To Kindle, or not to Kindle. That is the question….

Posted September 30, 2014 by dehbi
Categories: Technology

Tags: , ,

A dear friend posted an article to her Facebook page. It was a critique of e-readers that seemed to be saying that the quality of reading that you get is less than what you’d experience with reading an actual physical book.

The article can be found here.

The following is my rebuttal which I just HAD to write because I am a huge fan of the written word as read in any form available. I love having choices and don’t feel that e-readers are any worse, or any better, than physical books, and both have their place.

She begins with the statement that
Reading in print helps with comprehension.

What I read on a Kindle IS the printed word, or looks just like it. The e-ink used on most e-readers is designed to look like the text on a printed page and is as easy on the eyes..or easier if you need vision help since you can enlarge the font.

She continues:

Reading long sentences without links is a skill you need — but can lose if you don’t practice.

I am reading a very comprehensive, detailed, and lengthy book about the Tudor dynasty in the political, cultural, societal, and religious context of its time. It has plenty of long sentences that are as long as needed to cover the subject and to get the author’s point across. And I’m reading it on my Kindle. There is nothing superficial about my reading. There are no links on the page in my e-reader. Links are not typically found in the text of an e-book. They are more likely in an article, but not necessarily. I wonder what the author of this article reads.

Then there is this, which is based on the assumption that it is not possible to read on an e-reader in a slow, focused and undistracted way.  Why would doing those things be inherently undoable on an ereader?):

Reading in a slow, focused, undistracted way is good for your brain.

I always read that way if something is interesting to me, and if it is, I am very focused, regardless of whether it is an e-book or a physical book. And that statement may apply to reading on a phone, but not on an e-reader, which does only one thing: present text for reading. And turning a page with a button click is for me so quick that I don’t lose focus. And should I slow down my reading to some prescribed pace? How slow is slow enough? What an odd statement.

I think that if someone is resistant to the concept of e-readers, they should stay away from them, by all means. And there is really no need for these acrobatic attempts (such as this article…I’ve seen others) at trying to prove that the use of technology is inferior to the non-use of it.

Personally, I like reading on my devices, and I also still like reading physical books. I read on my Kindle, on a Nook that I was given (having both means that I don’t have to switch formats because not all books come in all formats), and on a tablet, also a gift, because, being a bit larger, it handles one format type better than the other two devices. I like being able to travel with hundreds of books. I like being able to turn the page quickly when I knit and read simultaneously, which I love to do, and do without lessening the joy of reading or any benefits I derive from reading.

I have thousands of e-books, some of them only available as e-books, all stored on a little thing I can hold in my hand. I transfer them over to whichever device I want to use. No way would I have room for all of those books in physical form.

It is marvelous to have a dictionary in the device and with a few clicks I can look up unfamiliar words as I’m reading. So it helps with vocabulary building and is much less of a distraction than having to put down my book, interrupt whatever I’m reading, finding the dictionary, looking up the word, and probably getting distracted by all of the other words, neighbors to the word I’m looking up…now THAT’s a distraction!

I think that this article will be a relief and a comfort to those who for whatever reason don’t like, or don’t want to like the concept of reading on devices. But I don’t feel that most of the points she tries to make are particularly valid, at least not in my own experience. My daughter sure loves her devices, and she has to get really up close and personal with literature because she is a high school literature teacher. I also don’t think that tech vs non-tech is a zero sum game. . It is possible to love both physical books and e-books.

Some books are better as physical books: books with lots of pictures and illustrations, graphs, photographs, etc., mainly because of the size. So I will keep my art, fashion, design, and knitting books. All of my text only books I’m getting rid of because of the space.

Critiques of reading on devices I think are as much about trying to make people who resist the technology feel better about not getting on the bandwagon as they are about anything. The solution is simple, for those who prefer to limit themselves to only one of the many choices available, they should do so. Personally, I like having more choices rather than fewer.

Battle For The Net

Posted September 9, 2014 by dehbi
Categories: Political Commentary


If you woke up tomorrow, and your internet looked like this, what would you do? Imagine all your favorite websites taking forever to load, while you get annoying notifications from your ISP suggesting you switch to one of their approved “Fast Lane” sites.Think about what we would lose: all the weird, alternative, interesting, and enlightening stuff that makes the Internet so much cooler than mainstream Cable TV. What if the only news sites you could reliably connect to were the ones that had deals with companies like Comcast and Verizon?On September 10th, just a few days before the FCC’s comment deadline, public interest organizations are issuing an open, international call for websites and internet users to unite for an “Internet Slowdown” to show the world what the web would be like if Team Cable gets their way and trashes net neutrality. Net neutrality is hard to explain, so our hope is that this action will help SHOW the world what’s really at stake if we lose the open Internet.If you’ve got a website, blog or tumblr, get the code to join the #InternetSlowdown here: else, here’s a quick list of things you can do to help spread the word about the slowdown: Get creative! Don’t let us tell you what to do. See you on the net September 10th!

via Battle For The Net.

Post-visit to Gogo Heaven

Posted August 23, 2008 by dehbi
Categories: knitting

Tags: , , ,


  Fairy dress (front)


Fairy dress (front)

I spent the end of July and the early part of August with my daughter and my grandchildren. We had so much fun. Although it was pretty wild with the two children (two kids somehow works out to more than two times one!), I got a lot of knitting done and made a bunch more bibs for T.J., the baby, and an adorable dress for Her Majesty, shown here wearing her new dress.  The blues look fabulous with her lovely and sparkly blue grey eyes.

I made a bunch more bibs for the baby, little T.J., who is one messy baby boy. 

Little kids have unlimited energy and I think it is some horrific cosmic joke that adults, even on a good day, are no match for them.  Isabella is 4 and a half and in the “why” stage.  Young children have a “take no prisoners” policy, especially when you have to deal with them in gangs (i.e. any number higher than “1)” The math reality of two children works out to something like this:  2 times 1 equals way more than 2!

You would think that this “why stage” business would not bother a reference librarian, or any other kind of librarian, but the staccato interrogation really does cause one’s synapses to start shutting down.  Isabella’s mother at one point, told Her Jajesty that she could ask 5 questions an hour, max.  So the next question was, “Is an hour a long time?”  One day it got so bad that her mother came downstairs and said, with maybe a little too much glee:  “Isabella is going to Kinder Care today!”  She loves it there, and we needed the break.  You want them to be curious, but you can’t even keep up the barrage of questions about everything!  
The baby, was in some sort of phase, maybe a growth spurt, where he ate as if they only feed him once a year.  When you feed him you have to shovel the food in really fast or he gets mad…so worked up that he then can’t eat.  Of course eating that fast makes him throw up a lot of what he eats, but too bad…slow it down at your peril. But don’t overfeed him, either.  If you do, he screams!  It was hilarious!  Trying to walk the Gogo tightrope (I’m Gogo to them).

Their mom got home after leaving me with them to go to an appointment.  When she got back that afternoon, the kids looked pretty good.  I, on the other hand, was hanging by my fingernails.  She noted, however, that I had not combed my hair, nor eaten, nor bathed, nor dressed myself, and probably had not even brushed my teeth.  She said, “Welcome to my world.”  No kidding!

Isabella is a great big sister.  T.J. was fussing for some unknown reason one day when I was taking care of them.  His sister looked at me and said one word:  “Binky.”  I plugged it in and it worked!
I survived…more or less…and the cool thing is that I get to have photo ops like this:

A scene from Gogo Heaven

A scene from Gogo Heaven

At work someone left this week to go on maternity leave.  I needed a quickie gift to make for her baby, a little girl (or a big girl, judging by the look of her mother’s “bump.”  So I found this pattern  for some adorable baby booties, made of 6 garter stitch squares and assembled kind of like a puzzle (though an easy puzzle).  Sorry that the pic is a bit blurry.  I was rushed and could not check my photography until the booties had already been gifted. 
Page 81 Baby Booties (my version)
Page 81 Baby Booties (my version)

Knitted in Bernat Satin Sport yarn. 

The original design and pattern (and lots more) will be in a forthcoming book named “Itty Bitty Nursery“, by Susan B. Anderson.  This, her second book, is a follow-up to “Itty Bitty Hats” .  I borrowed the latter book from the library and now want to make everything in it. 
This weekend I am working on: another dress (different and original design) for Isabella, the luxury shawl, and organizing things to sell (on eBay and Ravelry, think:  excess yarn and clothes, and maybe some books).  Time to let go of some of this stuff to make room for more stuff! 
Coming up in my next post (whenever I get that one together!):  my Turkish Stitch Angora and Lambswool Luxury Shawl, Norah Gaughan’s “Snapping Turtle Skirt,” The Queen’s Lavender Dress (original design), my fabulous Debbie Bliss “Maya” swap yarn, and more!

Lu Top Fever!

Posted July 7, 2008 by dehbi
Categories: knitting, Patterns, Uncategorized

Tags: , , ,


Among lots of other things I have been doing,  I have been  helping friends out with their projects as well as trying to organize myself and my knitting, including dealing with the huge amount of “papeleo,” as Spanish speakers would say, that I have had in piles all over, waiting for me to go into filing mode.  

I have not made that much progress on organizing the yarn, even with one of the rooms in the house being designated “The Yarn Room.”  Well, that will come later.

Things got wilder than usual in the living room (o.k., and maybe beyond the living room) last weekend. 

This is what has kept me from doing other projects…trying to get all of these knitting patterns into binders. 

I am now officially owning my propensity for procrastination and documenting it here.  The first pic below shows part of the sorting pile, on its way to being filed into binders.   I have had all of these in boxes, unsorted and essentially unuseable, at least if I wanted to find anything specific. 

I am naming the evidence pics Out of the Chaos I or  how the entire l.r. floor looked as I was sorting everything…

                                                                  Out of the Chaos !


                               Out of the Chaos II or Ready, Set, File!

                                                                  Out of the Chaos II

I finally wound up with this:                                                                          Out of the Chaos III

Part of my packrat cybertherapy…1st,  own the madness chaos, then do something about it, and then document the progress…small steps, but progressive steps nonetheless.

As librarians say, “the only information you can use is the information you can find“…so true.  So there it is, still untidy looking, but at least accessible.  As it turns out, I am a librarian.  Eek!

The small notebooks in the foreground are “idea” or “creativity” notebooks of the 30 or so that I have kept for years, the concept being that ideas are ephemeral and like a wisp, will evaporate unless one gets them recorded somehow. 

If I imagine something, or see something that inspires me, or come across anything at all that interests me, I try to get it into the current notebook no matter what.  About this I am very disciplined.  I love going through the notebooks later.   My dilemma is finding time to implement more of what springs forth from my ever-fertile imagination.

For the last couple of months, in addition to trying to find time for my knitting,  I have been helping friends and family to do all manner of projects: 

  • tutoring a friends’ son in reading
  • setting up another friend’s home wireless network
  • helping my aunt by proofreading her online Ph.D. program papers…atta girl, Aunt Ruthie!
  • teaching one friend to knit (she’s doing great after only 4 or 5 days)…atta girl, Gabby!
  • participating in several “meet and greets” at work as we look for a new University Librarian 

That last activity resulted in the eating, o.k., my eating of who-knows-how-many awesome chocolate chip cookies made by our university cafeteria.  Well, I have been pretty good about what I’ve been eating for the last few months or so, and life is not really worth living if you’re just going to obey the self-inflicted , uh, self-imposed rules all of the time.  

I’ll wait until later to tell you about my friend whose family owns the cheesecake factory………


Today, exactly one month after my last post, I am determined to get my latest projects posted. 

Blogging or keeping up with blogging is certainly a lot more, uh, relentless than I had ever imagined prior to starting to do this myself….but it is certainly a lot of fun.  My style of blogging is to post less often, but to post more (and hopefully still interesting) content.  

Blogging is especially good for someone like me, a World Class Procrastinator, at least a lot of the time.  It forces me to focus. What a concept! Funny that I have no problems getting knitting projects finished, but posting about them here, or in Ravelry, is a whole other thing.

I have completed a total of three Lu tops. The original, designed by Adrienne Thomas,  I bought as a kit and knitted up and love.  I posted about it in my last post on June 6. 

Intrigued by the Turkish stitch pattern used by the original designer, I decided to try this with some different yarns.  The first is an inexpensive yarn from Moda Dea called “Tweedle Dum” (or maybe it is “Tweedle Dee”).  It has some interesting subtle color changes and I wanted to see what would happen with this knitted-in-one-piece design.  Tweedle Dee (yeah, that’s it!)  is technically a bulky wt. yarn so it knitted up to a larger garment, but I had also added 6 stitches at the cast on to make it longer.  I like the brevity of the original design, but I think a longer length is more practical (unless you are the size of the Perl Grey model, who seems to be a size 2!).  The original gauge or tension was 3 sts. and 5.75 rows per inch, unstretched. 

Note:  the Turkish stitch makes a very stretchy fabric.  Also, there are many different Turkish stitches available via Google.  This one is a one row repeat employing slip stitches, PSSOs (pass slipped stitch over) and yarn overs.

Here are my pics of those two new Lu tops:                                             Lu top of Tweedle Dee yarn  

                                     Lu Top III, original design by Adrienne Thomas

It looks as if I need to block the corners a little bit so that they won’t curl so!).  Other than that, these are great for putting on and taking off as I try to adjust to my own temperature fluctuations from hot flashes air conditioning at work and blazing heat outside.  For the second one, I used Queensland Collection “Kathmandu Ultra,” which is a merino, silk, cashmere blend that I picked up at Tuesday Morning (the overstock chain found in some parts of the U.S.).  More images here at the High Tide Purlers Knitting Guild website. See the June 19th posting there.

The blue top took about 2 (or perhaps slightly more than 2) balls of the Moda Dea yarn, and the other took 6 balls with a little left over of the Kathmandu.

I increased some stitches to make these longer than the original, although I like the short length of the original.  I increased the cast on from 36 sts. to 42 sts. 

You can go to the  Perl Grey page for the Lu Top kit and click where it says “worn in many ways,” or here: “worn in many ways” and you’ll see that this top can be worn as a cozy scarf, and also right side up,  upside down, and even backwards, all achieving a very stylish look.  You can even wear it without a pin for a shawl that won’t fall off of your shoulders!  


I just found out that soon I’ll be visiting my daughter and her family, including my two beautiful grandchildren.  There is a pic of my grandaughter, known here as Queen Isabella, here

“The Queen” is thrilled to be a “Big Stister” to her baby brother, he is thrilled to be her main groupie (he laughs at everything she says or does) and I am thrilled to be their Gogo!  Here is the baby.  We’ll call him “T.J.” here in Blogland.

                                                          Angel Boy

This weekend I made him the adorable little Sachiko kimono sweater below from the free pattern you’ll find hereSachiko Baby Kimono for Baby T.J.

I modified it ever-so-slightly giving it side seams and a tie on one side only.  It was so fast and easy that I think I’ll be making more….

As usual, I still can’t quite get the colors right with my limited skills and even more limited software.  Well, sometimes I can, sometimes I can’t.  The true color of this little cutie is a deep teal. 

Finally, I went to see the current Indiana Jones movie and managed to knit the back of another cute sweater.  Got to get lots of stuff together for my trip.  Gogos just don’t show up empty-handed!


This has nothing to do with knitting, but rather FOOD…always an interesting topic if you like to eat, as do I.  I have discovered the joys of eating quinoa, a grain eaten by the indigenous people of Central and South America for millenia.  I cooked some up with some mung beans, partly because of the latter being mentioned so much on that great show (we get it on BBC America here in San Diego):  “You Are What You Eat,”  Gillian McKeith often mentions mung beans so I decided to give them a try.  She’s right!  They are delicious. 

I am still mulling over what I want to do with that recycled green yarn…which I still love….and skirts and shawls are calling to me.  I want a luxurious soft black shawl….. I have been thinking that this yarn might be perfect for

That’s all for now folks!  I should know better than to promise anything in writing(!), but I’ll try to post again before another month has passed.

News Flash! A Doomsday Vault for Our Agricultural Future

Posted June 6, 2008 by dehbi
Categories: knitting, Patterns, Political Commentary

Tags: , , , , , ,

I just woke up after crashing on the sofa for a few hours when I got home….long day!

I was checking messages and came across the most fascinating story about the Svalsbard Global Seed Vault, also known as the Doomsday Vault.  It is an amazing story and worth checking out.  The t.v. news show “60 Minutes” featured a story about it, too.  Scroll down the page a little here to see that program.  There is lots more about the story at that site, too. 

My only worry is that it is not controlled by the same corporations that engineered, with the complicity of the corrupt U.S. government, Directive 81 in Iraq whereby the farmers there are prohibited by law from re-using seed stock from a previous year’s crop, which they have been doing for millenia in the world’s breadbasket. Instead they must buy expensive genetically engineered stock for subsequent plantings.  And some of us wonder why so many people around the world hate Americans so much.  Good grief.

Knitting content….

I decided to make another Lu top  (see my earlier post about my first one) using a real bulky weight yarn:  Tweedle Dee  a soft acrylic wool blend yarn with lovely and subtle color transitions.  This yarn is not very expensive (available at Michael’s, even) but has a lovely color-transition effect.  It also has good yardage in each ball: 155 yds.  This variation turned out well and although it is larger size-wise than the original Lu, which was knitted of the marvelous Fleece Artist hand dyed yarn, it looks great on.

As it turns out, he original yarn included in the kit is not really bulky (as referenced elsewhere) but rather Aran or heavy worsted weight yarn.  Yarndex got it right, but I would say that bulky is inaccurate. 

I have bound off the second top and will post pics this weekend.  At the moment I am the only model I have and my hair and I are too wild-looking even for a hat to conceal convincingly.  The downside of all of this working in the middle of the night! 

The top came out great.  A better fit really, at least for my size.  I wear a medium size, but the model at the Perl Grey site must be mighty petite because the original definitely does not fit me the way that it fits her! No matter, I like both versions on me and expect to get a lot of wear out of them both.  The original will be nice over my little black dress in the summer, and this new and heavier one will work great when it is cooler.

I love the Turkish stitch’s flexibility and versatility, not to mention ease:  it can look very different depending on the type of yarn used.  One version of it is here.  It is a one-row stitch pattern, one of the easiest lace stitches around, I am sure.  It is used on one side of the top to make the curved edge that hugs the shoulders.  I think it would be interesting to make a coat this way.

More to come when I come up for air again….got to climb into bed for some R.E.M. sleep.  

Buenas noches!























































Climbing back on board…..

Posted May 25, 2008 by dehbi
Categories: art, art pottery, knitting

(after a detour on the Procrastination Express!)

Well, since last posting, life has been dragging me around by the hair:  knitting (of course), juggling projects at work as we settle into a newly renovated building, spending more time with friends, participating in swaps of various kinds, keeping up with my correspondences, and…did I mention knitting?

Although I have been knitting a lot, the skirt mentioned in my earlier post has not been one of the projects:  the more I knitted and looked at those horizontal stripes circling (or spiraling, since I was knitting in the round), the more I could see them on my hips, moving toward the real horizon to the ends of the earth, taking the visual perception of my hips along with them. No.  Couldn’t have that.

So the partial skirt in the photo now only exists in that photo. The yarn is now a big fat ball waiting to be repurposed.  I love that yarn and will have to let it rest for a while until inspiration for its next incarnation hits.


I never mind frogging a project that needs frogging:  better to frog than feel that mounting sense of forboding as the project goes farther and farther down the road to project disaster.  For the non-knitter reading this, “frogging” is knitspeak for undoing (or ripping out) a knitted project. 

One of the wonderful things about knitting is that it is so forgiving.  If you don’t like something, or get tired of what you have made, you can recycle the yarn into something else!

My father was always horrified to see me frog a large piece of knitting. However,  I never get that attached to anything I knit unless it is finished and right.  Frogging is kind of Zen, as is knitting.

So after making more dishcloths and scrubbies for some of the numerous swaps I had joined, I decided to make something quick and fun…well, there isn’t much that is faster to knit than a dishcloth or a scrubbie, but this time I got the urge to try a recent kit I had bought on eBay.


Some time ago I fell in love with this top and finally bought the kit for it.  If you click on the link under the name and description, you can look at pics of some of the alternative ways to wear the top.  I chose a wool/silk blend bulky weight yarn, Fleece Artist Scotian Silk in a browns/greys/blacks hand dyed colorway called “Earth.” Yum! 

The skein included with the pattern specifies a 6mm/U.S.#10 needle (I used a circular) with a gauge of 14st/4.”  The skein contains 250g/375 meters or about 9+ oz./410 yds.

Here are some pics of my version: 

Lu top, front view

and here:

Lu top reversed (but not pinned) 

Here is the wrap laid out to show the shaping and construction. 

Lu top laid flat


I think the person wearing the top in the distributor’s photo must be very tiny indeed.  I wear a size medium, and although I like the way that it fits me, it is definitely different from the way that it fits the model. 

This little garment, which is sort of a cross between a shrug and a wrap, has some lovely details in the shaping, the stitch, and in how it can be worn.  You can wear it upside down or backward and not look as if you should have had supervision when you got dressed! 

The stitch pattern, called “Turkish Stitch” is a variation of many lace stitch patterns with that name to be found on the web and in stitch pattern dictionaries.  It is a one-row reversible pattern worked over a multiple of 2 stitches (I think it should be worked over a multiple of 4 stitches plus 2 stitches for the selvedge).

The best visual I could find for this version of the stitch is here.  It is in the March 2, 2007 post on that blog. Scroll almost to the bottom of the page and look for a close-up shot of the green lace swatch.

The shaping involves short rows and I had to play with them for a while to figure out how to get it just right for the yarn overs, but the instructions are good and after you get a rhythm going it is really a fun garment to make. 

I tried it on over my one “little black dress,”  love the look and now can’t wait to take it out on the town!

I also want to try making Lu in some other colorways. I trimmed mine with black on the two edges where you cross the garment: it looked more finished to me that way. 

One word of caution:  if you (or the person for whom you’ll make this), are busty or wear a larger size, consider increasing the number of stitches at the cast on edge to avoid a “shelf” effect on the person.  Lu is worked sideways so it is pretty easy to adjust the length if necessary.  I am about a medium size and did not adjust for this first try…I might do so for the next attempt.

Comments from others who have made this design, also from the kit, have indicated that there is a choice of sizes but the kit I bought was “one size fits all.”  There is enough yarn in the kit to make it a bit longer (a few inches), but you might consider purchasing an extra skein if you want to enlarge much beyond that.


Here is a picture of my little grandson, asleep in his daddy’s arms:

Sleeping angel in daddy's arms

 Born 10 weeks early at 2 lbs. 12 oz., he arrived on January 16th, although his due date was April 7th. 

Thanks to his tireless parents and the incredible NICU Staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Denver, he is now a robust baby boy who laughs, like this: 

Happy Baby Boy

at everything his self-named big “stister” does as she sings and dances for him.  She now has her own little groupie!

Here he is with their mom:

Julia and son
His mantra is:  “Feed me!”

and here he is with his big “Stister” (as she calls herself), the self-named Queen Isabella shown elsewhere in this blog (See It’s in My Genes! on the sidebar):


I am told that she is devoted to her baby brother, and he loves his big sister!

Recently there have been lots of birthdays among my friends and family. I know an incredible number of Taureans and seem to be meeting more all the time.  My birthday is May 4th and I have gone into two shops in the last few weeks, one of them on my actual birthday, and as it turned out, the people running those shops had May 4th birthdays, too.

Lots of opportunities to misbehave with the eating of cake, cheesecake, and any cake! 

Here is some cybercake.  Have a piece!  Cybercake

It won’t taste as yummy as the real thing, but it is the best I can offer! 

If I lived in Cincinnati, I would be in even more trouble with an uncle, an aunt, my dad, a cousin, another cousin (my cousin’s younger son who shares my birthday) all there, and all with Taurus birthdays…and everybody requiring a celebratory cake of his or her own.

All of those birthdays are not excuses for not posting here.  I have just done my usual procrastination…well, let’s just say that I post in my head!  Of course that is only good for other people if they are psychics!


My mother is no longer living, but her art still deserves to be shared.  At some point I will upload some of the images from the art exhibition held posthumously last year in Bermuda.  I was unable to attend, but my my uncle’s wife Sandy, who is very good about staying on top of family photography, took photos of almost everything.

In the meantime, here is a self-portrait my mother Gwen Cann painted in 1957.  It is now housed in my small collection of her work, but will soon be sent to Cincinnati to be housed in my father’s extensive art collection along with the painting of me done the same year….keep scrolling and you’ll see an image of that one, too.

Gwen Cann's Self-Portrait

Here is the painting of me:

Dehbi the Free Spirit.

I think these paintings should be together, don’t you?


He won’t like it if I get more specific, but let me say that Daddy, an octo-something, spends 30 hours a week in the studio working with clay and producing ever cooler art pieces like this:

Small batter bowl

I have had this bowl for a whle and use it for making pancake batter, or for holding teabags and such on the kitchen counter.  It even has a built-in pour spout.  Its diameter is between 6″ and 7″.

This bowl will be sold…and I am reluctant to part with it, but I will.

Medium sized ornamented bowl

The diameter of this larger bowl is about 8″.  It has a nice heft and the texture is a visual delight.


Casanova (his real name), decided that I needed some extra weight on the bridge I was forming as I arranged myself over the exercise balls in class a couple of weeks ago.  He jumped up there and immediately a cell phone camera and a digital camera appeared out of nowhere and voila:

Casanova and Dehbi

This photo was taken by my wonderful friend and yoga buddy, Gabby M.

That’s all for now.  In the near future, perhaps my next post (but no promises!), I’ll write my reflections on creativity.  The purpose will be to inspire.

Until then, have a terrific day off  Memorial Day tomorrow!

Finally got the first skirt going…..

Posted April 28, 2008 by dehbi
Categories: knitting

This represents about 12 hours of knitting, or something like that, with the recycled sweater yarn.  I am liking the way that this is turning out even more than I thought I would.  I like the feel of the yarn, and my calculations are so far giving me something that is able to go over my hips, which is a major concern. 

While sitting here at 3:23 a.m., knitting, reading Ravelry posts, and semi-watching True Crime dubbed in Spanish, it came to me that it might be fun now and then to start providing links here to some of my “favorite things.”   Not necessarily relating to fiber, but to anything that strikes my fancy.

I just went upstairs to photograph the progress on this skirt and the camera battery needed charging.  So while that is doing its thing on the charger, I’ll intro my pick of the week. It is a short story from my favorite magazine, The New Yorker. The name of the story is:  “Audio Tour” by Patricia Marx.  Told in the first person by a disgruntled ex-girlfriend, It cracks me up every time I read it and I hope you’ll like it, too.

And be sure to check out The New Yorker’s Cartoonbank, a searchable database of all New Yorker cartoons.  Some of the best to be found anywhere.  Although that magazine has fantastic writing, it is famous for its hilarious cartoons. 

Now back to knitting….. 

THIS JUST IN!   I just learned of a new online publication for knitters.  It is called Popknits and the concept sounds very cool, and way overdue.  The focus is (or will be, since the launch is scheduled for Fall 2008) on “original vintage-inspired knitting patterns and old techniques made modern,”  according to the information at the website which you can get to from here, or from the link in my Blogroll.  There is a signup form on the page for receiving e-mail updates if you are interested.

I have an extensive collection of knitting magazines going back 30 years and I would love to use some of my old favorites as inspiration for my own designing.  

 Update on my variation on the pencil skirt…(written a few days after the above)

Well, I have knitted about 17″ of this long skirt on a size #U.S.6/4.25mm Addi Turbo (or somebody’s) turbo circular knitting needle. 

The good news is that I like the way it looks, and it fits.  The bad news is that I can’t get the colors right in the photo no matter what I do!  I took it outside, put it on the grass, tried different settings on the camera, and even tried to tweak it in Microsoft Office Picture Manager, but to no avail.  Must work on my photo editing skills, and maybe get some more advanced software for the purpose. 

In reality, the skirt is:  less blue, no abrupt color changes with the striping, more green, and not as bright.  In fact, the closest to blue in the skirt is teal.

Here is my photographic (mis)representation:

My pencil skirt variation (alas..)

Be back soon!


Recycle Day (not a lot of knitting..but getting ready!)

Posted April 21, 2008 by dehbi
Categories: Crystals, knitting

(Written on Sunday, April 20, 2008)

I did not get much done today other than taking apart 4 (or maybe it was 5) of those sweaters for the purpose of recycling the yarn.  It took a while, but I am excited that I now have about 2 lbs. of yarn in this beautiful green colorway:

Knitting to be ripped out for recycling the yarn

Of course it is prettier than I am able to capture in a photo.  I want to make that long pencil skirt (mentioned the other day in another post) and now I can start on the green one, at least, without having to stop to dismantle more sweaters.

When I got to the last sweater/capelet in the greens colorway, I considered saving that last one, not ripping it out,  to perhaps wear it…but the sweater is knitted flat and I don’t like the way the colors line up (or don’t line up) at the seams. 

So I will be making the skirt in the round and if any other ideas come to me for what to make from this yarn, I’ll be sure that the design works better with the yarn in terms of color continuity. Or I might just offer the extra yarn for a trade on Ravelry.


I am a member of a couple of communities of women who all have one thing in common:  we knit dishcloths and swap them with each other. 

This is turning out to be a lot more fun than one would imagine because, not only do you get to make lots of new friends, you get to learn lots of new stitch patterns and things to do with very inexpensive (around $2) dishcloth cotton, available everywhere.

The above link, which I learned about in the group “Dishcloths R Us,” takes you to a fantastic list of blogs featuring 500(!) knitting patterns that use from only 1yd. to 285 yds. of yarn.  They ask that this resource not just be used for the patterns… the whole point of publishing the information is to get folks to visit the blogs where they are found and have a look around, too.  I think I can manage that…at least I will plan to do that as I work my way through the list!


As if I needed any more interests!  A few weeks ago my friend Victoria handed me a lovely chunk of clear quartz crystal.  I could feel the energy in that crystal as I held it for a while.  It got quite warm and brought me a sense of something that I can only say, after 5 years of taking yoga,  is like yoga bliss. 

Here is a pic of Victoria’s crystal present to me:  Terminated Clear Crystal

Here’s some lovely Chinese Rhodochrosite: Lovely Chinese Rhodochrosite

and finally , a bunch of tumbled Prehnite crystals: Tumbled Prehnite Crystals

So, you ask, what the heck do these have to do with knitting or art or creativity, or anything? 

Well, they have to do with my new interest in harnessing crystal energy! 

I’ve had books on crystals for years, but they always seemed to be in my “stuff to read” pile. After what happened when Victoria gave me that crystal, however, I am all over those books and now on the prowl for more crystals of different types. 

One of my swap partners, in New Zealand, is going to send me a piece of “pounamu” from her country.  It has spiritual significance for the Maori people and I will be adding that to my collection of “working” crystals.

There was a gem show this weekend in San Diego and I went down and picked up the prehnite, a nice piece of fluorite, something for my father’s jewelry-making, and something called “white turquoise.”  I am interested in learning more about the metaphysical properties of crystals. 

Different crystals correspond to different signs of the zodiac and can help to energize the natural electromagnetic fields around all living things.  Something definitely happens when I hold one of these crystals so this definitely bears further exploration!

More about crystals and their uses here.


My next post should feature shots of my skirt project, which I think I’ll start  My wardrobe has too many sweaters and not enough skirts.  So skirts will be added to my knitting repertoire for me.

For my charity knitting projects, I am switching over to preemie caps (from bandages for lepers in India…whose need for the bandages is winding down) and probably blankets.

If you are a knitter and are interested in charity knitting projects, there is a lot of information about may different types of items needed and sponsoring organization contacts on the Lion Brand Charity Connection pages  (also linked from my Blogroll (the column on the right).

And of course, in my role as “Gogo” (what my grandbabies call me, or at least the one who can talk calls me that), I have to keep working on projects for them.  I just found a great pants pattern for the baby, and my daughter has her request in… 

It is amazing how much others can benefit from something that takes so little effort.


Time for an art pottery break….

Posted April 19, 2008 by dehbi
Categories: art pottery

Time for a little departure from fiber/textiles talk.  Tonight I’m unveiling some of my father’s latest creations. 

At 85 years old (86 within weeks!), Daddy spends 30 hours or so in the studio, making very inspired artworks in clay.  Like his mother and siblings, and his only child (me!), Daddy was born under the sign of Taurus. 

Taurus is an earth sign and Daddy’s connection with clay, always very strong and a real constant in his life, is providing him with one way to be the artist he always wanted to be in his youth. 

His was a generation that did not really see “artist” has an honest profession and so he dutifully got a good education, worked hard as a social worker, hospital social work director, and mentor to many comingup in that profession….but he has always collected art, married an artist, had many artist friends, and promoted art whenever he could.

When he was finally able to create as much art as he wanted, he made beaded jewelry of African beadstuffs bought from the Gambian traders who criss-cross the U.S. in their overladen vans, sharing their contact lists. 

I once went with Daddy to see one of the traders who was in Cincinnati during one of my visits there.  Going into that room where he had set up his temporary “shop” was like a visit to a treasure cave.

Beaded jewelry is still a passion…and I am slowly working my way up to setting up an Etsy shop for his jewelry, my knitwear patterns and finished art-to-wear, and his art pottery, like this guy:

Nariz in Profile

Nariz, another view

Nariz, full frontal!

“Nariz” is one of my favorites.  Lots of detail and even more attitude!

Daddy doesn’t usually name his pieces, so I decided to have fun with this.  This one’s name means “nose” in Spanish. 

Here is another piece with a lot of personality:


This mask makes me think of a production of Oedipus Rex that I was taken to see by my mother, a thespian herself.


Dermie needs help!

His name is “Dermie” because he looks to me as if he needs to go to dermatologist like, yesterday. 

Dreaded contemplating his wardrobe

This is “Dreaded,” who is trying to figure out what to wear today.

rear view...and I do mean

Dreaded ‘s rear end

I’ll put more of Daddy’s clayworks up in later posts.  I will showcase items for sale, as well as items from my own collection.  They won’t be for sale, but they should be seen!


Clay sculpture by Herbert J. Allen of Cincinnati, Ohio 2008

Photo images –  Copyright Deborah A. Fleming 2008

Time to focus on skirts and a windfall for yarn recycling

Posted April 15, 2008 by dehbi
Categories: knitting


Recently I was in the “Everything $5.99” store which will occasionally have a gem or two. That day was the best yet for finding a bargain. In fact, it was a bargain times 11!

I found a bunch of knitted tank sweater and capelet sets for $1.99 for each set. Amazing! Each had been knitted in a lovely subtle variegated colorway with long color repeats in the way that the dye was used. The yarn is a soft blend. I think I may have left one set in the store.

I had been wanting to make skirts for some time and finding those sweaters means I’ll be able to make them for very little money.

A few weeks ago I lucked out in my hunt for a certain kit thanks to friends at the wonderful fiber (knitting and crochet, mostly) community at Ravelry and found someone with a kit for this:

PenelopeWhich is called the “Penelope Pencil Skirt” …

 and best of all, she was willing to part with it! She actually had the short version of the skirt to trade (whereas I had wanted the long version), but that was o.k. I can extrapolate with the basic pattern.

I sent her some lovely merino hand-dyed yarn I had picked up in Chile a couple of years ago, and she sent me the skirt kit. We had some nail-biting because, even though I had shipped first, I got my package from her first. The Chilean yarn took a rather long time to get to her, but it did arrive and Teri is very happy with it, revealing to me that she had put it on a counter and “petted” it every time she walked past it. We fiber folk are like that about our yarns!

So I will have the yarn that came with the kit and, once I do the ripping out….using all of my yoga training to relax and go into a meditative mode (with my crystals at my side) while I rip out all of those garments….I’ll also have additional yarn for making it in other colorways.

I’ll go from this: 

to having something I can use for at least one skirt, but now it is looking like 3(!).  Don’t be horrified by the brightness of the colors here.  I had trouble adjusting it and the real fabric is much darker and more subdued, quite rich-looking, not day-glo like my photo.

Watch this space for more on the progress of those projects (triple threat?). After so much handling, I hope I don’t get so fed up with this yarn that I don’t want to wear the skirt or skirts when finished!

Also this week I have been making yarn balls for my swap partners.

Making yarn balls, for the uninitiated, involves tying together short lengths of different yarns, ribbon, string, anything that can be tied with the rest, and then rolling the continuous piece into one big ball from which something (like a scarf) can be knitted or crocheted….or used in any way that one would use yarn.

This swap and many others are organized and managed using the free services offered here. A “magic” yarn ball is where you take a ball of yarn and re-wind it, tucking small gifts and “goodies” within as you wind. It is like a little surprise package for the receiver!

Swapping can become quite addictive! You send and receive and it is like having Christmas every time something comes. It is also a terrific way to make new friends all over the world. One of my partners today is from the Orkney Islands, and I have another swap partner who lives on a sheep farm in New Zealand.

The partner in N.Z. is going to send me some of their famous wool and some crystals from there for my crystal work as well as a puffy/scrubbie, since the monthly swap of that group is based on a scrubbie exchange. Scrubbies, which look like this,  Four Scrubbiesand are supposed to be for use in the kitchen, make terrific facial exfoliators. Who knew?

(Back to New Zealand….) Maryanne and I have been having a lively cyber-conversation about sustainable lifestyles and Lotus Birth which is an area in which she has expertise. Fascinating!

I took pics tonight of some of Daddy’s sculptural pieces, but it is almost 5 a.m. and I need to get to bed so that I can get up for work….which is necessary to support my way-out-of-control yarn addiction habit.

Despite the name of this blog, I do need to get some sleep occasionally…but only enough to be able to create with any coherence.

Living the knitting life entails giving up things like keeping a neat house and sleeping!

So those pics of some of Daddy’s work will have to be in the next post which I’ll have up very soon.