Sunday, July 24, 2005

Wine is a beautiful thing

It took three goblets (scratch that, a bottle) of red wine and an hour of being really angry at the television to frogg my shapely tank top. I’m angry at the television because of Guns Germs and Steal. It might have been the wine that made me angry, or perhaps, the fact that this man claims ideas as his own that have been around for decades. There are plenty of people who have put together these ideas in these contexts before him, but no credit is given. Take Marvin Harris’s books, which state the same things but gives credit to the sources. Yes, I understand that television leaves little time for citing sources, but the book it is based on had better have citation in it when I dig it out of the closet to read it or else it is getting thrown across the room several times.

Right, back to the wine and re-knitting. Has anyone heard that Fraggle Rock knitting song yet? I found it somewhere a while ago, but I can’t remember where.

Off The Face of The Earth?

I haven’t blogged lately because there hasn’t been anything to blog about. I’m working most days out of the week (yah, not) and everything else is going as slow as a summer evening. In fact, today is my first day off in ages, and it’s all mine.

Woke up extra early and went to the garden before the dew burnt off. I startled an owl as I walked to my allotment. I love mornings in general, but mornings on Sundays and holidays are even better. There is the feeling of emptiness and expectation when you venture out into the early morning. A few people here and there go about in an efficient manner, but the rest of the world is quiet.

The rest of the day is dedicated to the domestic. I have about a dozen zucchinis right now to use up with more on the way, so I’m making cake-loaf with chocolate. It’s not as nice as I had hoped, but not too bad. I’ve been pottering about, cleaning this and that, canning that and this, and overall, just making my home a pleasant place to be.

I had considered going to the art gallery to see the Japanese exhibit, but I think I’ll dedicate some time to my knitting, or more specifically, my frogging. All 3.75 balls of frogging. But, you know, I’ve got to get it done, and I haven’t been able to knit anything lately because I feel so overwhelmed with that much frogging. This is going to take a while.

I was board at work yesterday, so I tried to phone Jenshine’s phone. She always makes me happy to talk to her. But I guess she had it off, several times. I just want you to know, I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth, I’m just tired from working. I was hoping to work two or at the most three times a week, but here I am doing 40 hours like a good little bird. Things will change in two weeks when manager gets back, but until very tired.

Also exciting: school! It starts in just over a month and 2 weeks (second week of September). I can’t wait. I’m already planning out what note book to use and what bag I am going to take on the first day. I have the provisional list of the books I get to study, and boy, do they look good. I can hardly wait. But that’s ok; I’ve started reading some supplemental texts that will help with the upcoming term. Next term I am signed up for PHIL208, Arabic Phil; Phil260, Phil of Mind; Phil490, Nature and Human Nature; Phil260 (year long), The Rationalists; Phil 310 (year long), The Empiricists and Kant; and Phil335 (also year long), Moral Phil. I will most likely drop Phil 260 and 310 with the hopes of taking them next year because they are required to graduate. I know I shouldn’t leave my worst classes to last, but if I am lucky, I can take a reduced course load in those terms.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Listening to...

I have simply fallen in love with KnitCast, a podcast about knitting. I download it onto my Palm pilot and listen to it on my way to and from anywhere.

From what I can tell, podcasts are itty bitty mp3 files that you can download and listen to on your portable electronic music gadget just like your own personalized radio show. Some other podcasts I’ve been listening to are from Radio National

A person I would like to see make podcasts is alittleseed. I love listening to his songs.

I didn’t get a chance to try that new blanket because I worked late. Not to mention the nasty bump on the head that made me feel sick all evening. In fact, I didn’t knit a single stitch yesterday. that’s odd. Perhaps it is because I don’t want to frogg all 3 and a half balls of yarn worth of tank top. That is just so sad.

I did however get some lovely emails from Jenshine. That makes me happy.

Right, well, coffee is almost finished and I have shitloads to do today. Provided I have time, I want to start searching for cheep second-hand textbooks.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Learning the true meaning of Frogging.

This weekend I have learnt a little more about frogging. Not only does it look like I have to frogg my tank top, I had to frog my Y’s Vest 3 times in two days. lucky for me, it knits up quick, but when I keep forgetting to add button holes or to follow the st pattern things get frogged.

Also on the knitting front, the Willy Wonka Blanket. Here, I’ll add a picture of it; it’s in the back left of the photo. It looks like a great stash buster. There is a movement to figure out how it was made. I hope I’ll have enough time to give an attempt at it after work tonight. I love having the opportunity to try something new.

We went to the Moss St. Paint In on Saturday, Y and I. It has become a tradition; we eat brunch at my house, then walk down and look at all the people looking at all the art. The street was closed off to traffic and made into a walking street. It was completely packed with people, and certain points along the road afford a good view of everybody’s head.

I went to the farm and cared for some chickens. It’s a nut farm, but they have chickens and a dog and some tomatoes. Not to mention hay. It was a great lot of fun. Most of the time, we sat around watching the squirrel eat nuts. I had a lot of fun, but it is good to be home.

And now, some more pictures:

Also at the moss st paint in

Mr. Monk's House. (acually it's on moss st. It's one of the sights that we always stop and see.)

Friday, July 15, 2005

I wonder.... and this rain makes me think of Port Hardy and my friend there.

I don't know how to make trackbacks on this new blog system, but the rain reminded me of how much I love this song, and how much I miss friend J. right, I'll post the link and go back to cleaning the house before I cry. gasp. kind of sad here.

A song for jenshine by a little seed

silly bird. It's no use crying over frogged knitting.

For the love of frogging! I think my shapely tank top is too big. Shit-buckets. It has taken me weeks to get to just about up to the armhole shaping on the front (first) panel. Now I might have to frogg it. Frogg all of it. This sucks. Can I cry now?

Okay you silly bird, take a deep breath and walk away. Put the knitting to one side and pick up one of your other WIP’s, like that school bag that you are designing and have almost finished. You can finish that in a day, then come back to the tank top when it is done. Or better still, finish that vest for Y, that should take a couple of days to a week, then you can sew it up. Or speaking of sewing up, the weather is just perfect for sewing up the second Live Life Like a Saint bag. Failing that, you can use some of this left over cotton yarn to invent a bag to store garlic in. The possibilities are endless.

But what I really want to work on is my tank top. I was doing so well. I was knitting along at a great speed, mastering short row shaping as I sailed along, leaving all obvious difficulties in my wake. Maybe it really isn’t as big as it looks. But it is. I compared it to a tank top I have that is a bit big on me. The front panel is almost an inch too big even with the seem allowance. Perhaps if I made the back smaller? No, that would be weird. I’ll just put it to one side and walk away. I’ll take the vest for Y up to the farm this weekend and finish that off. Today, I’ll finish off these two bags. When I come back from the farm, I’ll see if the tank top is still too big. Perhaps I could Yuki-size it.

The picture is a sketch of Y's vest I made in my SnB journal.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Books and Free Will

I have been reading (a rough translation of) The Diary of Søren Kierkegaard lately. Here are some passages that peeked my interest; they focus on the ideas of free will and more specifically, the gathering of knowledge.

“All knowledge has something captivating about it; but on the other hand it changes the state of soul of the one who has it” (Kierkegaard, ed. Rohde, trans. Anderson 1960:100).

“For a thinker there cannot exist any anguish more horrible than having to live on in tension while detail upon detail is being accumulated, and all the time it looks as if the idea, the conclusion, would come the next time. If the physicist does not feel this anguish he cannot be a thinker. That is the terrible tantalus-torment of the intellectual! A thinker feels as if he is in Hell as long as he has not reached that certainty of the spirit...” (ibid pg97).

These two quotes, the editor decided to place under the heading of Natural Science (aka. physics). Kierkegaard argues against the folly of perusing natural science, because the knowledge it provides does not allow for the certainty of spirit. “This certainty of the spirit,” Kierkegaard says, “the most humble of all, the most offensive to the vain the only true certainty” (ibid). Kierkegaard talks about how faith in God provides more certainty of spirit than any answers that natural sciences could come up with.

I think that it has something to do with his creative punctuation, but Kierkegaard’s writings possess such depth of tone, that I can instantly discriminate between sarcasm and admiration.

I know these quotes are not directly related to free will, but it is mentioned in this section. Kierkegaard touches briefly on the idea that natural science, more specifically the branches we call biology and behaviourism, would remove all possibility of an individual’s freedom of will and render it down to nothing more than an illusion. Kierkegaard would have none of that seeing as his faith in God is strong, and God has given mankind freedom of choice (free will).

Today, I finished reading After Goodlake’s, by Terence Young. Mr Young taught me English Lit in high school. When I heard him reading from his new book on the radio a couple of months back, it was a bit like a time machine. The man is brilliant at teaching. He made Shakespeare come alive, almost as if the Bard could take possession of a person’s body every time a person read from a page. I did badly in the class, I think, but I loved it. I bought the book a couple of weeks later when I saw it sitting on the shelf in a bookstore I hadn’t intended to enter. I enjoyed the book a lot. The story takes place here, in Victoria, with a back drop the same as what I see everyday. Now, I feel weird leaving my house. I have all these other memories juxtaposed on top of my own. I see a building that I have never gone in myself, but am certain that it will be just like in this book. It is like I have transplanted the memories of others into my mind. It’s a bit, off-putting, but also, comforting and a little less lonely somehow.

A passage from the book that struck me as odd and has stuck with me throughout the day comes from right near the end. “Most, though, did not even register the delicatessen’s demise. Or, if they did, it wasn’t until much later, in the way that some people will not immediately recognize the theft of something familiar from their home – a wooden chair recruited only for Christmas dinners, for example, or a squat, serviceable pitcher – a thing that in its familiarity becomes almost invisible, and might as well not exist at all” (Young2004:654). Now, I can’t quite pin down what it is in this that catches my eye. At first I object strongly to something not needing to exist, as if by these words, it threatens my own very nature. At the same time, I think, how true. After that, things just start going to mud pies in my brain and I loose track of the words on the page. I have noticed that people do make the invisible familiar; like the expression my mother often accused me of doing, “taking her for granted.” I am very attentive of the familiar. Maybe because I am afraid that the day I “take something for granted,” will be the day I loose something vital to my style of life.

I am grateful to have known both Terence Young and his wife Patricia Young. They are both people who have a strong influence in my life, if only by being there briefly when I was young and impressionable. I wonder if they still live in town. Do they still have that wooden house where they can see the cherry trees blossom each march? Do they still teach? A lot of what I know of Terence Young shows through in his writing, especially in his style, and in the way he describes his characters ability to project their mind away from the here and now. This is a ability that isn't as common in the general population as one might hope. I wonder if any of the events in the story are a reflection of his life.

Let's fall in love. Why shouldn't we fall in love? Now is the time for it, while we are young. Let's fall in love.

Wool, sun, hot weather and I do not go well together. I may love my garden trugs (see finished projects for description and pictures), but I sure as heck do not love how much they make me sweat in this weather. Walked up to the garden today and spent about an hour digging holes. That was a lot of fun. I miss it when I can’t do that. I got way too much sun and am in desperate need of a shower and some lunch. But first, I have some pictures to share with you:

Shapely Tank Top so far. I'm getting excited.

One of my tea towels. I'll post more on my Knitting of my Own page later today.

Garden is good.

Garden is value.

Garlic is also good.

Cabbage getting readyfor canning.

Sookie Cat also likes garlic. She clames this garlic as her own in the name of cat-topia, and all that is cattish for ever and ever, meaow.

Turning into farm girl

My boss is going on vacation, so my dad and I have volunteered to care for his farm for some of the time he is gone. I am really looking forward to living on a farm for a few days. It will be nice to get away from this city, even if it is for a few days. It also means that I will be away from my internet and my home over the weekend; so, if you are trying to get a hold of me, it won’t work.

Talking about work, I may like my job and my coworkers, I just didn’t expect to work this much. I don’t mean that the amount of work I am doing is a lot, it is fine. It’s the number of shifts that is getting to me. I’m so exhausted and there are so many things around my house that need doing not to mention it’s start of canning season. Some of our red cabbage are ready to turn into pickled cabbage, so we get to do that before we go. Not to mention the beans and garlic that also get to be smothered in vinegar and stuffed into a jar. I can’t wait until the fruit is ready and we can start canning that too. mmmm... apple sauce.

Knitting wise, my main focus is still my Shapely Tank Top. I’m at the bust and the second go at short row shaping. I am no longer fretting it; I am just following directions and praying that I don’t have to frog the entire thing. I am also working on Y’s vest, but less effort is going into that these days. I am excited about both of them and can’t wait to see how they turn out. The organic cotton that I am using is the first yarn I’ve ever had to come in, what’s the word for that again?, long loopy thing that you have to wind into balls of yarn. Is it called a hank? I just can’t remember. Anyway, this yarn is absolutely lovely. I’m certain that I must look quite odd draping this hank over my knees in order to wind it up into balls; but, there is something lovely about knitting with yarn that you wound up yourself.

I had tried to blog the other day, but for some reason it wouldn’t work. I lost all my text and couldn’t get it back. I was a bit sad. What I was trying to blog about is my schooling. I am feeling old compared to my fellow students, even though five years isn’t much of an age gap in my opinion. It’s just they are so much more younger than that, or perhaps, I am just so much older than my age. Either way, the gap is noticeable, and I am starting to get flack from other areas saying that I am too old to be still in my undergraduate studies, I should be in graduate studies by now. Let me set this straight, if I had gone, like most of these kids, directly from high school to university, I would have failed. I saw no use in education at that time. After having worked for a few years, I can see how much I enjoy learning. Education offers the time and the opportunity to learn, despite the draw back of having a set course syllabus. I think I’ll focus my attention of getting into to university in Scotland. Stirling is my first choice, but St Andrews if I have to. Stirling and St Andrews University work together in their Philosophy Graduate programme. They are both very good universities, I hope I can get in.

It is my day off today, I’ll head to the garden then I will see what I can get done around the house.

Today’s pictures are from when I lived in the UK

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Thinking about free will

I have been thinking about free will lately. The philosophical dilemma that we are presented in class:

Human choice is either free, or it is not.
If it is free, then the law of causality if false.
If it is not free, then people are not responsible for their actions.
Therefore, either the law of causality is false, or people are not responsible for their actions.
(Kessler, Voices of Wisdom 2004:413)

This dilemma says a lot in three little premises and a conclusion. Today, I just want to touch on things I find concerning in my life.

First off, even B.F. Skinner, ‘al mighty leader of Behavioralism, and staunch believer that our environment influences every aspect of our behaviour, acknowledged that humans need the “illusion of free will.” Even if he was unwilling to acknowledge the existence of it, he could tell that we needed to believe that we have free will. Without this illusion, Skinner observed, that humans wither and die.

If we have free will, than humans have no excuses. This is a dismal thought for many people, the thought that they might be accountable for not only their actions, but for who they are. One of the arguments against free will is the possibility of a higher power. Can you imagine the peaceful feeling that could wash over you if you were not responsible for all that you do, all that you have done? Can you imagine if we were given absolution for all of our actions? Can you imagine how alone and heavy a person feels when they do not have this higher being/power to blame for all that has gone wrong, and if they understood that they are in part responsible for all the evils their species has done to this planet? Can you feel how horrible it is to be responsible, to have no one else to blame for your wrong doings?

Now, from time to time, I have felt what can only be described as a kind of intervention. Like a hand turning me left, when I thought I was going to go right; or at a moment of indecision when both options show no difference from each other. A few times I have felt this feeling of an outside force guiding me. Is this also an illusion?

I have no doubt that free will exists, but I don’t think it is defined right yet, or if it is, I have not yet come across a definition that satisfies me. I can see so many ways that this dilemma is a false one. Free will and causality are not mutually exclusive, they co-exist. The question is, to what extent are we responsible for our actions? To what extent are we responsible to what happens to us?

More to come on that later, now I have to go to work.
Today’s pictures are from the time when I lived in the UK.

Monday, July 11, 2005

I did a lot of knitting yesterday, for all the wrong reasons.

My shapely tank top is so wonderful; although, I still have doubts as to whether I’ve chosen the correct size. I’ll find out soon enough, I suppose. The short row shaping at the base of the top was a breeze and the organic cotton I’ve chosen is so soft. I really love this top; I might end up making more soon. I think that this would be good to make while I study due to the large quantity of st st. I love st st, but I think it is time for a change soon. I have some yarn I could use to make the socks from the fall issue of Interweave Knits with lots and lots of cables. That should save some money, thought I might have to purchase some new needles.

Yesterday morning, I played in my garden. I dug out all the Swede because they were sick and full of worms. I tied up the cucumber, picked some cabbage, beet and beans, planted some cabbage and peppers, dusted the plants with diazotized earth, and weeded the path way. It was lovely. I improved my tan and brought home some food for the next few days. Now if only I could find some leeks for planting. Last year, one little pot of baby leeks produced about 150+ leeks. yummy.

Both of my grandparents are very ill. I spent the rest of the day caring for them. I know that this is the very reason why I am living in this city at this time; however, it’s not easy. Caring for two infirmed adults requires a lot of work and a lot of waiting. Waiting equals knitting. Sometimes it is hard to knit at their home because my grandmother is the person who first taught me how to knit. I have this resistance against learning to speed knit with the yarn in my left hand like Elizabeth Zimmerman because my grandmother taught me to hold the yarn in my right hand and I knit that way out of respect for her. It is difficult to be at their house. They have care workers come in several times a day and care for them. It is a complete loss of dignity and it breaks my heart. At least they can still live at home for now. I think if that ever changed, neither of them would last very long.

The pictures are from my trip to California. Sad, but beautiful. Beautiful in their sadness. A reflection of how I feel today.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

This may not be Scotland, but a girl can still dream.

Yesterday I went to the next town over because I hear that the LYS there is fantastic. Yes, I think it was very nice. Stash wise, they had much less than the LYS near where I live, but people wise, much improvement. I don’t like visiting my LYS for SEX, even though the quantity and quality of the yarn is mind-bogglingly beautiful. The people there are either grandma-age or just a few years younger than me, neither of which I get along with. The grandmother-age staff act very snobbish; a few outright refuse to serve me, they prefer to serve someone they can relate too better, someone a little more like themselves. When I do receive service, or if I ask a question, I am made to feel that I am some fad knitter; just in it all because it is “cool to knit” this month. I don’t think that I am.

I knit because I enjoy it. If it doesn’t last, then fine, I enjoy doing it now, and that is what matters for me. I enjoy the process of knitting. I enjoy watching the fingers of my right hand passing the yarn over the tip of the needle before both of my hands some how separate the needles from each other magically forming a new stitch. Fad knitters are wonderful. They help to return the craft to the current epoch. I am grateful for that. But I don’t identify with them. I enjoy knitting classic style patterns in traditional and if possible ethical yarns.

Returning to the topic of the (not so local) LYS in the next town; the staff there was kind, particularly after I affirmed that, “you know, I’m not really into novelty yarns so much. Do you have any patterns that use a more traditional style?” She sat me down in front of a half a dozen binders full of patterns, and I looked through all of them. They were still quite reserved towards me, like I’m some unknown variable in an experiment that could go critical at any moment or that could produce pure gold from a lesser mineral.

I didn’t find any patterns that I was looking for. Right now I am looking for a very simple pattern (or pattern collection) for pullover sweater vests. I would like to find something that I can adapt and adjust for different yarns, gages, neck lines, and stitch patterns. If this quest takes much longer, I might end up making my own pattern based on a pullover-sweater-vest I bought from Eddy Bauer.

I did however purchase
Interweave Knits, a knitting magazine I heard about on KnitCast. I just love it. Actually, there is a vest in it that is something I would like to make. It is not specifically what I was looking for, but it’s a start. Finally, I found something with cables that I want to make.

Now, it’s back to work on my shapely tank top until I have to head off to work. I’ll post pictures just as soon as I have enough done to take a nice picture. In the mean time, I’ve included some pictures of Scotland from previous visits. I hope you enjoy them.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Knitting in Japan

Knitting in Japan has a diverse history. Lately I’ve been reading about it online and I have learnt that at one time, knitting was an art form done by samurai. Back then they knitted what was useful to them.

Now I look at knitting exhibitions and see the beautiful art created in this medium. For example, this picture, found at
KnitJapan. It is called Joumon after the 'Joumon' era, an era that “lasted almost 10,000 years from 10,000BC to 300BC” (knitjapan). I was struck not only by the beauty of these simulations of ancient earthen wear vessels, but also by the fact that I have visited the location where this picture was taken. It is somewhere in Kansai region.

Another thing that I love about Japanese knitting is the functionality and the simplicity of the pattern. A site I love to visit, although the English version has not been updated for some time, is two kinds of charts .

I admit that when I am designing something that uses a stitch pattern more complicated that st st, I write it out in this style. For me it is much clearer. Right now I am working on a vest that uses a stitch pattern my grandmother calls Blackberry st. Basically, the pattern is a four row repeat. Row 1 - *K2 P2, repeat from *. Row two and four – knit the knits and purl the purls. Row three - Knit the purls and purl the knits. It is much harder to explain than it is to do. Here, let me show you a better way:

l = knit st
- = purl st

Knitters are already very visual, why pressure them into understanding words? I do admit I enjoy the idea that I can translate all these abbreviations found in a pattern into yarn like spy with a secret code. But sometimes, it’s all just too much. I find myself screaming at the yarn or pattern, as the case may be, “why can’t you just be simple!” I’m all about KISS (Keeping It Simple Stupid).

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Swatch knitting time

It is hard to know what to call one’s blog. Soren Kierkegaard said, “Being trampled to death by geese is a slow way of dying, and letting oneself be torn and worn to death by envy is also a long-drawn-out process” (1847). Trampled by Geese is a way of reminding myself to live my life to the best of my ability, and to be kind to others, not only in action, but in thought as well.

The foremost focus of my blog is the twofold: Philosophy and Knitting. Both of which I am passionate about. I am a philosophy major, currently studying for my undergraduate degree. My knitting obsession started as a way of relieving the stress of being a student. Now I knit because I love it.

My current project at the moment is Shapely Tank Top by Joan McGowan-Michael from White Lies Designs. I once turned a heal on a sock, but I didn’t really understand what I was doing. This pattern uses short rows to prove a more shapely cloth. I ordered some organic cotton from which arrived yesterday. Now, it’s swatch knitting time.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

If something does not inspire you, it is not worth having in your life.

It amazes me; I was born in the same year as the very first personal computer. It was the IBM PC model 5150, and looking back at it, I am over half a year older than it. According to high school computer science classes, at that time, the internet then was a small network of defence computers run for and by the American military. I even remember my first experience with the internet; I must have been about 10, we had a 14k modem, and boy, were we excited. To be fair, my father once had a job that involved changing the vacuum tubes in order to programme massive computers about the size of an airplane hanger. Actually, it was in an airplane hanger and there was very little room to move about.

Now, the internet buzzes around our lives like a supranatural creature. The number of people in our culture who use the internet increases exponentially, and those who do not use it are still affected by its existence. Everyday, the internet teaches me something new, whether I want it to or not. I can learn a new knitting stitch or simply gain practice in dealing with frustration. If the internet has taught me anything, it has taught me how to take a deep breath and walk away.

This blogging thing has been around for a while, and like the absent professor I am becoming (I already have the absent down; however, I’m still working on the prerequisites for professorship) I was generally unaware of all things blog related until about a year ago. Up to now, I have been blogging on MSN spaces; however, the quality of my blog left something to be desired. I blogged about everything. My cat meowed, I blogged it. I finished another inch of knitting, I blogged it. I was frustrated with school, I blogged it. It really wasn’t adding anything to the internet. A decision had to be made.

I believe that if something does not inspire you, it is not worth having in your life. This is one of my most strongest beliefs and I do my best to live by it. My old blog, it doesn’t inspire. Now, this blog is in the process of coming into existence. There are a few standards I am setting for myself: One, spell check; two, quality entries about things that inspire me; three, spend less time but provide more content; and four, be thoughtful in your entries, provide something that adds to the quality of the internet, not drivel that subtracts from it.

I think it will take me a while to become use to this new blogging system; however, I can see that blogger has more options and customability (belief two, if it is used as a word, it is a word. English is a living and evolving language. So just get over it, okay) so I should be able to make something nice here. I’m taking my time with this blog, and until I get it up and running, you can visit oldblog at .