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QueerJoe's Knitting Blog by Joe Wilcox - 2d ago

Fortunately, it was a computer crash and not a physical crash.  Late last week, my MacBook Pro shit the bed whilst I was editing a photo for the Friday blog entry.

Computer Crash

My MacBook Pro was 8 years old.  I’ve been told by an expert that it’s already considered obsolete.  And by its actions on Friday, it also told me it was obsolete.

The computer froze up and would only re-boot to a  gray screen.  While I could get it to do a few different things, I couldn’t get it to boot in safe mode or in diagnostic mode.  I worked for hours trying to trick it back into working.  This included amazing help from a friend who does Apple repair for a living.

Turns out there has been a problem with the video card portion of the logic board on this model (early 2011, in case you care).  And short of re-writing a USB reboot routine in Terminal Monitor and then soldering out a micro-transistor from the logic board, I was never going to get my computer to reboot.

Jeff Geerling writes all about the same thing happening to his sister’s early 2011 MacBook Pro here.

Fortunately, I had a recent backup of my computer.

Also fortunately, I was able to quickly determine that the old machine was unrecoverable.

Finally, my local Apple Computer dealer had the exact replacement computer in stock and ready to pick up over this past weekend!

Here’s what I used to have:

This is what I bought:

And this is the side-by-side:

Finn couldn’t resist rubbing his adorable little face on a box.

Now I am the proud owner of an Apple iMac (27-inch Retina 5K display: 3.8GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 2TB) – Silver.  It was amazing how quickly I was able to get it up and running.

All my data has been restored and all the functionality I used to have has been re-set-up.  I couldn’t be more pleased.  The new computer is faster, takes up less space and does everything (and more) that my old computer did.  Including, photo editing and posting of this blog entry a mere three days after my old computer died.

Current Knitting

With all the technology activity since Friday, I didn’t get an enormous amount of knitting done.  But I was still able to finish the latest Cross Hatch Scarf.

This one is my favorite colorway so far.  I also started a new scarf in the third colorway of Cascade Casablanca.

The post CRASH! appeared first on QueerJoe.

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For many who know me, you know how much I value the men’s knitting community (or any community of fiber-crazy guys). I take great joy and satisfaction in having helped create and expand this community.

Men’s Knitting Retreat

Don’t get me wrong…I often find myself joyous in the the presences of any knitters/crocheters/weavers/tatters, etc. But finding a group of enthusiastic, like-minded men has been an amazing discovery.  And further helping to bring groups of guys together through the Men’s Knitting Retreats has been one of the greatest joys of my life.

In a couple of short months, 35 guys will again assemble at Easton Mountain in Greenwich, NY. The second North East Men’s Fall Retreat is scheduled from Thursday, September 26th through Sunday, September 29th.

There will be good food. Expert Tables, overseen by experts in various fiber-related subjects.  There will a trip to the Adirondack Fiber Arts Festival (which is right down the mountain from Easton Mountain).

But mostly, there will be true fraternity.  And the joy that it brings.

There are two Men’s Knitting Retreats each year at Easton Mountain now.  One in May and one in September.  The Fall event is a bit smaller (about 10 guys less).  The rooming is a bit less jammed.  And the atmosphere is a bit less structured.

But both events share the same amazing joy of being together.

If you know of any guys who have wanted to attend a Men’s Knitting Retreat, we still have a few spots left (double-room accommodations).  It’s $465 for lodging, food and all activities at the retreat.  They’ll be glad they did.

Current Knitting

Pathetic progress on my two active WIPs.  First, I’m still working on the tediously long strip of ribbing on the micro-mesh silk project on US00 needles.

I got through a full color repeat on the most recent Cross Hatch Scarf as well.

I have been doing a lot of biking and enjoying the Summer days which has kept me from my knitting a bit.

The post Blessed By The Men’s Knitting Community appeared first on QueerJoe.

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After repeating the “knitting mantra” enough, I have now been blessed with color…plenty of color!

Blessed With Color Appreciation

I’ve been fortunate to have come into contact with people who have shown me how rich color can be.  From masters of the art, like Kaffe Fassett, Brandon Mably and Alice Starmore to folks who aren’t known as well, but have an incredible sense of color.

Most readers know that I mostly appreciate deep, saturated colors.  Selma “the axe murderess” calls them broody colors.

But friends like Kathryn Merrick have shown me the delights of Spring-time brights of yellow, orange and acidy green as well.

I’m still working up an appreciation for pastels.

I’m still really immature at combining colors.  I wish I had an aesthetic that just allowed me to throw colors together in ways I found pleasing.  But those types of experiments rarely turn out looking pleasing when they’re finished.  So, I rely on yarn colorways put together by people I trust, like Dragonfly Fibers or Groovy Hues.  Or as in the case of my Cross Hatch scarves, Cascade.

Overall, I’m grateful to have learned to appreciate most color palettes.  Just looking at my WIPs in the feature photo makes me happy.

Current Knitting

I finished the second Cross Hatch Scarf in Springlike colors and started a new one in more crayon-rainbow colors.

I’ve also done some additional work on the micro-Cross Hatch project.

Any guesses what it’s trying to be yet?

The post Blessed With Color appeared first on QueerJoe.

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Most knitters if they heard the following knitting mantra:

“purl off, knit on, knit off, purl on”

They’d immediately recognize that someone was doing the Kitchener stitch.

Do You Use A Knitting Mantra?

The first time I use a repeating stitch pattern, I almost always speak the instructions aloud as I do them.  This also goes for color work.

It takes a while for my hands to memorize a specific stitch pattern.  My Cross Hatch Scarf pattern is a perfect example.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a pretty simple stitch pattern.  The repeat is YO, SL1K, K2, PSSO 2 K sts.  Unfortunately, it’s close enough to other stitch patterns, that it took a while for my hands to not replace the 2 K sts with a K2Tog.

So I found myself speaking the repeat to myself as I did it.

I typically shorten the terms so speaking them doesn’t slow me down.  Yarn Over, gets shortened to Over. Slip One gets shortened to Slip.

It’s not often that I find knitting to be meditative or calming.  But I do find the incessant repeating of a stitch pattern to have that effect on me. In fact, I could watch this embedded video as an ASMR calming video.

Anyone else do something similar?  Any variations on the technique?

Current Knitting

Three things:

  1. I’m bummed to realize I don’t have enough of one of the colors in the Ensign Brook DK yarn to finish the cardigan.  I could have sworn I had a ton of the tan color yarn.  I’ll consider un-knitting the sleeve ribbing to see if that will give me enough.  But for now, I’m annoyed with that project.
  2. I’ve been doing a little work on the second Cross Hatch Scarf (see below).
  3. Enjoying the stitch pattern for the Cross Hatch Scarf as much as I am, I started a new project on US00 needles.  If it works out, I’ll tell you more about it.

I may end up just contacting Karin at Ensign Brook to see if she has something similar in color. In fact, I may just wait until September when I see her at the North East Men’s Fall Knitting Retreat at Easton Mountain.

The post Knitting Mantra appeared first on QueerJoe.

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Does it ever happen where your life or blog manifests reality? Have you ever expressed something to the Universe and had it come back to you in real life? The immediacy of the Universe’s response is sometimes shocking.

Self-Centered or Universal Mirroring?

Here’s the scenario.  I post a blog entry.

Within hours of posting this, I am rewarded with multiple examples of supportive response from the Universe.

Of course, I get comments and responses on Social Media from blog readers.

But I also start to see signs of what I have written manifest in my World.  Almost immediately, I see this in my local grocery store.

I doubt these chip-clips are new in my grocery.  But it was the first time I’d noticed them. Not solid evidence of Universal alignment, but an initial indicator perhaps?

Then, it’s pointed out that my bicycling t-shirt for the day looks like a MEMOJI!

The characters hat and beard seem to look a lot like my picking helmet, no?

Perhaps only two examples of echoing ideas coming back to me isn’t extraordinary.  But I did find it noteworthy.

BTW, bonus reader points for anyone that can identify the significance of this t-shirt without googling it.  I had no idea what it was when I bought it.  So, I’ll be interested to know just how recognizable my bike-helmeted doppelgänger is.

Current Knitting

Sleeve knitting on the Ensign Brook DK Cardigan slowed down over the holiday here in the States yesterday.

I put in an extra two rows of one of the colors and had to go back to fix it.  Fortunately, I won’t need to be wearing this garment anytime soon.

The post Blog Manifests Reality appeared first on QueerJoe.

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Does the world really need a MEMOJI?  For those who don’t know, the term is a combination of “me” and “emoji” to indicate a personal emoji. Here’s a brief video tutorial on what a memoji is.

How to Use Memoji - YouTube

Memoji – The Unnecessary

There used to be very few things less self-centered than a personal blog (like this one).  Now Apple has fixed that with the ability to create a cartoon face of yourself that will wink, talk, stick out its (your) tongue, etc.

With my recent switchover to a new mobile phone carrier, I considered upgrading my iPhone from an iPhone 6 to something more advanced.

First of all, I thought I had to upgrade my iPhone to get onto the new carrier, so I was weighing my options and the associated costs.

As appealing to my ego as memoji capability is, I couldn’t justify upgrading to an iPhone X for such frivolous and egotistical reasons.

I was grateful when Thaddeus figured out that I could move to the new carrier using my iPhone 6.  My phone has all the functionality I need.  I’ll stick with it and boring old texts done with…well, text.

At one point, I’m sure I will be forced to upgrade my phone, but for now, I’m good.

Any of you have any fantastic youmoji that might convince me otherwise?

Current Knitting

I did end up starting the sleeves on the Ensign Brook DK Cardigan.

I’ve decided to both sleeves semi-concurrently.  It will make it a lot easier to remember the shaping on the second sleeve.

I was also tidying up my crafting area and found a crumpled mass of red lace-weight cotton.  I quickly steam-blocked it and found this!

Sad when I can’t even remember doing this, but awesome that I have a new finished piece to display!

The post MEMOJI?!? Really Necessary? appeared first on QueerJoe.

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A rainbow of colors can’t always cover all the hate and ugliness.  But you can color me beautiful with a rainbow of colors anytime.  Especially on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising.

Rainbow of Beautiful Colors

There is a very famous bride that goes over the Delaware River from Morrisville, PA to Trenton, NJ.  It’s very close to where Washington made his famous crossing of the Delaware on Christmas Eve years ago. Not the prettiest of bridges, but with rainbow/beautiful color, it’s gorgeous!

With its motto of “Trenton Makes – The World Takes” has earned it the local name of “The Trenton Makes Bridge.”  It’s correct name (which I didn’t know until I looked it up for this blog post) is the Lower Trenton Bridge.  They lighted the bridge with rainbow colored lights for this year’s pride.  I’m very proud of the Capital of New Jersey and the Morrisville municipality.

I had another colorful photo show up on Facebook:

With the little tempest from bigots and haters, I searched on “boycott ravelry” on Facebook.  I honestly wanted to see if my designs on Ravelry made the list (they didn’t…I much too unimportant). But shortly after the Canning, Homesteading, Survival and Prepping group got suggested!

I’m shocked there wasn’t a tin-foil hat group that showed up.  Just shows how non-mainstream these haters are.

I was also on my back deck enjoying this carpet of flowers.

Thaddeus planted these in planters in our front yard and they were beautiful.  But because of sun and the deer population, they didn’t do very well.

You can see who lush they get on our back deck.  Tons of sunshine.  Protected from wildlife.

Finally, I got this package in the mail on Saturday.

The contents were two colorways of Dragonfly Fibers’ Djinni yarn.

The top one is Firecracker.  A new colorway that is as gorgeous in person as it is on ThePerfectPurl.com web site.  The second one, also gorgeous, is African Daisy.

I can’t wait to start knitting with this luscious yarn in these luscious colorways!

Current Knitting

As I’d hoped (in last blog entry), I was able to finish the body of the Ensign Farm DK cardigan.

The sleeves haven’t been started yet, but I’m hopeful they will move along quickly once begun.

Now that it’s July, I can still be filled with pride and joy for who I am.

The post Color Me Beautiful – Rainbow! appeared first on QueerJoe.

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Last week I mentioned I was switching from Verizon Wireless to Xfinity Mobile.  New level achieved.  All is quite good!

New Mobile Service – Xfinity Mobile

Changing mobile/cellular/wireless providers seems daunting.  I’ve been with Verizon for years now. They weren’t an awful provider.  So, it took a lot to convince me to change.

Like many tasks that seem daunting, this one wasn’t at all daunting when I finally just did it.

On Thursday, I filled out an on-line form which took about 4 minutes.  Xfinity processed my order and got me a new SIM card on Monday.

I filled out another web form which took me 4 minutes.  The most difficult part of that was figuring out my PIN for my Verizon Wireless account.

I switched out the the SIM card in my iPhone. One re-boot of the phone and I had activated my new carrier.  I did have to re-set-up my voicemail which took 30 seconds.

Amazingly, other than the carrier name in the upper left-hand portion of my phone screen, nothing has changed.  Great service.  All my phone data and e-mail functionality was completely unchanged.

Are you a candidate for really cheap wireless service from Comcast?
  • Do you use less than 1 or 2 gig of data each month?
  • Are you currently an Xfinity customer for cable television or internet?
  • Is your current smart-phone not locked and relatively up-to-date?
  • Does one cellular line meet your needs?
  • Do you not care about international coverage?

Having met all those criteria.  Actually, I use less than 1 gig of data on average each month.  My cell phone bill was reduced from about $64 to about $14 a month.  Plus, I will be getting a pre-paid VISA card for $100 for my efforts!

Xfinity uses Verizon cell towers, so my network didn’t change at all.  I also have access to Xfinity HotSpots in a LOT more places than I used to.

Finally, Thaddeus and I both agreed on one thing. All this really does is make our monthly Comcast costs a little less exorbitant.  I personally think paying $190 a month for cable television and internet is ridiculous.  So reducing the total cost by $50 a month makes it a bit less ridiculous.

Current Knitting

I have been making limited progress with the Ensign Brook DK Cardigan.

I have about 20 more rows before the front-neck-opening shaping is complete.  I’m hopeful I’ll be working on the sleeves by this weekend.

I also ordered some of the discontinued Cascade Casablanca to make more of the Cross-Hatch Scarves (or maybe even a stole-size version of it???).

While I love the colors of this yarn on the hank, I honestly think they look even better when knit up.  Can’t wait to start banging out more Cross Hatch Scarves.

The post New Mobile Service appeared first on QueerJoe.

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Thanks to a more knowledgeable and keen-eyed reader, I have an update. I wan’t to correct two problems with today’s earlier blog entry (see below).

Registrar vs. ISP

I called companies like Network Solutions, SiteGround and GoDaddy – Internet Service Providers (ISPs). I should have called them Domain Name Registrars!  They are also web hosting companies.

So, for instance, I could have registered the domain name “queerjoe.com” on SiteGround or Network Solutions and I could also have either of them host my blog posts and photos as well.

To be clear, I currently register all my domains on GoDaddy and host my blog posts and photos on SiteGround.

To be even clearer, here’s a web site that describes the two: https://kaneworks.com/whats-a-domain-name-registrar-and-whats-an-isp/

Hopefully the updated graphic is a bit more accurate now:

Second Issue

Keen Reader (Matt) pointed out something else.  I didn’t know it. So, I am glad to find out!

Bob Parsons, the founder and former CEO of GoDaddy is a complete dickhead. From what it seems: https://gawker.com/5787676/meet-godaddys-ridiculous-elephant-killing-ceo

He sold 70% of his company to a venture capitalist firm in 2011. As a result, the the company has a gotten significantly better in the past 8 years without his assholiness leading it. So, you may want consider an alternative (like SiteGround or Namecheap which is what the keen-eyed reader uses).

Just one note:  There are a lot of REGISTRARS and WEB HOSTS and my friend Eric has worked with all of them.  He highly recommends SiteGround.  Even if you’ve never heard of them, I agree with Eric, that they are very good and reasonably priced if you’re looking to organize your service providers.

The post Learning From The Young – Part 2-UPDATE appeared first on QueerJoe.

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I have already confessed my ignorance of simple and somewhat obvious uses of technology. Many I’ve had to learn from younger people. Today I share one huge example of technological ignorance.

Eliminating Technology Ignorance

I have years of experience with building and maintaining web sites. Despite that, I was completely unaware of some basic fundamentals of the InterWebs.

Mainly, I didn’t understand the relationship between Internet Service Providers (like GoDaddy, Network Solutions and SiteGround), domain names, and hosting services.  I was also ignorant about e-mail providers, API’s, web forms, etc.. And other concepts. But lets not let the list get too lengthy.

I’m not sure if many of you know this, but I maintain five web sites…some for myself and others as a volunteer to help out friends.

Some of the web sites (like this blog) are very simple. The blog has very few requirements for complex technology.  The other web sites require a bit more functionality. They use web forms, integration with PayPal, Square and/or Stripe and event scheduling functions.

I explained back in October of last year how I started this blog with Blogger and recently converted it over to WordPress (self-hosted).  The other web sites, I created using Weebly, which is a  web site builder which is both simple to use and has quite a bit of functionality.

Services like Weebly and Blogger seem to blur the lines of hosting and domain name services.

Consolidated and Efficient!

Thanks to web expert friend Eric, I have been able to consolidate all of my web sites in a way that’s cost-effective and are fully expandable in terms of functionality.

Here’s what I do now:

  • I purchase all of my domain names from GoDaddy…it seems to be one of the least expensive and reputable companies to get a domain name.
  • I purchased a hosting package from SiteGround that allows me to host all five web sites in one place.  This includes all the photos from each site, any documents and all the pages and posts.
  • I point my GoDaddy domains to my hosted websites on SiteGround
  • I use the same hosting package from SiteGround to host all of my e-mail accounts for the various web sites.
  • Instead of being nickled and dimed to death on Weebly for business accounts and extra fees for extra functionality, I pay for one hosting package and any necessary plug-ins for WordPress.
  • I don’t pay for multiple weebly accounts and separate hosting packages on GoDaddy or Network Solutions anymore. I just have the one hosting package.

Just one note:  There are a lot of ISPs and my friend Eric has worked with all of them.  He highly recommends SiteGround.  Even if you’ve never heard of them, I agree with Eric, that they are very good and reasonably priced if you’re looking to organize your service providers.

Current Knitting

Finished the ribbing on the Ensign Brook DK Cardigan and started the arm hole shaping and the front neck shaping.

I was originally going to start knitting the two front sections and the back separately and switch to knitting them flat.  But then I realized the rows in the stitch pattern would be out-of-synch and I’d have to figure out how to do those twisted stitches from the purl side.  It was easier to just add extra steek stitches at the arm hole and continue to work in-the-round.

The post Learning From The Young – Part 2 appeared first on QueerJoe.

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