Category Archives: Loom Knitting

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

New Ransomware – Beware!

It’s bad enough that you can have your computer data hijacked by clicking on an e-mail attachment, but now your iPad and iPhone are at risk by just clicking on a web site!

Java Script Screen Lock

A friend of mine told me about how he contracted some virus that locked up his iPad and required him to pay a tech company $100 to unlock it.

So here’s the scam…you’re cruising various porn sites, and click on something that looks hot and titillating.  The following displays on your Safari web browser:

Or worse yet, some FBI or police notification indicates you’ve caused a problem and need to call a toll-free number right away.

No matter what you do, you can’t unlock Safari.  You reboot.  You clear cache.  You hard-stop Safari…but nothing works.  God forbid you were doing something you shouldn’t at work.  Or doing something you don’t want your spouse to find out about.

You call the number and they charge you $100 to fix the problem.  They also request your iCloud password to complete the changes for you.

If that’s not bad enough, they call you back two weeks later telling you additional updates need to be made for an additional $100.

My friend paid the initial $100 to get his iPad unlocked, and fortunately he didn’t know his iCloud password and couldn’t find where he had written it down.  And when they called him back two weeks later, he had them call me to explain the issue before he’d authorize any more money.

They actually called me and these scumbags threatened all kinds of dire consequences to my friends iPad if he didn’t continue with the updates.  I was just going to tell them not to call my friend back, but “Justin” got mean, so I started to interrogate him.  Asked his full name (wouldn’t give it), the company name (said it was Mind Tech, but it wasn’t – he had called from an “Unknown Number).  Asked where he was calling from (he said California).  Asked him for a web URL so I could verify his information and was told that was only provided to clients, like my friend.

Just so you know, the company that called my friend is called OnTimeTechSupport . com because they sent him a follow-up e-mail to confirm all they had charged him for was at his request.  A company called Eastside Media LLC charged his credit card.

None of it was necessary, and my friend is contesting the charge with his credit card company.

There are a few different scams but most of them just require you to stop the Java Script that is locking Safari.  I haven’t tried it, but a google search indicates that when you see a pop-up like the one above, go to your settings and enable airplane mode. This will cut all connections with Wi-Fi and cellular services. Then remove browsing history on your Safari app by  going to Settings > Safari > Clear history. Turn airplane mode off and reopen Safari – you should be good to go.

Current Knitting

The three Pink PussyHats were completed in time to deliver them my friend who will be wearing one and giving away the other two at the march on January 21st.  I finished the last one minutes before I had to deliver it, so I forgot to get a photo, but they came out great.

I also finished the pattern for the Milano Scarf and published it out on Ravelry.

I priced the pattern at $.99, but honestly it was published to highlight MJ Yarns, so if anyone would like a coupon for a free copy of the pattern, just e-mail me (by clicking on the “E-Mail QueerJoe” link to the right of the blog and I’d be glad to send you a coupon for a free copy.

Finally, I also made additional progress on the Easton Logo blanket.

Now I need to start on the purple side.
Source: fre

My Life is Awesome!

Don’t ever let anyone tell you the transition to retirement is difficult.  I now get to focus on the things I enjoy and never feel as though I’m jamming everything into a limited day.

Yarn Review

One of my greatest joys is testing out new yarn offerings from some of the independent dyers out there.

Jonathan from MJ Yarns has asked me to test and review two new yarns that are exclusively being sold on his web site.  His other great offerings (which I’ve reviewed in the past) are available at various retail yarn stores.  Here is my evaluation of both his two new yarns, One Ewe and Tough Ram.

Both of the yarns are fingering weight, superwash merino wool, put up in 100 gram hanks.  One Ewe is a single-ply fingering weight yarn (380 yards) produced in the UK (dyed by MJ Yarns here in the U.S.) and Tough Ram is a heavy 4-ply sock yarn (360 yards) produced and dyed in the U.S.

Both yarns are either dyed as a semi-solid color or kettle-dyed for a more varied tonal look.

Here is my review in the standard categories I evaluate yarns:

Durability – Very High.  The Tough Ram is a tight 4-ply yarn that holds up quite well even with casting on, ripping out, and sewing up, which I expected.  I didn’t see any difference with the 1-ply One Ewe, which surprised me.  Even with a bit of abuse, I saw no pilling, unraveling or scuffing of the soft yarn.
Uniformity – Very High.  My test project was a very loosely knit scarf which wouldn’t easily show variations in uniformity.  However, both yarns looked and felt extremely uniform…even the slightly crimpy One Ewe single-ply yarn.
Color/Dyeing – Exceptional.  This is MJ Yarns’ strong point.  The semi-solids have a small amount of variety, giving the knitted fabric a lot of interest, and the kettle-dyed yarns are a fantastic balance of dyed/partially dyed yarn.  Mostly, I’m thrilled with the color palette of this line.  The colors are deep and saturated and very rich looking both on the hank and knit up.
Put-Up – High.  The One Ewe is a perfect put up, especially if used for a scarf or shawl.  If the Tough Ram is used for socks, a 360 yard put-up wouldn’t be sufficient for a pair of men’s socks, but it works great for scarves and shawls as well.
Retail Availability – The two new yarns are exclusive to MJ Yarns on-line web site, so there is no retail distribution that I know of yet.  But if you like MJ Yarns’ other offerings (only available at retail yarn stores), then you will love these two yarns.
Tactile Pleasure – Very High.  I am a HUGE fan of single-ply, fingering weight yarns.  They are soft, and silky and the slight crimp makes them interesting and fun to knit with, so I could work with One Ewe forever and never get tired of working with it.  The Tough Ram yarn is surprisingly softer than most sturdier sock yarns, like Regia or Trekking XXL.  It’s definitely not as soft as the One Ewe, but it has a nice hand and doesn’t feel at all rigid or coarse.
The Blog Contest winners will definitely enjoy working with both these yarns, and I will be awarding myself a coupon to purchase more of these yarns myself!  Make sure you put in an entry to win one of two scarf kits with MJ Yarns.  The kits will be enough yarn and the pattern for the Milano Scarf (below)…just in different colorways.

Current Knitting

I’ve done a lot of knitting since the last blog entry.  First of all, I’ve finished the Milano Scarf.
I recalled that the pattern stitch doesn’t lie perfectly flat when it’s knit, but mild steam blocking both evens out a very loose-gauge fabric, but allows it to lie flat.

I also finished the third (of six) panels for the Easton Logo Blanket and joined the first two together.
The blanket is coming out very well so far.  Given that intarsia doesn’t look quite so fine from the reverse of the fabric, I’m thinking I will end up lining this blanket before donating it to Easton Mountain.
Finally, a friend who is going to Washington soon asked if I could make her a PussyHat to wear.

If you don’t know about this viral idea yet, you can read about it on their web site and/or make a few hats for donation.

Source: fre

Random Thoughts – Blog Contest!

It takes longer and longer to come up with a list of 10 thoughts I find interesting enough to post.  So, I’ve decided to let readers help fill in the last three in this list with their own random thoughts kicking around in their heads.

  1. If a transgendered woman bares her breasts in public, is it legally considered exposing herself in public?
  2. Right around the age of 50, the term “good workout” becomes an oxymoron.
  3. Do you ever find yourself justifying a vigorous brushing and flossing by thinking you don’t want to disappoint your hygienist at the next visit…or is that just me?
  4. The entire universe thinks I exaggerate.
  5. Do you ever click on a link because it infers a hot nude photo will be displayed?
  6. Are you usually dissatisfied by clicking?
  7. How is it that the automation of many workforce tasks hasn’t provided us with lives of leisure?
  8. ?
  9. ?
  10. ?

Blog Contest

MJ Yarns has sent me some yarns to test out and review, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.  After my current project is completed, I’ll be writing up a full review of these wonderful yarns. 

A bit of a spoiler-alert…there are two new yarns MJ Yarns is selling only on their web site, Tough Ram and One Ewe using two different dyeing methods.  You can have the chance to win some of these yarns, or a coupon to get them at discounted prices.

Simply e-mail me at with up to three “Random Thoughts” of your own.  Each of your thoughts will enter you in a drawing for one of two scarf kits which will include enough MJ Yarns to make the scarf, and a free copy of the new pattern design which I’ll need to write up fast, since you’ll note below, that I haven’t even finished making the scarf yet!  There will also be coupons/discounts offered to folks that don’t win the two kits

Entries will be accepted until next Friday, the 13th of January, 2017.  Winners will be announce shortly thereafter.

Current Knitting

My new scarf pattern is simple, and easy and mixes the colors of horizontal stripes in a beautiful way.

Some of you may recognize the stitch pattern from a blanket I made a while ago.  I’m calling this design The Milano Scarf.
Source: fre

Christmas Bounty 2 of 2

A veritable network of people looking for knitting and fiber-related items keep my crafting area full to the brim!

Gifts – Part 2

In addition to the 35 knitting booklets, I got from my sister-in-law, Michelle, there were also 23 knitting books.  Again, most of them focused on men’s knitting designs or designed/written by men.

I have many of the books already, so a lot of them will go with me to the Men’s Knitting Retreat to sell on the tag sale table and make money for the scholarship fund.  One of the books, A History of Hand Knitting by Richard Rutt I have always wanted to own and I’ve started reading it already.

Shocking to see the price for used copies of this book go for on Amazon…yikes!

In addition, Michelle’s friend Holly also sent up a beautiful gift.

These antique weaving items will be perfect for decorating my craft show table, no?

Current Knitting

The third panel of the Easton Mountain logo blanket is almost complete.

It’s been a busy time (holidays and Men’s Knitting Retreat stuff), so knitting time has been a bit scarce.  But I’ve also got a new project on the needles and a teaser for next blog entry!

Upcoming Blog Contest with beautiful yarn prizes!

Source: fre

Christmas Bounty – 1 of 2

Being known as “the knitter” has its advantages.

Especially Around Christmas-time!

My sister-in-law finds a lot of amazing things at yard sales, thrift stores and flea markets, and whenever she finds stashes of knitting related books, it always becomes one of my Christmas gifts.

This year, I think I got over 50 pounds of knitting books and booklets.

And most of them were focused on men’s knitting patterns.  Here’s a little slide show of just the booklets.

There were 35 (with one duplicate) booklets…too many to post individually, so that’s why I did the slideshow.

Next blog post will show the books and other fiber-related items I got for Christmas.

Current Knitting

While I was away at my sister-in-law’s house for a couple of days celebrating Christmas, I decided not to bring any knitting, but she had a knitting project she had started a while ago…a prayer shawl…which she hadn’t worked on for a long time.  I didn’t get a photo, but I did added about seven inches to her shawl while I watched television.

And here’s the current progress on my Easton Mountain logo blanket I’m working on.

It’s all in stockinette, so it’s curled at the moment, but when I start to put together the panels, it will lay a bit flatter.  I’m also thinking about lining it with a soft fabric backing to both hide the back of the blanket and to stabilize the curling after it’s finished.
Source: fre

Back to Bliss

It’s been a while since I worked on any spinning project, and I can’t imagine why it’s taken me this long to get back to it.

My True Serenity

I love knitting, but unlike many other knitters, I don’t find it to be a meditative, serene activity.

For that, I turn to spinning!

Back in 2005, when Franklin came East to got to Rhinebeck and posted the following photo in a blog entry about his trip.

I had just taken ownership of my Robin wheel and with Gage close by, I was lovingly putting it to good use.  I still feel this way when I sit down to spin.

Current Spinning and Crocheting

I’ve had Mindy’s mohair/Shetland blend fiber on my Robin wheel for about 2 years now, and I started spinning up some singles a while ago in a complementary blue/green colorway, figuring that I’d ply the two.   So now I’m focusing on finishing the mohair/Shetland singles.

I still have quite a bit of work to do.

I also made a little bit of progress on the new Interlocking Crochet Scarf in black glitter and teals/turquoises.

It’s almost finished…I’m on my last row and then just weaving in the remaining ends.
Source: fre

The Season is Upon Us

Whether it’s the alleged annoyance of Christians to “keeping Christ in Christmas” or the frenzied retail pace, there’s nothing that signals that it’s the holiday season than an airmail package from James.

Wishing All QueerJoe Blog Readers a Festive Holiday

Thanks to everyone for good wishes sent…I accept and appreciate all good will.  Especially when it comes with fruity New Zealand chocolate!

Thankfully, the month of December is less stressful than many.  Yes, we have gifts to buy and trying to be thoughtful and generous each year gets more difficult for some.  But overall the preparations for the Winter holiday are mostly enjoyable.

I do have one more gift I need to buy, but it’s already determined what it will be, so it shouldn’t be very difficult.  We will also be traveling a little later this month…thankfully it’s traveling I enjoy.

My wish is that your season is equally as joyous.

Current Knitting

It’s been little while since my last blog entry and I did end up finishing the latest Cross Stitch Scarf.

I love the colors in this scarf, and think it’s probably my favorite one yet.  I also started a new Interlocking Crochet Scarf.

It’s being done with sparkly black yarn and streaks of vibrant color…this one may quickly become my favorite version of this scarf.
Source: fre

Back to Real Life

Having only vended in two art/craft shows this year, I’ve gotten a glimpse of what it’s like for the casual vendor, the regular vendor and the professional vendor at these events.

Such a Newbie!

I’m still very new to this world of vending and craft shows.

It was shocking to see how quickly someone could unpack a van filled with shelving, display racks, display lighting, signage, as well as all of their products and all the bags, receipt books and extension cords they needed to set up their booth.  And the speed with which it could be broken down and packed back up in their van was equally as jarring.

Some of the people that do the art/craft show circuit regularly have their set up/break down routine down to a science.

For me, even a simple display took me quite a bit of time to pack into the trunk of my car, transfer into the show venue and organize and set up my booth.

And given that I will only be doing shows in October, November and December in any year, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to match the efficiency of the hardcore regulars who do these shows.

But overall, I found the process quite enjoyable.

Financially, the two shows I did were minimally self-sustaining, in that the time and cost of materials and the cost of the booth were covered by sales with some additional profit to pay for the initial set up costs (cost of the table and display busts, etc.).

Socially, the shows were a lot of fun.  I loved the co-vendors at both the shows I did and enjoyed the interactions with customers and friends who stopped by to look at my knitwear

Since these first two shows were really just testing the waters to see if  I wanted to continue next year, the result was yes, I do want to continue doing this next year and will probably expand to do 4-6 shows in the last quarter of 2017.  Plenty of time to plan and re-stock inventory between now and then.

Current Knitting

While I wasn’t able to finish the Clockwork shawlette/scarf in time to display it for sale, I did finish it Sunday night after the show.

I also started a new Cross Stitch Scarf with the leftover yarn from the last one I sold at the show.

I am learning quickly which items and colorways sell best (at least to the limited customers I have worked with so far) and I’m confident this scarf will sell quickly at my next show.
Source: fre