skip to content or skip to search form

Archive: August 2005

Flower Basket Shawl

I’ve been gone a long time and it felt really good. I’d been getting bored, I admit, and peevish and, for a time, quite sick, and so the break was welcome. I took advantage of my time away to work a lot and read and especially knit. In this post and another tonight I’ll highlight two projects I’m proud I finished and I hope to have images ready for another post Tuesday or Wednesday. Then it will be back to more word-heavy postings.

First up is the Flower Basket Shawl pattern designed by Evelyn Clark and published in the Fall 2004 issue of Interweave Knits, which was a quick knit I whipped out during the first weekend in August.

Rose wearing the shawlI stuck pretty closely to the pattern for a change, knitting on U.S. size 7 needles and using one hank of DZined wool/hemp sport weight I think in color WH12154 used single rather than doubled because of the yarn weight. My only change was that on the left side of the shawl I changed the directions of the double decreases (ssk, return that stitch to left needle, pass next unworked stitch over) to give it a more symmetrical look that probably no one will ever notice. I did the number of repeats in the pattern and I’m sure there was enough yarn left over for one if not two more. I was just being lazy and fast and didn’t want to have to rip out my work if it turned out I didn’t have enough.

This detail shot shows the slight variegation in the yarn, as well as the pattern detail, with each pattern block a basket with a flower in the middle:

flower basket pattern detailThe hemp in the yarn gives it a crisp, almost papery feel and is less stretchy than wool alone. Because of that, I think I lost about one inch in each direction from the dimensions indicated in the pattern. This makes the shawl a bit small for my purposes (though it would have been small anyway) but I think it will still be useful if I close it with a pin rather than trying to tie it.

And here is a little picture of my shawl blocking. After letting the shawl soak in soapy water, I wove string down the center spine of yarnovers and along the top and then used T-pins to secure each scallop on the bottom edge.

blocking the flower basket shawlAll in all, it was an easy and satisfying use of a few days’ knitting time. I’d already used the pattern once before with Noro Lily cotton/silk yarn to make a smaller version for my brother’s girlfriend during the winter. The lace patterns are easy to memorize and once started just keep going. I would definitely consider using the pattern again, perhaps for a slightly larger version with DZined wool/hemp/mohair, which has a bit more sheen and halo. I’m not sure where I’ll have occasion to wear a shawl, but at least now I’m prepared.

MySQL woes, no more

Well, if you visited us at Peiratikos in the small hours of 19 August, you probably saw either some nasty MySQL errors or a note about our MySQL problems. They’re solved now, thanks to the helpful tech support at our web host (A Small Orange). Hurrah!

Ah, maybe soon we’ll have something entertaining on our blog….

New email address

Just so you know in case you want to send me email for some reason, I have an exciting new email address: I will not receive any email sent to after 4:00 pm or so on 17 August 2005.

Tim Berners-Lee on the Web

The BBC last week had an interview with Tim Berners-Lee about the World Wide Web, most interestingly about how blogs are closest to his original idea of a readable/writable web. I’m sure many of you have seen this already, but there were a few excerpts I especially like that I want to quote here….

The idea was that anybody who used the web would have a space where they could write and so the first browser was an editor, it was a writer as well as a reader. Every person who used the web had the ability to write something. It was very easy to make a new web page and comment on what somebody else had written, which is very much what blogging is about.

For years I had been trying to address the fact that the web for most people wasn’t a creative space; there were other editors, but editing web pages became difficult and complicated for people. What happened with blogs and with wikis, these editable web spaces, was that they became much more simple.

When you write a blog, you don’t write complicated hypertext, you just write text, so I’m very, very happy to see that now it’s gone in the direction of becoming more of a creative medium.

when you use the web, you follow links and you should keep bookmarks of the places where following links turns out to be a good idea. When you go to a site and it gives you pointers to places that you find are horrible or unreliable, then don’t go there again.

You see out there right now, for example, when you look at bloggers some of them are very careful. A good blogger when he says that something’s happened will have a point to back, and there’s a certain ethos within the blogging community, you always point to your source, you point all the way back to the original article. If you’re looking at something and you don’t know where it comes from, if there’s no pointer to the source, you can ignore it.

When [the web is] 30, I expect it to be much more stable, something that people don’t talk about. Really when you talk about an article, you don’t say, “Oh, I’m going to write an article on paper!” The fact that we use pen and paper is sort of rather understood.

Similarly the web will be, hopefully, will be something which is sunk into the background as an assumption. Now, if as technologists develop, we’ve done our job well, the web will be this universal medium, which will be very, very flexible. It won’t, itself, have any preconceived notions about what’s built on top.

One of the reasons that I want to keep it open like that, is partly because I want humanity to have it as a clean slate. My goal for the web in 30 years is to be the platform which has led to the building of something very new and special, which we can’t imagine now.


You’ve presumably noticed by now that we have a new design. We also have an about page where you can learn many fascinating things about us, primarily via internet quiz results. We’ve also switched to a new host, so apologies if you ran into one of our bumps as we moved the site from our old host; hopefully most of them have been taken care of by now.

I was supposed to write about the movie Minority Report quite a while ago, but I never got around to it. I got the DVD from Netflix, but every time I had an opportunity to watch it I just didn’t want to spend the time. What really put me off the movie was the advertising. I mean, obviously Spielberg and co. play both sides, presenting horribly intrusive advertising as satire while collecting product-placement cash, so I found Minority Report’s satirical strength a little shaky to begin with. But this article—blecch. I’m disturbed by a lot of advertising right now and the future advertising on display in Minority Report is outright evil, so reading the creative director of the ads in the movie assuring me that advertisers will figure out how to make their ads so intrusive that I won’t be able to avoid them puts me right off wanting to watch the movie.

But I’m definitely not burned out on Mulholland Dr., especially the good discussion on Peiratikos and Motime Like the Present to respond to. Um, but not quite yet….

Actually, one thing. David Fiore, in the Motime post I linked to, makes a good point about the conspiracy in the second part of the movie. Diane’s world is a full of conspirators against her as Rita’s is; the difference is that Diane sees her conspirators everywhere and nobody ever sees Rita’s conspirators. And moreover, as David says, there is no “backstage” in Diane’s world—there’s nothing outside of Diane’s sphere of experience and influence.

Does that connect in interesting ways to my consideration of “obvious fakes” and “seamless forgeries”? Maybe, maybe not? Both conspiracies seem fantastic and implausible. Rita’s conspiracy seems more real, since it exists independently of observation (except for its own observation), but it is nevertheless the subjective invention of a dreaming mind.