Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mysterious Mutating Yarn!

I've knitted enough socks from variegated yarn that I can usually predict what the finished article will look like. But the socks I finished a few days ago proved that (1) appearances can be deceiving and (2) I don't know everything. I should have asked my neighbor, Nancy, about the yarn before I touched it with a needle. She knows everything!

Here's a candid photo of the leftovers--a pretty rainbow variegation.

And here's what happens when this lovely skein was knitted into socks (Warning! Sunglasses Alert!):

The heels and toes look charming. The rest of the sock bears an unearthly resemblance to this appalling cover of Knitter's magazine.

It's an interesting transformation, isn't it?

Note added later: These are my very own fleegle socks. You can find the basic pattern here.

And before you ask, the yarn in Yummy, from Miss Babs, in the Rainbow colorway. It's lovely yarn and I am sure Miss Babs would never have thought her gorgeous colorway would ever mutate into electric pink and fluorescent lime stripes.

Roy likes the socks, though--they match his recently purchased tuxedo--so all has ended well.

The current pair of socks is being knitted with Julia's amazingly priced yarn. So far, I have no complaints. It's soft, has very long color runs, and is a thoroughly pleasant knit. It's about the most cost-effective sock yarn you'll ever find.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Copyright Confusion

If you are a member of Ravelry, you are probably nauseatingly aware of the numerous threads beating pattern copyright issues into small, but terrifying, legal molecules. I dipped into several of these bizarrely acrimonious exchanges and agree that, if you want a designer's pattern, you should buy it from the creator or publisher.

It's clearly a Bad Thing to post extant patterns on a photo- or file-sharing site so the general public can have them for free. It's also a Bad Thing to copy a design and slap your own name on it.

I do not agree that copyright violations fall into the same category as, say, homicide, arson, and lobbing bombs into elementary schools.

For those who have not had the experience of perusing the copyright discussions, I have, for your reading pleasure, distilled their essence into the following fleegleized Copyright Statement. Please make a note of it.

If you purchase this pattern, you may knit a single garment, but said garment may not be sold, loaned, donated, photographed, scanned, or sent to the dry cleaners.

You may not exhibit or wear said garment without a prominently displayed copyright attribution on the front, back, sleeves, and buttons (if applicable). If the knitted item does not have garment parts, the copyright attribution will need to be displayed on the front, back, sides, and interior of same.

You may not discard, give away, or lose either the pattern, or the garment/item, and when you proceed to the Great Knitting Emporium In The Sky, the pattern and garment/item must be incinerated in a sealed container. You may, however, choose to be incinerated with said pattern and/or garment/item, provided that you do not have an electronic greeting embedded in your urn, gravestone, or mausoleum.

If you find this pattern/garment/item in an airplane seat pocket, you may not glance at it. You must report the find to the pilot, who must immediately land the plane and incinerate said pattern on the runway before proceeding to the final destination. You will be further obliged to obliviate the flight attendants, passengers, and other crew members who might have glanced at said pattern while you were slipping it under the cockpit door.

And finally, should your house be distributed via tornado, hurricane, or explosive device, you are responsible for locating both the pattern and garment/item before it can be discovered, read, or worn by a third party.

If you think the above disclaimer is silly and that copyright law is unambiguous, ponder the following:

If you purchase a locked Adobe Acrobat or Microsoft Lit e-book, you'll discover that the Reading Aloud feature is disabled. According to the publishers I queried, if the Reading Aloud feature were enabled for the sight-impaired, then a sighted person might overhear the audio, which is clearly a copyright violation. On the other hand, it is not a copyright violation for two sighted people to simultaneously read the e-book.

If you buy the audio version of the book, it's perfectly fine to play it on your stereo, where an entire family or group of friends can listen in. Furthermore, if you purchase a paper copy of the same book, it's perfectly ok to read it aloud.

You may read the e-book on a limited number of machines (in the case of an encrypted PDF, that means only the machine on which you downloaded the file), but the paper copy may be given away, donated, or loaned out until it falls apart.

If these scenarios leave you confused, then you might want to ponder the concept of public libraries, which allow you to read or listen to copyrighted material without actually paying for it.

For the record, here's how I stand regarding copyright of my own material, designs, concepts, and electronic/audio renditions of same, whether they appear on this blog, are inscribed on a marble stele, or delicately painted on the back of a hamster.

You may do anything you wish with any material of mine that you find on this blog--use it for classes; print out enough copies to paper the Great Wall of China; distribute it electronically; and sell, exhibit, or give away as many finished pieces as you like--all without asking my permission. The only thing I ask is that you credit me, where applicable. If you don't credit me, I won't go after you, but I will think of you ever after as a Really Rude Person.

I don't make any money from this blog or the designs and concepts contained therein. I am not going to waste my income or time pursuing Really Rude People. I would rather be knitting.

Speaking of knitting, I have nothing to show you this week. I am in the middle of three shawls and they don't look much different than they did the last time I posted pictures, except there's more of them on the needles than on the balls/cones.

I won't post the picture of Roy's half-finished socks, because they bear an uncanny resemblance to the current cover of Knitter's magazine, complete with lime green and hot pink stripes. The yarn doesn't look like that at all (it's a pretty, pastel rainbow blend), so I figure I must have left the socks on top of the cover and somehow, the virulent cover photo perfused the sock. Be careful where you leave your knitting.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

The Good
The Trenna transfusion arrived today and it's virtually a perfect match. With a bit of medical magic, we got Hanabi off the heart-lung machine and she is convalescing comfortably, thanks to the precision science of Dr. Schaefer. We expect a quick, complete recovery and she is being returned to the daily knitting agenda.

On the down side of the Good News, we submitted Hanabi's hospital bill to Blue Cross/Blue Shield and they rejected the claim for $376,298.14. Although Hanabi is on our policy as a dependent, BC/BS won't cover experimental patterns. Fortunately for our financial picture, the hospital took the heart-lung machine in trade for their impeccable services.

Having freed up a bit of space in the garage, we were moving some boxes of blue ketchup around and discovered a miniature nuclear reactor behind the stack of fifth grade arithmetic tests. Roy tinkered with the connections and eventually got the reactor hooked up to the new ball winder. He is now freed up for his secondary job--machining a set of perfect lace needles.

For those concerned about Lester, rest assured that he is taking a well-deserved break in Cancun and is expected to return in a few weeks to take over the ball-winding chores.

We were delighted to discover that Lester has a degree in nuclear engineering. He is only the second hamster to have passed the intensive course and we are quite proud of him.

The Bad
I will not present a visual of this disaster, because it's too horrific for publication. While carefully tinking back my International shawl, I uncarefully managed to drop 4 stitches. By the time I noticed the error, the stitches had plunged over 20 rows, thereby completely unknitting the middle of a complex flower. The shawl is hidden from view in an unused drawer. If I ever find the energy, I will frog it back, but don't hold your collective breaths.

The Ugly
I won't present a picture of this either, but if you haven't seen the cover of the Spring, 2008 Knitter's magazine, you are not in for a treat. My eyes watered at the fluorescent pink and green colors, and my fingers started itching at the hairy yarn. I won't even comment on the design, except to say that the yarn and the pattern were made for each other. Roy was more charitable--he remarked that at least someone made an effort to match the model's lipstick to the yarn. The on-line version doesn't begin to reproduce the glare, but I provided a link so you can prepare yourself for the real-life photograph.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

A Knitting Miscellany

A camel ride wasn't my only anniversary gift. I also received this magnificent hand-turned yarn bowl out of which balls (or pink flamingos) cannot leap...

...and a magnificent hand-turning ball winder from Nancy's KnitKnacks. I cannot overstate how fabulously quick and neat this unit turns skeins into shapely yarn cakes.

One of the disadvantages of skeins is that you can't actually do much with them besides admiring and squishing. So I filled a large bag from my stash and turn it over to Roy, who has been graciously exercising his winding arm. It was a rare treat to sit down for an entire afternoon and make little test swatches.

One of the swatches was so entrancing that it has since morphed into a new project I have named the Water Lily shawl. I think the pattern works beautifully with the soft variegation of Cheryl Schaefer's Andrea in the Minnie Pearl colorway.

In the meantime, I finished the center of the International shawl and worked my way up through most of the first border, an Estonian design (a modified #113 from Pitsilised Koekirjad). I was feeling like an especially hot-needle babe, until LaceFreak pointed out that my corners were not where they were supposed to be. I won't show you a picture of the poor shawl, which is currently underwater in the Frog Pond.

And finally, Harry handed me these pictures of his Bling shawl as he pranced out the door for his Swing Dancing class. Bling, Swing, AnnoyING.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Romance in the Air!

Most married couples, on the occasion of their wedding anniversary, dress up in romantic fancy clothes and go out for a romantic dinner. Or they travel to a romantic location for a romantic weekend.

I, however, was whisked away for an utterly romantic...

...camel ride!

As you can see, a lovely time was had by all, although I now have a profound understanding of why some folks in the Middle East often seem a bit crotchety. Getting up and down on a camel is akin to enduring an earthquake, but not quite as smooth.

Happy Anniversary, Dahling! And thanks for 23 years of romance! And adventure!