Election by Judy @ 8:09 AM

Obama 08

Yes we can!

This morning I am so proud to be an American.

Last night we made history.

I have such hope for the future – hope I have not felt in a long time.

Even McCain’s concession speech was inspired.

In the center of my moebius is an O.

Election |Knitting by Judy @ 7:29 AM

double-knit moebius
double-knit moebius

It all started at the Island Retreat a couple of weeks ago. Some well-meaning knitter – I forget the exact context now – said something about double-knitting a moebius. I immediately wanted to do just that. Because I never had. And it sounded really cool. And you could have a moebius that had no purl side, but only a smooth knit side. And different colors. And what would those colors do when swirled around a non-orientable surface that has only one side and one edge?

I immediately headed to Island Wools for yarn. Cat, who is wiser than I, perhaps saw the gleam of scientific inquiry in my eyes because she smiled and nodded and said nothing but sounds fun.


Thus began a quest for how to cast the darn thing on. It kept twisting around itself in strange and other-dimensionally ways. After much frustration and frogging bad words were said in my out-loud voice several false starts, I finally hit on a method that seemed to sort of work: I cast on two individual moebii, knit 1 ring on the white one and purled 1 ring on the green one. Remember it takes two rings to make a round, so I had worked 1/2 round on each. Then I threaded both on to a single long cable needle by alternating stitches.

Gentle reader, I have learned more about topography in the last week than I ever expected to in my wildest dreams.

I turns out that when you take two moebii and attach them along the edge, essentially what I did when I threaded the two on to one needle, the result is a torus (that’s a fancy word for a doughnut) with a moebius twist in it. And that’s one representation of a non-orientable surface called a Klein Bottle. And such beasties do not live in 3 dimensional space without some contortion. And I haven’t yet figured out the knack of knitting in 4-space, where they live happily but I do not.

So what I knit in my little experiment is a Klein Bottle represented locally in my particular patch of 3-space by letting what I thought would be a moebius intersect with itself – which it wouldn’t do in 4-space. You can see the insertion point – it’s the point at which the green suddenly changes to white.The green has actually crossed through the white to reappear on the other side (if it could be said to have sides, although it really only has one), and the white has crossed through the green. But if you trace either color by itself, ignoring the other color, you will find that each is, really, a moebius. And together they appear to be a moebius. Sort of. If it weren’t for that pesky insertion point.

I don’t think there’s any way to get around the color change, short of knitting the whole thing in one color. But then what would be the point of double-knitting? I’ve decided instead to make the intersection a design feature by adding in random ones scattered about various places. We’ll see how well that plan works out. I may end up with a mess. And I have no idea how I’m going to bind this thing off, but I’m open to suggestions.

I hope I don’t sound like I understand what I’m talking about, here, because really my math is not good enough to understand it in more than lay-person’s terms. All of this stuff makes my brain hurt. But, nonetheless, this is the sort-of-moebius that’s on my needles and that I will be knitting today with healing intentions.

I do think it’s cool that, even though there are two colors, there are really no sides. And although the green and white started out as completely separate entities, they have now merged in new and unexpected ways.

Knit on!

Election |Knitting by Judy @ 11:46 AM

This morning I received the following email from Cat Bordhi. It was sent to the participants of her two island retreats. Cat has asked that it be passed on to knitters all over the US, and I think it’s a lovely idea. I currently have a moebius on my needles, and I will knit along with Cat tomorrow with healing intentions.

November 3, 2008

Heal the Election Wounds and Embrace Humanity with a Moebius

By Cat Bordhi

I awoke this morning realizing that publicly knitting a beautiful Moebius scarf as I begin to float (I live on an island), drive, and fly toward Stitches East on Tuesday would be a beautiful and profound public expression of my hopes and dreams for the world, as well as a symbol of the healing that our country will need after the election.

If you want to follow along, I recently made a Youtube video which will clearly teach you how to knit a Moebius whether you have my books or not. Here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVnTda7F2V4

So – here is why the Moebius is a perfect expression of the best of humanity, and the healing of the fractured country and world that I trust is coming:

1. The Moebius appears to have two surfaces and two edges – ie, polarities such as black and white, right and wrong, good and bad, Republican and Democrat – but when you follow the surface around you will run right into your starting point without ever having changed to the other “side.” For there isn’t one. Everything flows into itself. Polarities are an illusion. What lies beneath the apparent polarities is oneness, beauty, and grace. In a Moebius you can see it, hold it, be awed by it. Once the frenzy dies down, hopefully those with opposing views will slowly rediscover their common humanity.

2. Like the surface that flows into itself, so too does the Moebius’s single continuous edge – thus everything is recycled. In fact, I would not be the least bit surprised if the ultimate alternative energy involves a Moebius form or dynamic. By the way, the recycling symbols (2 are in common usage, one with a single twist, the other with 3) you see everywhere are actually Moebii (too hard to say Moebiuses – try it!). I think we are all hoping for significant and effective new discoveries in alternative energy – and the Moebius would be a great symbol for this global effort.

3. Once you complete the first ring (it takes 2 rings to make a round – watch the video) of your Moebius, you are in for smooth and happy sailing. All you have to do is to knit the stitch in front of you, then the next stitch in front of you, with not a care in the world for what came before or what has shifted into the “future”. You’ll look at the mysterious shape on your needles and wonder how “those stitches” can ever come to you . . . well, they will, without your needing to understand how. And they will all come in perfect sequence, resulting in a beautiful and graceful Moebius. The Moebius rewards your faith in its mystery with the easiest knitting you will ever do. And the result is always graceful – for this is the very nature of the Moebius. You can knit along while you watch the election results, while walking, while standing in line at the store, wherever you may find yourself during these days to come. You will be knitting the graceful healing and ease that I believe is flowing toward us, requiring only of us that we stay true to the powerful sense of loving kindness that resides in the center of every person. No one could ever possibly understand enough to make the healing happen, but if we all just knit the stitch before us, as they come, marveling at the innocence and sweetness of it all, with our oh so familiar continuous strand of yarn, the healing will happen. We need not understand either one fully – the Moebius or the world. They both operate with inherent grace.

4. I looked through my stash and chose a luminous yarn in deep watery colors from Blue Moon Fiber Arts – LSS (Luscious Single Silk), and did not realize until I looked at the label that the colorway is absolutely apropos: Lunasea. Tina no doubt named the colorway after the moon and the sea – and after lunacy? So let the lunacy of the election months give way to Lunasea – the grace of the moon, the sea, the Moebius, and the beautiful heart of humanity, of all people, the “us” and “them” who merge into one. I shall be winding the skein on the ferry tomorrow, then knitting all the way to Baltimore. I hope to see many, many of you there.

With love from Cat Bordhi

Note: If you alternate sets of knit and purl rounds, you will have purl ridges all around. Then your Moebius will not curl along the edges when you are done.

Knitting |Political Rants by Judy @ 5:41 PM
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knit the vote 2006

Everyone, please cast your ballot tomorrow! Voting is our opportunity and our obligation. And while it sometimes seems that our voices are drowned out in the sea of election noise, some races are won or lost on the strength of one tiny voice. Whatever your political opinion is, let it be counted!

Voting, gentle reader, is your ticket to complain. As I tell #1 Son: Ya don’t vote, ya don’t get to bitch.

Besides, waiting in line at the polls is an excellent opportunity to flash your sticks in public! So get out there and knit the vote!

Oregon voters, remember that it’s way too late to mail your ballot in. Please take it to any of the official drop-off sites or to your county elections office by 8:00PM Tuesday.

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[2006 BBW logo; Read Banned Books: They're Your Ticket to Freedom; Link to the ALA's Banned Books Week page; http://www.ala.org/bbooks/]

I’m going to take a short, non-knitting side trip here to remember that this is the 25th anniversary of Banned Book Week.

Banned Book Week celebrates our freedom to choose and to express our opinion, even if that opinion is unpopular; and emphasizes the importance of making each opinion available to those who want to read it. Our freedom of speech is one of our most precious rights. Without it, I wouldn’t be blogging here today and you wouldn’t be reading my words.

I grew up in a town that had a good library. It was housed in a big, imposing, two-story building. The adult section of the library was on the first two floors. The stacks seemed to go on for miles. The children’s section was in what was essentially the basement. It had its own entrance around the side of the library. There was a narrow flight of stairs from the depths of the children’s section up into the light of the adult section, but kids were not allowed to use the stairs. Kids under 16 were not allowed in the adult section at all, even if accompanied by adults. Even if they were quiet. Even if they only wanted to read.

Mama took Bro and I to the library at least weekly. She would go up to the rarefied heights of the adult section while Bro and I stayed down in the children’s section. We were all great readers. So by the time I was in 5th or 6th grade I’d read pretty much all of the books in the children’s section. I started reading the books that Mama brought home for herself. Then I started asking Mama for other books by authors I had liked, or other books on the same subjects or written in the same way. (I was really big on historical fiction, as I recall.) Then, with Mama’s collusion, I began to break the rules. When the Children’s Librarian was looking the other way, I’d sneak up the back stairs and into the back stacks in the adult section and pick out books that looked good. Mama and I would rendezvous in the back, and she’d check out the books for me so I could read them.

Mama believed that if you were old enough to be interested in a book, you were old enough to read it. She never censored what I read or what I watched or what opinions I was exposed to. Instead we discussed our books and she would explain to me why a particular book did or didn’t fit into her own value system. I was allowed to have my own opinion. I grew up in an environment of intellectual freedom that I still treasure, and I raised my own son the same way.

Years later when I was in town for a family gathering, I visited the Library with Bro and Mama. It’s a county museum now, with exhibits showing the founding and early history of the town. I believe that was the first time I’d entered the Library building through the front door.

Please see the web site of the American Library Association Banned Books Week for more information on banned and challenged books and on Banned Book Week activities. I have a permanent page here where I list the top 10 banned and challenged books of the previous year, plus other frequently banned and challenged books. Please take time to read at least one this year.

Next time we return to knitting…

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I’m seeing reports on the local news that gas companies and/or local service stations are asking people not to top off their tank, but to wait until the tank is almost drained before filling up. This is supposed to prevent runs on gas station.

Why? This makes absolutely no sense to me at all.

Let’s say I drive 500 miles per week and use an average of 10 gallons of gas to do so (hey… I drive a Prius). That means that every 50 miles takes about 1 gallon of gas. If I decide to buy 1 gallon of gas every 50 miles rather than 10 gallons of gas after 500, I’ve still used 10 gallons of gas in roughly the same amount of time. The difference over the span of a week to the local gas station is zero. They’ll get to see my smiling face more often, but they won’t be selling me any more gas.

If the price of gas is going up, then I’ll come out ahead because some of the earlier gallons of gas will have been purchased at a lower price than the last gallons. If I wait until the end of the week, the gas station (or probably the oil company that supplies them) will come out ahead because I bought all of those same 10 gallons at the highest price.

So who benefits if I wait? The oil companies.

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