Knitting – machine or not?

Doesn't look like knitting

Doesn’t look like knitting

I made the mistake of signing up for a machine knitting group, thinking it was a regular knitting group.  I have just unregistered, but it got me thinking.  Again.  Am I knit purist or snob?  I don’t think using a knitting machine can be rightly considered knitting.  Is it even a craft?  I’m not dinging the people out there who love to do this.  I know it’s a lot faster to finish a project than hand knitting, but I also know it’s limiting.  I had purchased a machine about three years back because I thought for a minute that I wanted to crank out my own sweaters.  Then I went on YouTube and looked at some how-to videos.  It doesn’t appear to require a whole bunch of…technique.  Is that what a makes a craft?  Practice?  Discipline?  Does it take any of these things to use a knitting machine?  I have no idea, as my foray into the world of semi-automated knitting was short lived.  I didn’t even open the box; I returned it immediately.

Ah. There it is.

Ah. There it is.

I think it depends on why you’re using the machine.  My idea of making my own designs and then making the garment was valid enough; however, while waiting for the machine (I ordered it online), I realized that my passion was not for cranking out mass amounts of sweaters, but the act of knitting itself.  Feeling the needles in my hand, the yarn that seems to automatically wrap around my right hand fingers for tension, holding my mouth a certain way as I fight with a particularly difficult cable, the whole throwing vs. picking technique, continental vs. English, the mobility of it while you tote around your latest pair of socks, sitting around a table with other knitters while talking about knitting! – that’s knitting.

I would like to hear from both sides!  For those of you who use machines, do you use them exclusively or do you mix it up with hand knitting?  For those of you who hand knit, why did you start?  Was it a yarn thing, the finished product thing, a family thing…?  Let me know.

Mammograms and a Yearly Reprieve

What is it about that yearly exam that makes one think of death as an imminent event in one’s life? True, most of us don’t know when we’re going to die, but there are certain reminders of that fragile state known as “living” and one of them, at least for me, is my annual boob mashing.

Yeah...it is as uncomfortable as it looks.

Yeah…it is as uncomfortable as it looks.

All year long I’m busy living my daily life, taking my health for granted and the illusion that I’ll have it forever.  Working at a doctor’s office, I talk to patients who have all sorts of health concerns, and it always freaks me out when cancer is involved.  Cancer knows no age limits, no general health indicators, no gender or race preference.  I have lost family and friends to cancer and there’s always a story from a friend or acquaintance about some unlikely, for lack of a better word, victim, who has just been diagnosed with this scourge.  At work, there have been patients whose cases have made it difficult for me to maintain composure and all I can think is “Fuck cancer!”

So every year I get checked.  And every year, while waiting for the results, I think to myself, “What if this time…?”  So every time I get the all clear, I feel as if I’ve been given a reprieve from the inevitable.

The point of this post?  Just wondering if I’m the only one who goes through this.  Am I?

Writing 101: Size Matters

Writing 101: Size Matters.

Every so often I will respond to these daily challenges, depending on my mood, the specific assignment and how I feel.  I guess I felt I had to respond to this, even though, in comparison, my comment was rather succint.  I said all I wanted to at the time!

I lived in a bright, little yellow house for the first 17 years of my life with my mother and my sister. I would imagine 12 is in there somewhere…When my mother first rented the place, she told me the neighborhood was very blue collar and quite comfortable. Right around my 12 year mark, I recall changes in our neighbors. Low-rent apartments were built and suddenly, we had to start locking our doors. And it wasn’t a whole slew of people, just a few that made life what it was because they were dicks. After that, of course, the real estate principle of regression kicked in, and we were compelled to move later on. But 12 was still a relatively good time.”

Has this happened to anyone else?

Sleeper

When growing up I remember all tomatoes were red, all lettuce was iceberg, Oscar Meyer bologna was king, and white bread, enriched with vitamins and minerals, was good for you.  Then in the 80’s, we started hearing about cholesterol, both high and low-density lipoproteins, saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, (no, trans-fat wasn’t in the public consciousness yet!) and carbohydrates.  There were other buzzwords circulating at that time, but I won’t belabor my point….too much.  If you all remember, carbs were king and feeling the “burn” while you exercised was the only way to go.

sleeper

Love this house! I think it’s somewhere in Arizona.

woody-allen-sleeper

He always knew how to make use of his – ahem – less than attractive face.

I’ve used the title “Sleeper“, a great Woody Allen movie, because the nutrition information seemed to jive with what is happening today.  The main character is, without his consent or knowledge, put in cryogenic sleep because something went wrong during a routine surgery he was having, and wakes up to a dystopian world 200 years in the future.  He is awakened to find cream pies, cigars and cigarettes are considered to be healthful.  In one scene, Woody is panicking because he’s been told the reason why he was thawed (you have to see the movie!) and one of the doctors who was responsible for bringing him out of the freeze, lights a cigarette and hands it to him, telling him to take the smoke deep into his lungs.  Hahaha!

My point?  Eat what YOU want, exercise in a way that makes YOU feel good and get all the sleep YOU need.  Just be certain to maintain a weight and state of health that makes YOU feel good.  You’ll know you’ve hit the spot if you aren’t prescribed a crapload of maintenance drugs to stay alive because you’re overweight and don’t exercise.  Oh, wait – that sounds like me.

Excuse me, I think I’ll go make myself a bologna sandwich on white bread…

And That’s that

Such a great picture!  They actually had a good friendship outside of the films and she offered to house him when he was dying of AIDS.

Such a great picture! They actually had a good friendship outside of the films and she offered to house him when he was dying of AIDS.

Has this ever happened to anyone else my age?  You have a favorite movie from, oh, let’s say, 1959, a little ahead of your time, but it’s still fun.  You’ve seen it lots of times and you understand that the character, Brad Allen, is a real dirt bag, but you also understand that the power of love will redeem him eventually…and for good.  In the meantime, it’s plenty of yucks, misunderstandings, and very archaic notions of propriety as Doris Day, who plays the lovely, modern (remember, it’s 1959, about two years before the birth control pill was approved for general use), yet very correct, Jan Marrow.  Their onscreen chemistry is brilliant, just like Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton in “Something’s Gotta Give”.  But that’s another entry.

One doesn’t bat an eye, when, near the end of the film, Brad Allen is carrying Jan Marrow through the streets of 1959 New York City in her pajamas and an electric blanket that she had wrapped around herself for decorum’s sake.  Brad carries her past a policeman, and she yells “Help!  I’m being abducted!”  The policeman nods to Brad Allen and asks him how is his day.  Brad answers the cop by his first name and you nod “Ahhh.  He knows him.”  And it’s funny.  It was one of my favorite movies.

Move forward in time by about 55 years, a sexual revolution and an epidemic of political correctness and all that entails later, and for some reason, I don’t know why since I’m such a Doris Day fan, I watch it for the first time with my daughter.  I saw the film through her eyes, with her current understanding of relationships and political correctness and everything changed.  The character Brad Allen was a stalker, a psychopathic liar, and needed to have psychiatric help and was not a likeable character.  The policemen would have stopped the pair in the street or he would have been fired, disgraced and any number of punishments and Tony Randall’s character, Jonathan Forbes, was the only slightly normal male depicted.  The part of Alma, played so deftly by Thelma Ritter, would have received some kind of AA treatment or would have been fired.  Who wants a drunken housemaid who, most likely, has access to your liquor and probably knows where you stash your folding money?

There was a lot more she pointed out while we watched, and the joy of sharing this gem from the past deflated with each pointed observation, that, really, wrecked it for me.  I know she meant well and we were bonding, but I wish I hadn’t shown this to her.  I still like it, but it’s kind of like going back to your old elementary school after quite a few years, you see that it’s changed a little, but you realize how small those swings are, and notice that the water fountains are so low that you’d have to bend your knees and back at such a steep angle just to get a sip.  Everything’s there, it’s still the same old haunt, but you’ve changed.

*sigh*