductible, and the doctor thought it was advisable, I scheduled a second lithotripsy on Friday and had the stone embedded in my left kidney pulverized as well.

So far, so good…no pain or other ill effects from the second lithotripsy.

Current Knitting

With the discomfort and anxiety of another medical procedure, I decided to work only on the afterthought heel sock project…I figured if I messed it up it wouldn’t require much to re-do it.

Suffice it to say, the first heel is now complete after three different attempts which I ripped out.  I finally landed on a standard short-row heel, using the wrap & turn short-row technique.  My first attempt was to use Japanese short-rows, which I hated for a heel.
Source: fre

Key To Happiness

If you’re coming to QueerJoe’s blog to find out the key to happiness, I think you may possibly have lost your way completely.


There are certain truths that one stumbles upon during a lifetime that come to be important aspects of what makes up one’s character.
I was fortunate to realize very early in my life that the pursuit of money, power and/or success wasn’t the goal…that satisfaction was the goal, and possibly pursuit of money, power and/or success might help with reaching that goal.
It always amazed me how easy it was to see when people had lost sight of their purpose and how they would change their focus to make success the goal instead of what success could bring.  I’m fortunate that it always seemed clear to me.
We recently watched the movie, The Founder, the story of Ray Kroc and the founding of the fast-food chain, McDonald’s.  Never was it more clear how someone had lost their way and confused success with happiness.  Ray seemed so deluded by the pursuit of success, not only did he seem to lose his soul, but he also seemed to have convinced the two McDonalds brothers (who really founded the business) that they too should be fighting for success instead of happiness.
It was a clear analogy for me as to how our current politicians are not  only focused on self-serving, power-grabbing, zero-sum-gain strategies, but they are also convincing millions of Americans that they should be fighting for the wrong things…including me sometimes.
I have to keep reminding myself…what is important to me…what do I want in this life…and not be distracted by the vengeful feelings I have.

Current Knitting

More ripping out and re-knitting of the Easton Logo blanket has taken place since the last blog entry.
You might have noticed the slope of the mountains in the latest panel that I attached don’t exactly line up with the panel next to it, but I’m pretty certain I can fix this easily with a little duplicate stitch and also when I do the embroidery of a darker mountaintop outline of stitches.  Otherwise, it will be a lot of ripping and re-knitting.

Source: fre

Saving Face

The Japanese had this great concept of being able to extricate yourself from a potentially embarrassing situation or argument with your humility in tact.

Facebook Should be Named “Losing Facebook”

It seems every public argument these days, especially in social media is all about decimating the opponent.  It’s not just about winning the argument…it’s about making those with whom you disagree look like a complete fool and publicly humiliating them.

In my mind, that’s the online equivalent of physically beating someone so badly, they don’t have the ability to come back and fight another day.

It’s brutal, overly cruel and unnecessary.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been guilty of arguing this aggressively numerous times.  My anger and rage lately make me want to pulverize people with whom I vehemently disagree.

I’ve decided I will try and offer online opponents the opportunity to save face in a few different ways.  There are different kinds of disagreements on Facebook which I will handle the in the following ways:

  1. People who honestly disagree with a post on my own timeline and state their reasons coherently and respond directly to the point of the post without posting multiple other non-sequitur responses. To these people, I will thank them for their opinion, letting them know how much I value their ability to present their opinion in a way I can understand it.
  2. People who respond to a post on my timeline with less-than-coherent arguments, lies/inaccuracies/alternate facts, or information that doesn’t respond directly to my point, but tries to distract with other points.  I will respond back with feedback about how their response is not valuable and allow them to respond coherently, or have their comment deleted.
  3. Responses from a comment I make on someone else’s timeline that are clear and respond directly to my comment.  Especially when it’s from the person who made the initial comment, I will again thank them for their point of view and the clarity with which they present it.
  4. Responses from a  comment on someone else’s timeline that is unclear, non-responsive and/or aggressive.  I will reply back with reasons why I won’t pursue their argument and unfollow any further comments from the post.

I’ve decided I don’t have to win every argument I get into, but I also want to make sure I don’t accept bullying, lies or hateful language…especially on my own personal space.

We’ll see if this newfound civility will last.

Current Knitting

Having been off pain meds since Sunday, I have gotten back to knitting and decided to focus on trying to finish the Easton Logo Blanket.

I’m finally past the point where I had to rip out and now I only have the rest of the current panel and one more intarsia panel to knit.  Sewing it all up, weaving in ends and doing a border will still take quite a bit of work, but I’m liking how it’s turning out.
Source: fre

Distractions Abound

There are distractions that are meant to confuse and divert attention and then there are distractions that are meant to entertain.

Desperately Looking to be Entertained!

With all the craziness going on in the U.S. added with the distress of getting over a kidney stone, I have been bouncing back and forth between any distractions I can find.
I’ve picked up and/or started three different knitting projects:
This is the Knit-A-Long I’m doing for a pair of socks with an afterthought heel.  I’m grateful to have deadlines to force me to keep up.  Right now I’m a bit ahead of schedule.

This is a garter/biased-knit scarf done in some handspun I started a while ago when I was intensely bored.  It’s beautiful yarn and the mindlessness of the garter stitch is just enough to keep me distracted.

This is a keyhole scarf in a bulky handspun/hand-dyed yarn done by a local fiber artist who I admire a lot.  I’m not so sure how this will turn out, but it will definitely look better once it’s finished.

I sat down and tried finishing my current spinning project…I’m almost done with the Shetland/Mohair singles.
I’m also distracting myself (and hopefully blog readers with photos of Finn.
Unfortunately, Finn is angry with me right now…we’re training him to stay off the dining room table and he was just physically removed.
And as a last-ditch effort, I’m even photographing my lattes.  Here’s my latest masterpiece.
So, if you have anything you can entertain or distract me with, feel free to chime right in!

Source: fre

Six Point Five Millimeters

Size does matter…and since knitters deal with millimeters quite often, you may understand the shock I had with my latest CT Scan.

Diagnosis – Kidney Stones

Years ago, a friend of mine was in a lot of pain due to a kidney stone he was passing.  Karen, a mutual friend of ours, and a mother of two, asked him about his kidney stone.  When she found out that the pain was caused by a sand grain-size object through his urinary tract, her response was:

“Fuck you!  I passed a grapefruit size object through mine twice and didn’t whine anywhere near as much!

About a week ago, I started having quite a bit of pain in the area of my kidneys.  It got bad enough where I felt I should see the doctor on Monday, who had me get a CT Scan to check for stones.  The above image isn’t my CT Scan, but mine looked like it (except for the thin waistline of the patient above).  Turns out, I had a 6.5mm kidney stone blocking the ureter (the tube through which urine passes from the kidney to the bladder).

A quick visit to the urologist was ordered, followed by a whirlwind tour of various Hunterdon Medical facilities for pre-op EKG, blood test and x-rays, and then a visit this past Friday to the hospital to have a lithotripsy which successfuly pulverized the stone into a bunch of smaller stones.  And now I’m recuperating at home with my best friend, Percocet while I pass the smaller stones.

Current Knitting

Despite all the waiting rooms at doctors offices and labs and the time in pre-op for my lithotripsy, I had no desire whatsoever to knit.  Now that I’m on Percocet and going into and out of painful episodes, I still don’t care much about knitting.

See?  So blogging about a medical condition does have some significance to knitting.
Source: fre

Completely Nuts!

Today’s blog entry is all about nuts…well…nuts, seeds, legumes and drupes…and of course knitting.

Long Story – Strap In

My husband Thaddeus used to work at this amazing little store in an amazing little outdoor shopping village.  The store was called The Nut Kettle and the shopping village was in Lahaska, PA called Peddler’s Village.

This almost 50 year old business was longtime favorite of many people who have been going there since they were children.  The Nut Kettle roasted their own nuts, made various nut brittles and caramel corn all on the premises.

Until…five days before Christmas, the business suffered a devastating fire that put them out of business.  Gladly, no one was physically hurt during the fire, but the entire store was gutted by fire, smoke and water.

In addition to being heartbroken for the owner and her family, I also have to say I really missed having fresh-roasted nuts at home all the time.  They always had the highest quality nuts and they were always recently roasted, and for me, nuts are like coffee…once you’ve had superb, it’s difficult to go back to average.

So, we’ve come up with our own solution until the business rebuilds…but before I describe that, just a few facts about “roasted nuts.”

  1. When you read the term “roasted” do you think of the oven and turkeys? Did you know almost every “roasted nut” you’ve eaten was really deep fried in oil?
  2. Did you also know that almost none of the “roasted nuts” you’ve ever eaten were technically nuts at all?  The following information is from the Naturapathic Doctor’s website:
    1. Nuts and seeds and drupes and legumes are as follows:
      1. True Nut:  Chestnuts, filberts, and walnuts are considered to be true nuts 
      2. Botanical Seed: Cashews, Brazil nuts, pistachios and legumes (e.g. peanut). The peanut is considered to be a legume because it bears fruit in the form of pods (shells) that contain one or more seeds (usually two per pod). 
      3. Drupe: Almonds. Some botanists also include the fruits of walnuts, cashews, pecans, macadamia nuts, and pistachio nuts as drupes because of their outer, green, fleshy husk and stony, seed-bearing endocarp.
  3. Walnuts are the oldest known tree food — they date all the way back to 10,000 B.C., despite what some bible-literalists might tell you about the apple.

Home “Roasting”

Thaddeus also used to love having fresh-“roasted” nuts at home…they’re a great snack.  So we had to find a way of roasting/deep-frying them, a source of raw nuts that was as good as his old employer, the oil in which to do it and fine salt.

We ended up buying a Proctor Silex Professional-Style 1.5 liter deep fryer (small enough for one portion of fried foods, but perfect for roasting nuts).

We needed a small appliance due to space constraints, so this one was perfect.

We found a great source of raw nuts at our Indian grocery store.  Great quality and inexpensive prices for cashews, peanuts, pecans and pepitas (pumpkin seeds).

Finding the oil was easy, although The Nut Kettle used a specific type/blend of oils for their nuts, so we replicated that (it may be a trade secret, so I won’t mention it).

We also ended up pulverizing some pink Himalayan salt in a spice grinder to get it fine enough to put on roasted nuts (wear a mask if you do this…inhaling this can be rather jarring).

Here are some of the fruits (or nuts or seeds or drupes or legumes) of our efforts:

Current Knitting

There was a another error on the Easton Logo Blanket that required me to rip out the grafting I did with the last panel.  I’m working on getting back on schedule with that project.

I’m also working on a Knit-A-Long sock project with an on-line group of knitter friends.

I’ve never knit a sock with an afterthought heel, so this is an interesting learning for me.  Here’s a closeup of the waste yarn that will be removed to created the heel.

Source: fre

Due Respect

When is someone or something “due respect?”

Based on Title or Behavior?

Perhaps it’s different in a monarchy, where certain positions demand a certain amount of respect.  I’ve never lived in a monarchy, so I definitely don’t have that mindset.

Perhaps, my disillusionment with automatically granting respect to priests, monsignors, bishops, cardinals and popes in my religion-of-upbringing has brought me to different way of thinking on this.

Perhaps it’s the fact that much of my corporate life was in organizations where respect was given based on a person’s performance and it wasn’t conveyed along with a promotion or title.

But I don’t understand all these sheeple who tell me not to disrespect the President-elect because he somehow deserves my respect.

Honestly…I didn’t support him in the elections, I didn’t vote for him, and I truly believe that his election should be declared illegitimate based on the influence of Russian hacking on the election, and based on Comey’s odd behavior about going public about an investigation on Hillary Clinton.

I also vehemently oppose to his complete disregard for the Constitution, when upholding its standards is really what the job is all about.  He seems to be against most civil rights I hold dear, he has threatened the freedom of the press in ways that is terrifying, and he has encouraged hatred toward women, minorities and the disabled.

And to the people that tell me I should respect the office of the president, I have two things to say.  First, I didn’t hear a single word from those same people when photos or cartoons of President Obama and his family were displayed widely showing them to be bigoted caricatures of African Americans, or with a Hitler mustache.  Or when a speech of President Obama’s was interrupted with “Liar!”  Second, I will respect the office of the President as much or more than the incumbent does.  Donald seems to be treating it as badly as he did the businesses he stiffed on payments or the students he cheated out of an education.

So, no…I do not respect Donald.  And I won’t until he does enough to earn it.

Current Knitting

The Easton Logo blanket suffered a minor setback (is any setback minor when it comes to intarsia?).

I didn’t like the color that I chose for the “sky” portion in the first purple panel…I thought it was too red, so I ripped it out and replaced it with the same color as the “mountain” in the foreground.

I recouped all the knitting from the ripping-out and also attached the first purple panel and I’m much more pleased.  It will look even nicer once the inferred border of the top of the mountains is embroiders in a darker color.
Source: fre

Blog Contest Winners!

Thank you to everyone who entered the blog contest.  The readers of this blog are some incredibly creative people.

Random Thoughts

It’s fascinating what goes through the minds of blog readers…I honestly had no idea what kind of window I was going to be looking through when I posted this blog contest.

Below is a sampling of what came in…I only responded to the first one listed because there’s an expert on the subject sitting right next to me.

  • I wondered why tires are black.  Isn’t the rubber plant green?  And if so, is the rubber dyed black. And if so, why black?
    • Not all rubber is black…rubber bands, for instance, aren’t typically black. For tires, carbon-black is added to rubber to give it strength and it’s black color.  As it turns out, when I first met Thaddeus, he was working in a rubber mill, where they milled various rubber compounds and extruded some of them into various products for other companies.  Thaddeus tells me that carbon-black was originally made by burning petroleum in an enclosed furnace and scraping the walls.  Using the residue of burnt petroleum added the strength to rubber that products like tires needed.
  • Why do stores only send me coupons for things I don’t want to buy, instead of the things I do want to buy?
  • No matter how awesome it looks, I cannot bring myself to use Manos del Uruguay yarn because of the movie “Manos: Hands of Fate.” 
    The random thoughts come only when I’m showering.  Alexa needed.
  • Why did they build double-decker train cars only to use them OFF PEAK hours? 
  • Never trust a man who says “trust me.”
  • How does one tiny cat take up 3/4 of the bed?
  • How exactly can one ‘Wang Chung’ tonight?
  • Can a life of abnegation and self-sacrifice be faulted as leading to  an unhealthy pattern of “micro-suicides”, or is it the natural expression of a generous and spiritual life?
  • One of my random thoughts relates to yours regarding cleaning your teeth vigorously before going to the dentist. I have wondered why I do the same thing, yet I have the completely opposite approach before going to the hair salon. I never bother to wash my hair first, because they will wash it anyway. However, I would never think of going to the dentist without thoroughly brushing, flossing, and rinsing with Listerine! 
  • Do most people take off the toilet seat cover to clean the hinges?  How often?
  • How do cats always find the warmest spot?
  • Mind full vs. Mindful.  Are you not being mindful when your head is spinning with all the things around you; say at a carnival or concert.
  • I read some books because the cover has a good font on it. 
  • I always loved that the “paperless office” generated so many copies of whatever was sent as a computer file.
  • Every time I make a random thoughts list, I feel like Larry King. 

 Thank you everyone for participating in the blog contest.

Here are the two scarf kits that will be sent to the randomly selected winners of the contest.

I love both versions, but I’ll let the first-chosen have their preferred colorway and send the other one to the second-chosen.

The winners are:

Amy B.
Helen M.

Please join me in congratulating the winners.  I’m still looking at getting coupons for MJ Yarns as runner-up prizes…I’ll keep you all updated.

Current Knitting

The fifth of six panels was started on the Easton Mountain logo blanket.

I haven’t worked so much plain stockinette with some intarsia for a while and I’m enjoying the easiness of it.

I’ve also started a sock KAL as part of a Facebook group I’m on with Hayes.

I chose Noro Kureyon Sock, US1 needles and 68 stitches.  The KAL calls for an after-thought heel, which I’ve never done before, but I imagine it won’t be too difficult.
Source: fre