Thursday, June 20, 2013

What I'm Making: Cap Sleeve Lattice Top With Size Adaptation

Welcome to the first installment of What I'm Working On. This is where I'll share the things that I'm making. It'll likely be mostly knitting, but also some other crafts.

Today I'm going to show off my work-in-progress Cap Sleeve Lattice Top, which is from the Purl Bee.

I've adapted the pattern, however. the original only comes in sizes S, M, and L, with only a two-inch difference between each size. Not a very inclusive system! Fortunately, it's a pretty straightforward pattern to size up. It just took a little math.

The largest size on the pattern is a 38-inch bust. I decided to make a 44-inch bust, and with two inches in between each size, I guess that makes it a 3X. All I did was take the gauge that they provided (six stitches to the inch) and multiply it by how many additional inches I needed. Since I wanted an extra six inches for the bust, I needed to cast on an additional 36 stitches. The instructions for size L say to cast on 115, and 115 + 36 = 151. The instructions say to cast on a multiple of three plus one, and fortunately 151 stitches fits that.

So, for a 40-inch bust (XL/1X), you would cast on 127 stitches, and for a 42-inch bust (2X), you would cast on 139. To go larger than I did, cast on as follows:

46-inch bust = 163 stitches
48-inch bust = 175 stitches
50-inch bust = 187 stitches
52-inch bust = 199 stitches
54-inch bust = 211 stitches
56-inch bust = 223 stitches
58-inch bust = 235 stitches
60-inch bust = 247 stitches

Simply adding six stitches for each inch you want to increase should work out for the multiples of three plus one pattern, but it's easy math to check.

From there, you can follow the pattern the same. All you're doing is ribbing, then stockinette, then lattice. You'll have to do some more math at the neckline, though. I haven't gotten to that point yet, so I haven't done it. Maybe in another installment I'll figure out the neck for larger sizes as well. I'm just getting into the lattice section now. It's a really simple pattern, and I think it's going to turn out really cute!

I decided to do all one color instead of switching at the lattice section, but that's just a personal aesthetic choice. I looked through the project gallery on Ravelry (you may have to be a member to view that) to see what color schemes I liked, and I was the most drawn to the ones that were monochromatic. So that's what I did! But you do you. Go wild if you want.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I Am Not A Disease

I woke up this morning to learn I have a disease. Or, rather, that I AM a disease.

No, I did not receive a phone call from a doctor with some upsetting test results. I am exactly the same as I was yesterday, except the American Medical Association has decided to classify the body I have been living in for 29 years as diseased. Why? Simply because I am fat.

"Obesity" (which I put in quotes because, since it's calculated using the outdated BMI system, I consider it to be an abstract, arbitrary, and fake classification), they say, should be called a disease so we can have better "treatment options." In case you weren't aware, "treatment options" means "weight loss." Or "ew, fatty, stop being so fat."

Except, you know, the diet industry literally makes billions of dollars every year. The medical establishment already treats fat people horribly, many doctors are downright abusive and act like we are non-compliant, insolent children if we stick up for ourselves. They ignore the fact that practically no one keeps weight off (there's a 95 percent long-term failure rate), even after resorting to extremes like surgery.

Let's take this headline, from Forbes, into account:

That says it all to me. This is a way for drug companies to claim legitimacy as they waste time and resources to develop more diet pills that ultimately will have no more long term "success" (if you consider thinness a success) than anything already out there. They will divert scientists and efforts from researching things that actually plague us, like cancer, AIDS, and other diseases, or actual nutritional woes like world hunger.

On Twitter, there is a hashtag gaining some speed: #IAmNotADisease. It really shouldn't be necessary to start a social media campaign to point out that fat people are human beings, not walking illnesses, and that we deserve to be treated as such. But there are a few great tweets being sent:

The medical establishment needs to stop pathologizing body types and start promoting health at every size and basic human dignity. Let's focus on actual diseases instead of creating new ones where none exist.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A New Room

I've been in my new place for about a month and a half now, and I'm really happy. I'm getting along with my roommates, which is definitely a nice change from the other place I lived last year, plus my room is pretty big, there's the outdoor space I wrote about awhile ago, and two cats. It's a good location and a fair price. I can't complain!

I thought I'd show off a few shots of my room. A lot of stuff I moved here from my parents' place, like my rolling table, my bed, and my gray drawers. But I had to buy a chest of drawers, plus I have a desk and an apothecary chest that used to be my grandmother's. I was also able to find floating bookshelves, which are great. I have high ceilings, so I wanted to utilize the upward space. Plus, I've seen those on TV shows and thought they were really cool.

He is more deserving of my attention than The West Wing, apparently.
It's a really great room, and I'm happy here. I still need to get an air conditioner for my window, though. My big box fan is doing a pretty good job, but it won't cut it once summer really sets in!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Ideal Relaxation

The weather has been weird in New York lately. It took forever to feel like spring, but then it shot up to the 90s all of a sudden. I was afraid we'd blow right into summer without stopping for any of that nice, warm-but-not-too-hot middle range that springtime brings.

Today, though, it was lovely out. It was a nice balance of warm in the sun and cool in the shade, and with little to do, I decided to relax and have lunch on my patio. I cooked some Gardein teriyaki "chicken" strips with some snap peas and had them with a small glass of moscato. It was lovely.

It's not a bad view.

This is his happy face

Simply joy. That's what I'm looking for this summer.

Facebook's Sex Trafficking Problem: A Follow-Up

So, the Sonagachi Facebook page has finally been removed. This is a good thing, and I'm proud to be part of the group of people who worked to have it done.

But I'm also incredibly disappointed in Facebook. Why did it take this much work to remove a page that was blatantly graphic and in promotion of human trafficking? Why was this example of violence against women not immediately recognized as a violation of their terms of service?

In light of WAM's successful campaign to get Facebook to agree to give gender-based hate speech the same treatment as homophobic, anti-Semitic, racist, Islamophobic, etc, hate speech, it seems especially appalling that it took as much effort as it did to have this removed.

Here is a brief overview of the process of reporting this page:

June 4
-My friend Liz discovered the page while doing research into the Sonagachi district for a blog post she is writing.
-She shared the page with a Facebook group that we are both members of, asking anyone who could stomach looking at the page to please report it.
-Many of us reported it as sexually graphic content.
-After a short period of time, those of us who reported it began receiving the emails saying it would not be removed (I included the language in my post last night). Many of us filled out the feedback form with some strongly-worded disagreement.
-Some of us reported it a second time, only to receive the same email, and fill out the feedback again.
-Liz wrote about the process on her own blog. Another friend, Slay Belle, wrote about it for the Powder Room section of Jezebel.
-We share these posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, sometimes tweeting at well-known feminist activists and groups who might also promote the issue.
-Emails were sent to WAM

June 5
-The Jezebel post was promoted to the first page of the site.
-More people tweeted at Nick Kristof, Anderson Cooper, and other individuals they thought might be interested in the story.
-Women's Media Center shared Liz's blog post
-Liz's post was also published on Persephone Magazine
-The Daily Dot picked up the story
-Another member of the same original Facebook group created a petition (which has been refocused to be a more general plea for the site to take trafficking pages more seriously)
-The Sonagachi fan page was removed

I repeat my question: why did it take almost a full day, dozens of reports, a social media barrage, and blog attention to get this page removed? Why was it not enough that it was full of graphic imagery and victimization of women, many of whom appear underage?

Why, despite their recent promises, does Facebook still not care about women?

Nail Polish Frivolity

I did a fun little manicure last night, with accent nails and even making little dots with a special tool.

Those are both colors from my Julep Maven shipments. The yellow is Daisy and the purple is Eden. I'm a really big fan of the Julep polishes. They go on nicely and last quite well. I've also got their polymer top coat and it gives my nails a nice protective barrier. I've been a Maven for almost a year and I don't have any complaints.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Facebook: Breastfeeding Bad, Sex Trafficking Good

Earlier today, a friend made me aware of a Facebook page for Songachi, which is the red light district in Kolkata, India. She just returned from a trip there and was working on a post for her own blog when she came across the page -- which, by the way, has about 3,000 likes. She explained that many of the women who are sex workers in the district are minors, and most are there against their will. Essentially, this page and those who like it are supporting sex trafficking.

In addition to the trafficking element, the page contains many explicit photos, including women masturbating and performing oral sex. There is really nothing about the page that doesn't violate Facebook's TOS.

So I and many of my friends reported it. I believe most of us chose to call it sexually explicit. I would think that, in light of Facebook's recent announcement that it would take pages encouraging violence against women seriously, it would be a no-brainer and the page would be removed.

So imagine my rage when I got the following reply.


Thanks for your recent report of a potential violation on Facebook. After reviewing your report, we were not able to confirm that the specific page you reported violates Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.

Learn more about what we do and don't allow by reviewing the Facebook Community Standards:


Give us feedback to let us know how we are doing:
I don't know who Viki is, but she's not very good at her job. In fact, I've reported it twice and gotten the same reply. Maybe Viki is actually a robot.

Let's get this straight: Facebook takes down images of women breastfeeding, images of cancer survivors showing off their scars and tattoos, and body-positive images because there is a nipple distant in the background. However, Facebook leaves up pages that talk about raping women, calling them sluts, and this one, which promotes the sexual exploitation of minors AND blatantly displays graphic sexual images.

This is unacceptable and disgusting. Facebook's recent promise to take threats of violence against women seriously (which they should have been doing all along) indicates that this page has no business being on the site. Leaving it up, especially when positive non-explicit images are removed, just shows that in Facebook's eyes, women are unimportant. They are openly supporting hate, violence, and exploitation, and we need to stand against it.

When It Rains, It Pours, and Other Cliches About Happiness

I have been pretty busy for the last month or so. I started a new job, a summer class, and I moved to a new place. Whew!

I've decided to withdraw from the class for multiple reasons, financial and otherwise, but aside from that (and I have another post planned on the subject) everything is pretty great for me right now.

Two of my chief sources of unhappiness in recent years have been my inability to find enjoyable employment and the fact that I was still staying with my parents. Both of those things seemed like insurmountable problems, and I often felt I was collapsing under the weight of them.

The tide started to turn in early April, when I replied to a listserv email (I posted about this already) about a room. I finally moved in during the first weekend in May, and have settled nicely. I like my roommates (human and feline alike), it's a great location, and the space is a good one.

In addition to preparing to move, I was also hunting for a different job. While my previous position at the school library was perfectly alright, the distance and commute were making me unhappy. Then, again, fate happened. My mother forwarded a post to me from the Purl Bee, saying that the knitting and fabric shop Purl Soho was hiring. What you had to do to apply was go to the store before opening one Saturday, with a resume and some crafty samples, and talk to the managers. So I did. And they invited me back for a second interview the following week, which was a bit more of a practical test where I had to recommend yarns for a pattern and organize fabrics by color. Well, I must have done all of that right because they hired me!

So now on top of having my own space in a cute apartment in a great neighborhood, I have a part-time job at a really nice store, working with pretty great people and talking about something I love to do. Sure, I come home with aching feet, but I also come home smiling.

I haven't felt good about my life in a long time. It's a feeling I don't always know how to handle, but I like it. Sometimes, I catch myself smiling for no reason, which is something that never used to happen. It's a nice new development.