Thursday, December 28, 2006

With Morning Comes Thinkiness

While brushing my teeth this morning, I was overcome with thinkiness ... which is always a dangerous thing for me to do, especially early (or in this case, since I was running late, not so early) in the morning.

The topic of this thinkiness: Americanism and the "Enemy" Culture. First of all, let me be clear in stating that I am not a historian. I've had all of about 3 history courses in my life [9th Grade American History, and Western Civ: Beginning of Time to the Middle Ages or Whatever and this very cool History Study Tour, which was a 3 week bus tour covering East Coast Revolutionary and Civil War sites in college].

However, even given that I know relatively little about American History, it seems that nearly every major era of our history is defined by having an "enemy." If one enemy is vanquished, another rises to fill the void. The example I was thinking of this morning while trying not to swallow more toothpaste was how rapidly radical Islamists have replaced baby-eating communists after the end of the Cold War.

Is there something about American Culture that needs an enemy? Or that creates enemies where none should be? OK, People Thinkier Than I, discuss ... I'm going to blab on about something not nearly as thinky now:


As some of you know, I have resumed work on the Never-ending Sweater of Doom. Last night, I finished the cuff of the Never-ending Right Sleeve of Doom. I managed to decipher this line of instructions:

P1 row and inc 12 sts evenly spaced across row (50 sts).

And, can I just tell you? Making one stitch purlwise was FUCKING difficult. I'm not quite sure I did it all right. There is a little hole in two or three spots. But, whatever. It's not like I'm going to undo all that for two or three little holes.

After doing that and the next two rows (which were easy - yay). I'm now STUCK. The instructions read:

Keeping pattern as established [which if you must know is (RS) P2, work (K10, P2) across and (WS) K2, (P10, K2) across], inc 1 at beg and end of next row, then every 3 rows 26 times (104 sts), working added sts in pattern.

Does this mean to increase at the very beginning and end of the row? How do you do that? I know how to Make 1 stitch, but my book says you can't do that at the beginning/end of a row. It has to be at least 1 stitch in. And how do you work it in pattern? HOW? GAH! And, does "every 3 rows" mean there should be 3 rows between each increased row, or the increase is made on every third row (so 2 rows between each increased row, right?)?

Hm. After awhile "row" starts to look like a really funny word.

Stupid Never-ending Sweater of Doom.



  1. re: History. The cheap and easy way to unite a people is to find (or make up) a common enemy/threat, like the Gays, or flag burning, or Islamists... or in Hitler's case... the Jews. Just as examples.

    Too bad we aren't doing better uniting against a real enemy, like global warming and the corporations causing it.

    As for knitting, I'd ask Mac over at Peskyapostrophe.

  2. Not to be too 'thinky' but my opinion has always been that to define one political boundary (city state, nation, nation states, etc), you will have to do it on the basis of excluding others and potentially make them an enemy. The current American thing made this notion and Carl Schmitt's writings popular again. He wrote on that enemy concept-- Often he is misread as perscribing it as a solution. I think he was only describing, and in my opinion, very accurately how politics works.

  3. Not only the US--it is one of those fundamental human truths that we think of things in terms of an "us vs. them" mentality (especially in Western culture, where we like to organize things in binary terms--good and evil, right and wrong, friend and foe, familliar and foreign).

  4. I've only been on the computer this past week long enough to look up answers to my own knitting questions! I know you're not at work until Tuesday so you might not get this until then, but let me see what I can see...

    Usually when a pattern wants you to increase at the beginning of a row, it means after the first stitch, which isn't technically *at* the beginning of the row, but that's what they say, anyway. Every 3 rows usually means every THIRD row, but you should be able to double check that by the number of stitches you'll have left after you've done it 26 times. To work the added sts into the pattern...that's trickier. It could mean to make it P2, then P3, then P4. On the other hand, it could mean to go P2, work (K10, P2), then P3, work (K10, P2), then P3, work (K11, P2). I'd be able to be more help if I could see the pattern, or at least a picture to see what it's supposed to look like. Whatever you decide, remember, as long as you like how it turns out, it doesn't matter what the pattern says!

  5. Hi, Tornwordo sent me a link to today's post in the hope that I could help with the knitting question. Chelsea gave you all the answers I could figure out. I find with knitting and origami instructions that if I curse bitterly while I'm following the lame instructions to the best of my ability it usually works out okay. Also, have this slogan I came up with for free: Real Knitters Rip. See? If it turns out crappy, just frog it and knit something else or knit the same thing but with better results. This is economical because then you get twice the knitting fun with half the cost.

    I agree with your assessment that the US needs an enemy too. We are all into this duality thing, good vs. evil. Too bad for us, I say.

  6. chelsea and em Thanks so much for your advice!!! I didn't read it until too late though :-( What I did, based on some other advice was cast on a new stitch at the beginning and end of every 3rd row. It looks a little wonky, but I'm hoping it will be OK when I seam up the sides. Let's cross our fingers and hope so.

  7. My dear. Please visit:

    for future reference.

    When making a new stitch, if you are doing a M1 by picking up the bar across between the two stitch if may help if you twist the new stitch. I found that help to "lose" the hole, at least knitwise increases.

    M1, is different than Inc 1 btw.