Wednesday Miscellany: Valentine history

The other day, Mitch and I were trying to explain why Valentine’s Day is not a Jewish holiday. We knew it had something to do with a saint. I thought there was a massacre, though that came later.

Turns out, the Catholic church recognizes three or so Saint Valentines. One such Valentine, a priest, defied an anti-marriage law imposed by the Roman emperor Claudius II, and married lovers anyway. He was executed. Another was killed for helping Christians escape from Roman prisons. One Valentine allegedly fell in love with his jailor’s daughter, and before his death, wrote her a letter, signing it, “from your Valentine.”

The February 14 part came in when the Church decided to coop the Roman Lupercalia Festival, a baudy and raucous rite of spring, and something Church fathers no doubt wanted supressed. Some think the modern Valentine thing took hold during the era of chivalry and courtly love, finally reaching popular expression in 17th-century England.

But the whole thing started with blood and death. Like a lot of holidays.

Perhaps the moral of this story is: Spread love, not mayhem.

So, kiss your pookey.

Some accounts to read:

History Channel

How Stuff Works


Christianity Today

Just another maudlin Monday

I had a couple of free hours yesterday and decided to finish an essay I started months ago. Remarkably, it has nothing to do with knitting, and therein may lie the problem, since all I can think about are sweaters, this being a current obsession:


From the Rowan Classic Coast Collection

But I was in the mood to write, or at least thought I was, though revisiting the essay distressed me somewhat. I noodled with the diction, unsure I was striking the right tone. I revised clunky phrases; an English teacher I had long ago noted awkward sentences by writing “awk” beside them in red. There was a lot of “awk.” Ultimately, I had to admit that I didn’t know where I was going. Really, dear, what is your point?

So I lay down. Please tell me you do this: Shut your eyes so as to conjure different brain waves or at the very least, catch a few Zs? It works. And in this case, along with stealing a nice nappy, I realized where the piece needed to go. Problem is, my “point” just ain’t that deep.

Kinda put the whole day into a tailspin.

Squalid little turdballs of yarn

Margene was disparaging her handspun on Friday, so, in an effort to make her feel more accomplished, I thought I’d display an egregious effort at rolling some llama. So sad. That beautiful batting deserves better.


Sable-colored llama from the Rocky Mountain LLama Fiber Pool

Destructive force in the house

Antone  + Audreymitts =


I’ll be performing surgery tomorrow. On the mitt.


Wednesday Miscellany--My Desk

The December issue of Vanity Fair magazine featured a beautiful photo of Oprah’s desk. Fresh flowers, a Mont Blanc pen and a precious porcelain tea cup share space with Barack Obama’s new book, architectural renderings of the girls’ school she’s building and the other charming bibelots associated with what it means to be Oprah. I thought it might be fun to share our non-art directed desks. I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours…!

My desk

To see the text and full image, expand by clicking.

My desk


Guilty pleasure time

Let’s forget all this green stuff for a minute and talk about something fun. Lucky Magazine. I love it. Love, love, love it. Why? Because it’s easier to digest than cream of wheat. And it fulfills its promise as pure, unadulterated shopping voyeurism. It is the bible of girl consumer culture in all its superficial glory. It is so not green.

But I saw this really cool sweater.


Charlotte Ronson Wrap Cardigan

I’ll be recyling the magazine in the morning.

Sweet mitts

We’ve had the button conversation. Initially I had thought to do some kind of girly edging on Audrey’s mitt, such as a ruffle or picot bind-off. But the Violet’s Pink Ribbon sock yarn seemed to cry out for vintage green buttons. Anyway, I hope they’re not too funkadelic for a 14–year-old.


Pattern: Adapted from The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns: Basic Designs in Multiple Sizes & Gauges

Needles: US Size 1

Yarn: Lisa Souza’s Sock! in Violet’s Pink Ribbon

In media res

I suppose there's stuff I could show--one mitt for Audrey and a design I've thought about submitting, which requires the total brain damage of writing it up and fixing all the uh-ohs from the beta version, an expensive proposition. If I decide not to submit it, trust me, you'll see it in all its imperfect glory.

Anyone watch “Men in Trees“? We're quite smitten. But I've got to say--the characters are supposed to be plunged in the middle of an Alaskan winter and yet the sun's always shining and Anne Heche bounces around wearing these low-cut cashmere sweaters. I can tell you right now, my decollete isn't seeing the light of day until May, at the earliest. Brrrrrr.

P.S. Good news for those of us freezing our decolletes off: Punxsutawney Phil predicts an early spring.

Sporty knits

The new web preview for Knit.1 is up. See?


As always, I’m proud to be associated with this clever mag. My piece is called, “Just Do Knit,” and profiles a series of athlete-knitters who are just as likely to shred as stitch. An impressive lot. Me? I burn calories typing and cat wrangling.

Wednesday Miscellany: Living la vida verde

In keeping with this week’s theme, here’s a list of some organic yarn manufacturers and suppliers. I’m not sure what makes them organic exactly, but suspect it has something to do with antibiotic-hormone-free sheep dining on organic green pastures. (Is that what sheep eat? Pastures?) 

All I know is that if you were to put me on a grocery shelf, I’d be wearing the “conventional” label. Antibiotic and hormone free? Hah!

Tierra Wools—New Mexico born and bred.

Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton—I’m assuming it’s from South America?

EcoKnit—Organic cotton from Peru.

Vickie Howell— Click on the Vickie Howell collection for yarns like Craft—65 percent organic cotton/35 percent milk fiber.

Treliske Organic Woollens—From New Zealand.

Vermont Organic or Main Organic—Born in the USA at Green Mountain Spinnery.

O-Wool—Comes in a useful Aran weight in 13 colors.

Hope Spinnery—Yarn spun using wind power.