words, words, words (9)

yarnI have been a knitter for roughly 10 years. This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the January Thaw Retreat, put on by Sun Valley Fibers (thanks again, Jeanette and George!). As I sat at a table with nine talented fiber artists, knitting and chatting and knitting some more, I let the language of the craft wash over me.

Knitting has its own vocabulary. When you first join the community, you think your fellow knitters are speaking gibberish. Slip as if to knit and slip as if to purl. K2 tog tbl or p2tog tbl, which means knit (or purl) two together through the back loops. Long-tail cast on. Provisional cast on. German twisted cast on. RS and WS (right side and wrong side of your work), which always confuses me because they both start with an “R” sound. Here are three favorites that are used with some regularity.

Tink. Sometimes things go awry in knitting. And by sometimes, I mean quite frequently and usually at some point with every project. If you haven’t figured it out yet, “tink” is “knit” spelled backward. When you tink, you are unknitting something you just knit. Think of tinking as hitting an undo icon on your computer to go back in time to when your work didn’t have a mistake.

Frogging. Other mistakes are too severe to be tinked away and you have to resort to frogging. What sound does a frog make?  Yes, it says ribbit, ribbit. Ergo, “frogging” is when you rip it, rip it, rip it out (which sounds close enough to ribbit, ribbit). That is, take your work off the needles and pull on the yarn to unravel the stitches. You can frog several rows or frog an entire project and start over. Needless to say, frogging is rarely good news.

Whip. The word isn’t whip, it just sounds like it. “Whip” is the phonetic pronunciation of “W.I.P.” which is a work in progress. When I first started knitting, I did one project at a time. I selected a pattern, bought the appropriate yarn, cast it on, knit until it was done, did any finishing work required, and then started over on a new project. You know that you are truly a knitter when you have multiple projects going at once. Perhaps you were lured in by a pattern (or several) you just had to make or a fiber (or several) too beautiful to pass up. Without exception, every knitter I know increases their whips over time.

I’d better sign off. I have a gorgeous blue hat waiting for me to work on. Or should I pick up my mint green shawl? Or my multi-colored striped hat? Or my soft, rust sweater? Or dishcloths? Or…

shoe-in vs. shoo-in

I have a love/hate relationship with finding errors in books. Love spotting something wrong, hate the mistake exists in the first place. A recent crime again grammar was “shoe-in.” Really, shouldn’t the author, editor, beta reader, proofreader—someone, anyone—have caught it? It’s shoo-in, people. Never shoe-in.

This is not another home in vs. hone in or historic vs. historical. For once, Google backs me up, although I wasn’t aware its meaning was originally derived from horse racing.

noun: shoo-in; plural noun: shoo-ins
  1. a person or thing that is certain to succeed, especially someone who is certain to win a competition.
    “he was a shoo-in for re-election”
1930s: from the earlier use of the term denoting the winner of a rigged horse race.


The Internet of Things

network-782707_1280I use the app Pocket to capture articles I want to read later. Pocket also sends me a weekly digest with items of potential interest; this week’s edition was solely focused on the Internet of Things (IoT). Is this a generally known concept, or just among the IT crowd? My curiosity and lack of knowledge led me down a rabbit hole of futurist predictions, videos, and myriad articles. That is, after an initial Google search of the term “IoT” returned 86,400,000 results!

Wikipedia defines IoT as “…the internetworking of physical devices, vehicles (also referred to as “connected devices” and “smart devices”), buildings and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data.” For those who barely grasp what happens in the cloud, it’s difficult to fathom the web of connectivity that is no only possible but actually exists now. If you’re interested in learning more, here are a few resources I found interesting:

getting my poetry on

One of my neighbors is esteemed poet Marilyn Taylor. I chatted with her about her work at a recent holiday gathering. It brought to mind a time in my youth when I wrote poetry and made me wonder if I could still tap into that part of my creative brain. Here goes.

Words – a free verse sestet

By Karen Hodgkiss

Paprika and charcuterie roll off the tongue.

Moist. Must. Avoid. At all costs.

Shipping. Ugh. RIP Brangelina.

Mansplain and hangry. New portmanteau toys.

I can’t even. So wrong, but so right.

Inexorably morphing. Can’t get enough.

random thoughts: San Francisco edition

img_0391Ah, San Francisco for Thanksgiving. What a special place to spend the holiday. It’s been years since I’ve been to the Bay Area, and it was even more spectacular than before. It’s not surprising that such a unique place would generate  reactions that don’t necessarily have any rhyme or reason.

  • How long would I have to live here before I got used to dogs in Target and everywhere else? Gotta say, dogs doing their business on the sidewalks (since there aren’t lawns in the city) is pretty disgusting. 
  • At almost December everything is still green and blooming. And the temperatures range between 45-75 degrees year round. How do they keep track of the season? 
  • Spotted within the same hour: someone in a tank top and shorts, several people in short sleeves and sandals, and others in fur-lined parkas and Ugg boots. 
  • I thought I lived in a world class foodie town, but SF cuisine takes dining to a whole ‘nother level. 
  • How do people in wheelchairs and on crunches navigate the hills and steps?
  • All of the hours I spent on the treadmill at Orangetheory Fitness at elevations of 10% or more really paid off in tackling the hills. I did not expect how hard it would be to walk downhill.
  • Fisherman’s Wharf wasn’t as trashy as I remember. However, the homelessness problem seems to have dramatically escalated. There has got to be a humane alternative to tent cities that provides security and treats people of all circumstances with dignity.
  • Muir Woods is simply magical.