Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dear Internet Trolling Robots

I love robots, I really do. I read stories about you. I watch movies about you. I cry at the end of The Iron Giant every single time. I made a beer and called it "Benderbrau" because Bender did in an episode of Futurama. I've known the rules of robotics by heart since I was 9, see:
  1. A robot may not injure a human being or by inaction allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey any orders given to it by a human unless that order conflicts with the first law.
  3. A robot must not allow itself to come to harm unless doing so conflicts with the first or second law.

But, internet trolling robots, you need to respect that this is a (mostly) knitting blog. I support robots knitting and knitting robots. I encourage on topic comments. If any knitting robot has comments, questions, or experiences to share, by all means do. If anyone who is knitting a robot wants to discuss their project, especially whether circuit boards function better in ribbing or lace, by all means share.

But robots peddling viagra? You are not welcome. That will never be an on topic comment on this blog. I'm terrified to think what happens when a robot takes any such medication. Neither do I need internet trolling robots stopping here to share information on how to chat online with naked foreign women. Again, why would you be interested in such things?

So this is a direct order, from a human, to all robots: Do not post comments here that are off topic, or that you wrote late at night after your english language circuits had shut down for routine maintanance. Do not start with badly worded compliments to my blog, even if you carefully inserted the 4 most frequently occuring words and tags, only to continue with an add for "male enhancement." Not only is this off topic, it's not what knitters are looking for on the internet. It may be what everyone else is looking for on the internet, but not us. What we're looking for is a pattern for a hat that fits a 9 month old and is covered in bunnies, or a good source for polwarth wool that can ship tomorrow, or an answer to whether or not it's a good idea to knit lace in 100% alpaca. When we see naked ladies online we feel bad for them and cast on a sweater.

You have been ordered. From now on no robot may post any off topic comment here unless doing so prevents a human from coming to harm. Even so, it will be deleted.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Spinners guild reveals reasons ‘why ’

This was a really nice article published in the local "Bee." Unlike the Buffalo News reporter who interviewed many of the same people and got much of the information wrong, Naomi Spencer was really lovely and attentive, and wrote an accurate, interesting, and articulate article about our local spinning guild.

Spinners guild reveals reasons ‘why ’

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Knitting and Beer, What Could Be Better?

I was recently asked, by a very young reporter, how long it takes to make something if you start by spinning the yarn. There are of course 2 answers to the question. There is the answer in hours, and there is the answer in years. Interestingly, these 2 answers do not work out to the same amount of time.

Case in point: I have finally finished my purple sweater set. Upon our third summer together, my friend Rachel looked at me working at my spinning wheel and said "Isn't that the yarn you've been spinning the entire time I've known you?" Lucky for her, I wasn't at a good point to let go
and throw my niddy noddy at her.

finished sweater set!

How many hours did this set take? Well, I started with white roving: 2 pounds of wool and 9 ounces of silk. I spent a day dying the wool in 4 separate shades of purple and painting the silk
in the 4 shades sequentially. The most time consuming part was that I then hand carded the 4 shades of wool into heathered rolags before spinning them. The combination of carding and spinning may have taken as much as 200 hours. It felt like longer. Then I knit 2 sweaters, that probably took about 100 hours (these are hugely estimated numbers). I think I spent about 10 hours making the lovely dorset buttons. So all told that would be 310 hours and a day.

dorset button

How many years did this sweater set take? Well, as best as I can remember I started in the summer of 2002 or 2003 when I bought the wool in Delphi NY. I finished this past June. That's 7 or 8 years to complete a sweater set. Over those years I had 3 different "school year" jobs. We went through 4 costume directors at the Opera. I lived in 4 different cities/towns, had 4 apartments, got married, and bought a house. That's way more than 310 hours and a day.

After finishing in June, I figured I would put the set away until December, but we had such a weird summer that I wore it on July 1st and was quite happy to have it. Since that day it's been over 80 every day.

There have, of course been other projects during that time. In fact, anything on this blog or on
my Ravelry page was made during that time. Plus there's all the other hobbies.

I love when my very different interests in some way intersect, overlap, or inform each other. Like how the garden feeds the rabbits and the rabbits supply the compost that feeds the garden. And the spent grains from brewing feed the compost feeds the hop vine makes beer. Or when Queen sings about relativistic time dilation. Or how when a math/science student takes costume construction I can point out that the balance points on a sleeve head are the 2 points on the curve where the second derivative equals zero. And now I have a new one: a knitted beer label.
This goes way past drinking and reading while knitting for relevant hobby interaction. Check it out:

I'm quite pleased with the result, although I had to save it from an unfortunate earlier stage where the lemon looked like a cupcake. Some of my labels fall flat, but I've made a few in the past year or so that I'm really pleased with. The beer was good too.