Archive for December, 2006

Short & sweet

Sunday, December 10th, 2006

‘Twas a productive weekend… the sock should be finished by week’s end (I really need to branch out into another pattern) and the newly designed object (a gift-to-be and perhaps a submission) is coming along nicely. Photos when I’m done…

Thanks for the comments on yesterday’s post, but ignore the first one… that’s the photographer himself vying for more time to be spent in the Guess where SF flickr pool.

Our view is so different from the sky shots I see on Paul and Dave’s blogs. Their east coast winter silhouettes are part of my childhood. My mild and moist Northern California hues seem so out of place at this time of year.

Ugg. I’m so not ready for the holidays.

Watch out, Sailors!

Saturday, December 9th, 2006

This is what we see from our kitchen as we’re making coffee. By we, I mean my wife, Mr. Man. On Friday, it was a spectacular sunrise that I’ve been meaning to share with y’all. The sky flamed through a range of colors before it awoke into the bright, clear morning.

They’ve predicted three days of rain since Friday, but we’ve been lucky with just a few downpours and mild gray blahs. Not that I’d mind, I’m still overrun with this cold, so I have no business being outside, regardless of weather. Swim practice saw me sitting on the side of the pool trying to coach people into a joined move in a circle.

I napped this afternoon after a gesture towards cleaning up the house that only resulted in recycling two bags of free magazines (brought home from work over the years). I suffered through the swim team’s holiday party, but I had a sock to keep me company: finished the heel flap, turned it and completed the gusset.

In the spirit of good blogging intentions, IOU photos of my step-outs from KG. I need to finish the cleaning job begun today and put the half-finished away, but not before capturing them for posterity.

Now, I have to get back to my tea before bed.

(Mr. Man has taken a whole series of morning photos if you’re in the mood for pretty SF skies and urban landscapes.)

10, 9, 8, 7

Friday, December 8th, 2006

Only 10 minutes left in the day for me to get a post in. Just got home from our here, the locattion of our holiday party. Think fast, mister…

I didn’t get Scout love in the form of sock yarn today because they never processed the mail at work. That’s my most reliable shipping address.

Tonight was our company’s holiday party and they sent everyone home after lunch and our surprise guest speaker. It was Al Gore. Yeah, that Al Gore. Sadly I have no pictures to prove it, but I did pul lthe curtain back for him and take his jacket after his speech before the Q&A.

We’ve had Julia “Butterfly” Hill and Michael Pollan, but I’d never expect the former next president of the United States!

Still snotty…

Thursday, December 7th, 2006

…meaning congested. Being judgemental is a permanent condition (ask Scout). I feel a bit better than I did at this time last night, but I suspect I’ll have another few mornings of sore throats and phlegm before this is gone.

Today was the all-day portion of our day-and-a-half company meeting. Now, I don’t mention my company’s name here, but those who know or write me mostly likely know where I work. Suffice to say, it’s a pretty damn cool place. I’m the online marketing department, just a meager manager-level position, nothing too fancy—only me and my staff of one. It’s a friendly place and we get along super well with one another. I’m well-liked and well-known, and not just for being the wacky gay guy who knits (just a few rows on a heel flap in the minimal downtime of the day).

Nonetheless, it’s been a tad stressful this past week rehearsing with the CEO (a lovely woman), the VP of HR (a fabulously biting and dry wit) and working out all the sound, light and stage cues. Knowing the owners and 177 co-workers would be sitting in our auditorium to witness the production made the stakes seem that much higher. When today ended with a sushi and sake/beer/soda hour, I was proud of how the day went and relieved that all the bigwigs and smallwigs were happy with the day. (And it was nice to have sushi!)

In addition to a review of a killer year, an inspirational address about dreams, company awards, a lunch that’s made me farty, videos that ranged from a fancy commercial-esque piece that kicked off the day to a silly, fun-filled recap of events and such, we watched Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.

Bad leftie that I am (and our company is based in Berkeley!), I hadn’t seen it yet. While I’ve learned a lot about global warming through programs we sponsor (carbon offsets, recycling, composting, worm bins, organic ingredients, sustainabililty, biodiesel, alternative energy, etc.), it was still inspiring. Please rent the DVD if you haven’t already seen it. But, what impacted me more, was how sexy it made Apple Powerbooks look (and Treos).

[It also made me want to go to Mac World next year so I can make such pretty presentations. All of my audio-visual-digital has been self-taught. Trial and error has been the motif for all the mixing/music cutting, podcasting, and video editing. While I could get work to pay for such training (and my work would benefit), wouldn’t it be fun to add some more pizazz to these here Internet tubes?]

Enough about me… please learn how you can make a difference.

Scout’s swag for me

Wednesday, December 6th, 2006

I thought I didn’t have anything knitting to share. Technically, I don’t since I haven’t knitted today. I should be working out some hat designs on the new yarn I bought this weekend, but I’m not. They’re sketched and work conceptually, but I haven’t even swatched this wool. I’d like to bust them out by the weekend… but we’ll see.

But then there’s that photo here. Notice how it matches my banner up at the top oh, so well? That’s some custom-dyed sock yarn from Scout of Scout’s Swag. She and I got to talking because of KG. She’s going to be a guest and demo’ing dying your own yarn. From the looks of her work, she’s an expert and I can’t wait to get my hands on that merino!

Other than the anticipation, I’m pretty darn tired… and it’s not terribly late yet. My throat hurts and my body may be hoovering on the precipice of a cold. Stress has got me run down, that and late nights at the office. I skipped swim practice tonight—don’t tell my coach.

Originally, I was supposed to have a dress rehearsal for our company meeting tonight. We had it last night instead, but I just wasn’t in the mindset to hop into the pool. Now that I think about it, I’m not going to be in the mood to swim Saturday, as I plan to have a good time on Friday night at our holiday party.

Paul, 900 yards is great! Drink lots of water and keep moving. Maybe swim again in a day or two? When I was running tons, a swim the day after was my favorite thing for helping sore muscles. But, since you’re just coming back, watch out for the shoulders and increase your distance gradually. A little bit more regularly is way better than a whole bunch and getting laid up with injuries.

Real Men Knit

Tuesday, December 5th, 2006

Did you see the homepage of YouTube today? Under the featured videos, there was the trail for Real Men Knit.

Way to go, Wendy!

In other news, the MANicure that I got last week for Knitty Gritty seems to be holding up well. Now, I had never had a manicure before. Pedicures, sure. Doesn’t everyone paint their toenails before doing marathons or Ironmans? Well, I used to. However, my handful (poor word choice?) of professional pedicures never reached the transformative nirvana that many friends raved about.

I had always dismissed manicures as something for over-primped metro- and homo-sexuals, television shopping hosts or close-up magicians with a spare Alexander Hamilton in their wallet. I don’t get off on the “luxury” of having someone attend to basic needs that I can do myself, namely clipping my nails and using hand lotion. Haircuts require the skill of someone else—unless I’m shaving the whole thing off. I’ve been able to trim my own nails since I was a wee lad. Besides, I have pretty soft hands (never done a day of hard work in my life </sarcasm> other than that year at Dunkin Donuts in high school–if you’re searching for a holiday gift for me, get me this in a M). But if KG wanted it, just like Amy and Stephanie, I’ll do it.

Un-smurfing-believable! I feel like I have new hands. New nerve endings on my fingertips. New nails, even! They convinced me to allow some polish to be put on, too. I’m no fan of clear, shiny sh!t on guys… I’d rather a nice gun metal gray or Bakelite orange-brown. But, they had a matte-finish “mens” polish that dried nicely. I still felt butch (as much as that’s possible). The whole process affected me so much that I dreamt about my hands that night!

Now, a week later, my only complaint is the matte has turned a little glossy. I don’t know if it’s from my obsessive moisturizing in hopes of preserving that feeling or a fact of how it ages. Perhaps I’ll take it off with some polish remover if I see any chipping or excessive shine. While I’m not going to run out every month and get my nails “did,” I’m a convert. Manicures ain’t that bad. I could swing one once a year…

ADDED AT 10:33p: Read Brian’s comprehensive review of RMK. (He’s a rock-star O’Reilly guy, publishers of Craft to which I just subscribed!)

They can run on fossil fuels?

Monday, December 4th, 2006

It’s a lazy post, grabbing something off YouTube,, but this tune has been haunting me since last week.

Maragret Cho’s NSFW deconstruction of the hip-hop put-down/anatomy-bragging genre. Highly inappropriate, but cerebral humor that speaks to sexism, pop-culture and you can dance to it.

Happy birthday, hizKNITS!

Sunday, December 3rd, 2006

It was a year ago today that I finished futzing with the template for this here blog. I’d been writing about my knitting on since it launched a year earlier and blogging elsewhere (I’ll never tell) since 2000. I manually imported all my old knitting posts into this fabu WP and I thought I’d cull through other writing and bring it… but I haven’t gotten around to that. I’ll just have to create better stuff moving forward.

Just now, I finally figured out my email account, so you can send electronic missives and inappropriate photos to stephen [at] hizknits [dot] c o m. Better yet, just leave a comment.

I bought the URL (and the misspelled on 11/30/05… a year before the taping. I wonder what’s going to happen next year?

I’d also like to thank…

Saturday, December 2nd, 2006

Now, I wouldn’t have ever been on Knitty Gritty if it wasn’t for a bunch of amazing peeps. If you don’t already know them, you should. Without them, I’d just be sitting in San Francisco twiddling my thumbs, fiber-less and bored. Here they are:

  • Wendy’s Real Men Knit is how the producer found me. The DVD gives combines history with interviews from over 20 male knitters, including the Monday night knitting at Three Dollar Bill cafe, a knitting lesson and extended conversations with Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably. You’ll also see where I can stick a cable needle.
  • Susan (from Crystal Palace Yarns) provided the yarn for the project and the yarn on which I learned to knit! In addition to her bloggish scratch pad that dates back to 1995, they now have a more bloggerly blog.
  • Dan and Michael who took my pattern publishing virginity in the second issue of
  • Stephanie’s felted messenger bag from Knitty inspired me to rework my pattern to be seamless. I thank both her and Amy for their gracious permission to incorporate Stephanie’s construction ideas.
  • My knitting brothersisterman and this bloggy-daddy, Darrel whose created the online community I call home and is a joy to knit, sit, eat and hang with. (I miss you. Call me!)
  • And last, but certainly not least, Betsy (two-time KG guest!) who gave me the gift of bamboo circular 13s, a couple balls and the knowledge to be dangerous with them.

Merci mille fois!

It’s a wrap!

Friday, December 1st, 2006

I’ve been home for twenty-four hours and I’m still glowing from my Knitty Gritty trip to SoCal. Pardon the hyperbole, but I could never have imagined it would be so freakin’ great! Speaking of great, superwoman, working mom, and gracious host Vickie Howell not only shot two shows over a twelve-hour work day, she found time to write it up on her blog (with a lovely prom photo of us!).

But, let’s start with Sonya, pictured here. I couldn’t choose just one adjective to describe her. Our emails and phone calls as we arranged for me to be on the show were pleasant enough, but meeting her in person exceeded all expectations. She made me feel like a star, when it’s really her and and Vickie and the crew who deserve the spotlight. Thank you, Sonya for welcoming, rehearsing, cheerleading, writing, encouraging, smiling, laughing, and making it all happen!

And a huge round of applause and buckets of gratitude to (pardon the misspellings) Calsie, Kenyetta, Andri, Dave, Joy, Alexandra (wardrobe?), Jim (sound?), Suzy, Stephanie, Kelly, Gordon. I never caught the names of the three cameramen, the lighting guy or the other fellows wandering around, but they were lovely!

I was nervous, fearing I’d talk to too quickly, forget a “golden nugget” of knitting wisdom, or knit less-than gracefully. I was a little tired, too. I also stayed up to 1:30 the night before rushing to knit up my last step-out.

Originally, I had done a detail of the bag, but because it was the last step-out before the “hero” finished project, it was confusing to just have two inches of knitting. It would look better as an almost finished bag or twenty inches. I spent over an hour before cameras rolled grafting my newly-knit bottom of the bag to the detail. Despite the stress, the shoot went flawlessly and we were done long before lunch! Not bad for Day 2 of the shooting, eh?

Other highlights include the fabulous Knitsters who spent their morning knitting up my project. Although they had never met, they got along famously and I wish I got to sit back with them on that uncomfortable couch and knit with them! Thank you, David, Kristen and Aaron—I want to see your finished bags!

I got to meet some other guests, including Art Yarns’ Iris Schreier (who was the only show shot on Day 1), John Brinegar of Yarn Ball Boogie (who shot after me). During lunch, who should arrive (and dine in the parking lot with us) but Ms. Amy Singer, who we all know and love from! She taped this morning, another one of Sonya’s charges.

But, the biggest surprise of my time there was the short, bald man with a really big lens who wandered in while I was rehearsing. I asked Sonya if I could stop to go say hello to him, as I recognized him immediately. I mentioned him yesterday as John’s imported (from Chicago) entourage, but you’ll have to go to my flickr page to see him named. I don’t want to contribute to any knitting blogger gossip/drama/scandal, but he flew out to meet John for the first time in person!

We cackled and giggled together while John was rehearsing and shooting. He’s a sweetheart who I’ve admired from afar and, after only a few short hours, would consider it an honor to be his friend. Color me touched that he gave me his email address with a little drawing of his fluffy friend.

Our recent comments on each others’ blogs prove that you shouldn’t lurk. Be brave and write people if you like what you read! Speaking of which, I’ll email you back, Stephanie (you were much more productive in your non-NaNoWriMo-ness than me), Scout (I Sonya big time!) and J.P. (She’s terribly fun, professional and a-freakin-dorable… and she has great red suade platform heels).

It’s late now. To quote the show, “Knit on!” Nighty-night.