Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I'm Hot and Cranky ...

and I have summer cold. Can I blame it on the Chinese?

ps It's hard to knit when you're sneezing.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Chinese toothpaste?

Forgive the non-knitting content, but this story caught my eye this morning on Yahoo. Maybe my paranoia is normal ....

Makes me want to live in the woods and knit directly from wild sheep.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Eye Candy from the Garden

Meet Miss Bleeding Heart:
Not that we have anything in common, mind you (oops, my liberal genes are showing). But I love this plant. My mom was a wonderful gardener, and I didn't really appreciate that about her until after she was gone. We had tulips, daffodils, morning glorys, four o'clocks, lilies of the valley, hollyhocks, roses ... Not in a particularly organized garden, but however she felt like planting them. And, bleeding hearts. They don't last long, but they're beautiful. So these are for mom.

And this, is a trillium. It is illegal to pick trillium in New York State. They grow like crazy on my hillside, so we've replanted a few closer to the barn. This one is next to the bleeding heart and I think they're friends.

Still knitting on Big Blue ... but tonight is Sip-n-Stitch, so I might not get too much done between rounds of Harp!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Big Blue

Yep -- here it is. The Cotlin yarn from Knitpicks in Nightfall, in progress. I've jumped without a net, and am trying to design a drop-shoulder sweater using Ann Budd's wonderful book, along with hints and advice from EZ herself, in Knitting Workshop. I'm tense. But loving it.

This is a close-up of the yoke, and I actually made up the design, on graph paper. What am I, nuts?

And, a long shot:
I'm about to shape for the neck, then pick up and knit the sleeves downward. I'm hoping the emminent Twig will give me some tips, as I remember she did the same on a sweater a few months ago.

I'm forcing myself to finish this, in spite of the calls from the stash to knit a tank top, and I do love the drape and feel.

And now for something completely different -- in the continuing saga of my anti-China/foreign purchases, the spouse wants to buy a pair of "hybrid" shoes for summer -- kind of a cross between sandals, water shoes, and sneakers. Last year, before my epiphany, I went to a local shoe store, and bought these, which I love. So I go on the web site. I look at the shoes. No indication of where they are made. So I sent the company an email. And this is what I got in response:

Thank you for contacting Keen Footwear! We applaud your interest in supporting products made under good environmental and working conditions. Keen Footwear is manufactured in privately owned and operated factories in China. Our US based product development team is in constant contact with the factories, and visits them regularly to ensure that they fully adhere to our labor and environmental standards.

Keen takes an active interest in both the economical and physical well-being of the communities where our shoes are produced, in addition to strict adherence to the international fair labor standards.
If you are interested in a copy of our labor standard, please let us know!

Thank you again for taking the time to write to us. Have a great day!Sincerely,

Do I believe them? Does it matter? There's still the cost of shipping products from China. There's still the issue of my dollars supporting other countries. I'm probably being a bit obsessive, but hockey season is over, and I have to get my release somehow!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Two Scary Things

This is a mosaic floor I saw at a museum in St. Augustine, Florida. Why did I take a photo, you ask? Because I thought it would make a cool knitting pattern for the edges of a cardigan, that's all. I fear I am truly obsessed.

And here's what's even scarier:

My 16 year old son has his driver's permit. Watch out New York drivers! Actually, he's doing pretty well, but I'm still a nervous mom. How did he get so old? How did I get so old?

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Yuan Stops Here

Look carefully. That is the yuan, an example of Chinese currency.
And now look at this: The U.S. Dollar. I wish I could show a magic trick where the dollar turns into the yuan, but all I have to do is look at the labels on my clothes, my electronic equipment, and my pet food.

I started thinking about the yuan after the pet food recalls. Never in a million years could I have imagined that an ingredient in Alice and Miss Kitty's food would come from China. Now, most of the time, I put a mental wall up against "the news". I listen to NPR on the way to the office, to keep myself "informed", but I usually don't allow any feelings to seep through, because, I tell myself, I am virtually powerless to change global issues. (snickers from my friends who remember my early activist days are allowed).

But then I started listening, and thinking. China's economy is booming. China's government does not have the safeguards in place to protect our environment, let alone the health and safety of consumers of products made in that country. Then add the fuel that it takes to ship pet food from China, or clothing, or toys, and the impact is appalling.

I kept thinking, what can I do? One person, in a small town in Central New York. Write my Congress representatives? Maybe. The President? (hah!) So I did nothing.

Then, the other day I was changing my clothes at the office, before going to the Y. Here's what I discovered: My skirt was made in China, my blouse in Swaziland, my bra in the Dominican Republic, and my panties in Bangladesh. And I didn't even buy any of them at Wal-Mart.

So here's what I decided: No more. I am not powerless. I have the power of the American Dollar. I will not buy any items made in China again, nor any made outside of the United States. Even if it means that I have to knit my own underwear, or (gasp) go without ala Brittany Spears.

I'm serious. And it's not going to be easy. Just try to find a small appliance made in the U.S. Or a pair of sneakers. In the past, I've ordered items from the Sierra Trading Post catalogue, and LL Bean. Guess where over 90% of those items are made? You got it -- Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Vietnam, China. Our dollars supporting other countries who are taking our money , killing our pets, and poisoning our environment. No more.

I wonder what would happen if, just for one day, no one in America bought anything foreign made. Do you think the politicians would notice?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Florida Fun!

This is what I left -- sand, sea, and sunshine. Sigh. Not that it's not sunny here today, but there's something about the ocean that I adore, even though I can't swim a stroke.

There was knitting, however. Skeins of it! Here's me in Threads of Time, Ormond Beach, Florida. A great store! And great finds.

Here's what I bought:

To make this:

The yarn is a blend of cotton and silk, and feels delicious. I had to start it, even without my swift and winder. I also bought enough Rowan Cashcotton to make a cardigan -- on sale for 50% off! The color is wonderful -- a nice purple and it feels so soft.

And there was even historical knitting!

This was in the Lightner Museum, in St. Augustine. A rich dude's private collection. I tried to fit it in my purse, but my friends thought we'd get caught and since we don't practice law in Florida ... well, she's still there, being adorable. I love the bare feet!

Finally, here's the pullover I'm knitting from Knitpicks Cotlin.

I made up the border pattern, and am either going to make it a raglan or a drop-shoulder, trying the EZ Percentage System. I love the color, and the yarn is DK weight, so I don't think it will be too heavy.

And now for something completely different, but not unexpected: GO SABRES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Report from Down South

Stupid moi forgot the camera/computer cord. So you'll have to be satisfied with word pictures.

1. Blue skies. Big yellow ball in the sky. Could it be??? Yes!!! The sun! Something we haven't seen for a long time in Western NY. I love it.

2. Waves. Sand. Dolphins!

3. Yarn!!!!!!!!! Threads of Time. Purchases of good stuff, photos to follow. Some, on sale!

4. Flight from hell. I sat next to a woman who need two seats, really. That was ok, but when she decided to change the diapers of her two toddlers, sitting across from us with an older sister, in the aisle, and stash the poopie one in a bag underneath her seat, I almost became a homicidal maniac.

5. Landshark Lager. With a lime.

6. Sabres fans at the Oyster Bar in Daytona! Yes Twig, there were a few Rangers fans there also (grrr). Good food. Mor Landshark Lager.

7. St. Augustine -- cool buildings, great Cuban food, banana-chocolate-graham cracker ice cream.

8. And the best part -- 2 more days!!!!!!!!!