Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Too excited to sleep...

Lovin' Knit Yarn Shop and Studio

I got up early this morning.   It's Tuesday in Atlanta and, like the little boy in the Disney comercial, I am was just too excited to sleep.

As usual, the knitting group at the Lovin' Knit was wonderful.  What a wonderful group of women this is.   Even though I only make it once a month (or less), I always feel welcome, and appreciated.   Atlanta, in general, is quite a bit more cosmopolitan than Jacksonville. I am not saying that I would want to trade St. Aug. for Atlanta, but, OMG, this place feeds a part of me that is starving in NE FL.

Do any of you watch "Once Upon a Time"?   I want to knit Emma's baby blanket (WARNING: This site has a very rude name)   for an expecting friend.   There is something very similar on Ravelry that is, in fact, called "Once Upon a Time", but I have not found a yarn I like (not acrylic/modestly priced).  Friend Angie whipped up a version of her own based on screen shots of the relevant episode. I am looking forward to seeing the photos.   I also spent some time staring at the screen shots and have come to the conclusion that the blanket is actually a bunting (you can see seams across the bottom).  The addition of a ribbon trim would make the "Button-up Baby Bunting" on Ravelry a close enough replica.  I was leaning that way (except that I would make it longer and not seam the bottom to make it easier to change diapers).  However, this morning I was a lovely 1x1 rib blanket made from an organic cotton.  I could whip this pretty quickly, just weave in a pink ribbon, and sew on a patch with the babies name.  The kit was sold out  :-( but that might not be a bad thing since the yarn called for was fairly light.  If I can find something similar in a heavier weight, it would knit up faster and would probably resemble the inspiration piece even more (again, I would add ribbon and embroidered patch). Still thinking but I will have to make up my mind pretty if I am to get it done in time.

ETA:  Posting this on Thursday morning since the hotel wireless went to sleep early last night.  Also, this morning, while working on the links for this post, I found a couple more Emma blanket sites, including one with the actual pattern used.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What does SOPA/PIPA mean to you...

  • SOPA  -  The Stop Online Piracy Act , also known as House Bill 3261 or H.R. 3261, is a bill that was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on October 26, 2011, by House Judiciary Committee Chair Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) and a bipartisan group of 12 initial co-sponsors. The bill, if made law, would expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods.
  • PIPA  -  The PROTECT IP Act (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011), also known as Senate Bill 968 or S. 968, is a proposed law with the stated goal of giving the US government and copyright holders additional tools to curb access to "rogue websites dedicated to infringing or counterfeit goods", especially those registered outside the U.S. 
  • OPEN  -   The Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (OPEN Act) is a draft text for legislation proposed as an alternative to the Stop Online Piracy Act and PROTECT IP Act by United States Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and United States Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA)
SOPA and PIPA are two pieces of proposed legislation that will be debated and voted on, on the floors of the House and Senate respectively, beginning on Jan 24th.    The purported purpose of these bills is to limit/discourage/stop online piracy.   On the face of it, that sounds great.   I, as a diligent supporter of copyright, should be thrilled.   The problem, however, it that neither of these bills will actually achieve it's stated purpose.   Instead, they will catch us all in their overly broad net.

I could try to explain to you the legal ins and outs of these two bills but there are others who will do that much better than I (Stick with me to the end.  There will be links).    What I want to do, instead, is to explain what the success of either of these pieces of legislation will mean to us.   By us, I mean, bloggers, crafters, friends, family, small business owners, anyone with an online presence be it business or pleasure.

The following actions would put us at risk of losing our blogs, our PayPal accounts, or even, in the extreme, spending as much as five years in prison (I really, really want to believe that things will not get that bad but the entertainment industry does have a history of  insisting on maximum penalties for grandma, et al).
  • That cute photo of your toddler hugging Mickey Mouse at Disney?   Don't post it.  (Mickey, after all, is a trademarked symbol).
  • A well meaning comment on your blog, with a link to a YouTube clip of a Fox News segment.   You had better hope not.   The only way to protect yourself will be to very carefully moderate all comments or not allow them at all.
  • Have a video of yourself singing New York, New York at a family party?   Nope, you can't show that off, either.  (no royalties = copyright infringement).  
  • A stock photo of a book you are reviewing?  Bad!
  • A video of your family singing Happy Birthday?  Don't even think about it!
  • Do you like YouTube?   I don't see how they can continue under the constant threat of legal action.
  • Ravelry? Twitter? Facebook? G+? Reddit?  It's not looking good for social media either.
I am not unaware that entertainment companies are taking a financial hit from pirates and the unscrupulous people who keep them in business.   Not for a moment am I suggesting that nothing be done to help alleviate the problem and punish the participants.   However, there is a more reasonable, more effective, option.    Congressional Republicans and Democrats came together to write the OPEN Act (Online Protection & Enforcement of Digital Trade Act).    Follow the link under the chart at the top of this post and you will see that the OPEN Act would give relief to the entertainment companies, while not sinking to the level of censorship, black lists, and other draconian measures.

At the end of this post (which is coming soon, I promise)  there will be a list of links you can visit for more and better information.  Please visit some or all of these sites.   Please do not lament how unfortunate this is, but do nothing to stop it.  You can help by donating, by blacking out your blog in protest, by writing letters, sending emails, posting information, registering your objection with your senator or congressman/woman.   Any or all of these things would help to raise awareness.    Most of all, you can make a difference by talking about this, by spreading the word, and by encouraging others to do the same.   We have to fight this.   As of this morning, SOPA is on hold but Harry Reid insists that PIPA will move forward.    When these same measures are used in China and Iran we feel outrage on their behalf and the comfort of knowing that it can't happen here.    Are we to be proven wrong?   Are we not better than this? 

Monday, January 9, 2012

2011 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure.

It is so hard to write when it feels like there is nothing good to say.   I was going to entitle this post "Annus Horribilis" and then explain why that phrase applies to life at Chez Serenity.   You will be glad to know, that I decided against that little bit of self indulgence.   My next thought was to list 10 things I am grateful for from the past year (if for no other reason than to prove to myself that there are at least that many).   However, I am really struggling, right now, against the feeling that everything is awful (when I know very well that, that is not the case) and my heart just isn't in it.

On to idea #3. This is a knitting blog and even though I am hanging on by a thread, I am still knitting (Some days I think that knitting is the thread by which I hang).   So here it is ladies and gentlemen, my knitting:

Photo taken at Panera

I promise you that this baby looks quite a bit more inviting in person.  I love this pattern and yarn.  They are both soft and soothing to work with.    This and a secret knitting project are all that I have been working on. I am a little more than half way done with the Summer Wrap, but still at the cast-on, hate it, rip out stage of the secret project.

Ow, now that I am on a roll, let me show you my new knitting bag:

I bought this at   It is made from an old *$'s billboard.   How cool is that?   It is the perfect size for my knitting, and netbook, along with various and sundry magazines and papers.   I love it!  It comes with a picture of the billboard, which I carry with me because you can see just what part my bag came from.

Well, I feel better now than I did when I began this post.  Thank you all for that.  :-)