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September 27, 2010

so i gave a lot of thought of what this post should look like,
the post-funeral post.

i considered talking about all the things i hate about funerals,
the bullshit, the rituals that seem completely unnecessary,
the ones i thought were dumb,
that turned out to mean a lot to me in the moment.

but i feel posts like that should be the exception here;
it’s not the tone i want to perpetuate.

i thought about talking about all my travel drama
since there were some wacky tales to be told
of wrong plane dates,
lost passports,
and fun times with homeland security.

but honestly,
i’m pretty tired still.
i just don’t have the energy to relive any of it.

i am always thinking of you, reader,
and feel an obligation to do something to get the blog back on track.
i thought, i should do something outrageous and over the top,
something that is so bitches get stitches.

but then, i just couldn’t think of anything.

so instead, i’ll just show you this new bag my friend annette got me.

isn’t it great?

big luck

September 21, 2010

my life seems to happen in bursts,
as if i’m riding the back of the fabled hare.
waves of luck come at me and
all of a sudden
bam!

tsunami.

this week, i was given (what i consider to be)
a great honor; i was asked to test knit for stephen west.

i admit i squeed.

then i used my lovely monday off to knock out the first project.
(which i can’t really show you but it is very cute).

late into the night,
after binding off,
my mom calls veronica.

this is obviously very odd
what with her being my mom and not veronica’s.
during my happy day off,
one where i didn’t care where my phone was,
my grandma had a heart attack.

she was doing better but at eighty-eight,
you don’t bounce back easily.

the doctors were completely surprised by how well she pulled through,
and the next 24 hours would determine whether she lived or died.

my mom assured me that there was nothing i could do,
that i should just stay home,
go to work,
and she’d call if i was needed.

i popped a little more xanax than i should,
so when my pillow hit my head,
my eyes might close.

(i did somehow manage to do a single crochet edge to finish “stephen west test knit #1″ while out of my mind on xanax. but weaving in my end took me a solid 30 mins).

taking more than the recommended dosage of xanax meant that i was out of it this morning, and didn’t hear my phone frantically ringing. it was my lovely coworkers wondering why in the hell i wasn’t at work nearly and hour after we opened. (i do also blame google calendar for not updating my ical correctly. it says i was to come in at 3 but i digress).

they then sent my good friend/loyal customer/neighbor lisa b over to make sure i wasn’t dead. (HUMILIATING from a work ethic standpoint)

i wasn’t.

i was in the shower.

dripping wet in my comfy robe,
veronica tells me about all these shenanigans.

i find my pants,
then my keys,
and operate heavy machinery while shaking of a prescription drug haze.

my coworkers forgave me.
i went about my business.

then!

the yarn harlot and tina announced another silk retreat.
“what the fuck?!” i said!
“it’s only money. i’m signing up again!”

so i sent my little email,
praying that somehow,
i’d get in.

i go home,
do my thing,
knit on stephen west test knit #2
and the phone rings.

basically,
my grandma is on her way out.
she’s having a lucid moment and my mom thought i should take the opportunity to say goodbye.

though she can barely catch her breath to speak,
my grandma knew who i was,
understood what i was saying,
and said she loves me too.

i hung up,
and did what any other sane person would do:
i stuffed my face till i felt better.

i don’t.
she could go at any moment,
today,
tomorrow,
a week.

all i know is this is the end,
and i need to be ready.

now as i’m checking flights,
combining my savings and tiny bit of rhinebeck money to cover the cost of a ticket home, my computer makes that friendly little “bong” noise, letting me know i have mail.

i fucking got into the silk retreat again,
but now i can’t afford it.

i’ve sent my regrets to the yarn harlot herself,
feeling like an ass for wasting her time.

now i’m blogging.
because jesus fuck i need to remember this day.
it’s yet another life lesson from bitches get stitches:

pray for an uneventful life.
’cause god knows i’d give anything for one right now.

edit: my grandma past away right after i posted this.
she was surrounded by family
and went peacefully.

MKED
1922-2010
i miss you grandma.

project ten: take three

September 17, 2010

today we’re talking with another canadian jane,
jane richmond!

this interview holds a special place in my heart
since hers was my first ever ravelry download.
you just don’t forget something like that!

not only that,
she was the first person to fave/message me re: a project.
as a new knitter, having a designer comment was a big deal.
she made me feel really special
(even if she initially thought i was veronica)

so welcome to bitches get stitches, jane!

So happy to be here!

are you ready for your questions?
Absolutely.

all right!
here we go.

ten questions for jane Richmond

1) we’ll start where i always start, with the most important knitterly question: english or continental?

-Are knitters really that divided on this? I knit English and can’t seem to get my fingers to learn Continental but someday I would like to be able to say I know how to do both.

good question jane. what do you think people? are knitters divided on this? i think so! leave a comment with your opinion.

2) when i was first learning to knit, i hated that all beginner projects seemed to be both ugly and time consuming (i.e. garter stitch and scarves). when my ravelry membership finally kicked in (because, in those days, you had to wait to get on ravelry; these kids today don’t know how good they have it), i found your marian cowl. not only was it beautiful and fast, i remember thinking, “i can do this!” and that’s what i love about your designs, their simple beauty. of course, that’s just my take on your aesthetic. what would you say drives your design? what inspires, not only the designs themselves, but the need to design so to speak?

-Well firstly I like to design because I’ve always liked creating original work that I can call my own. Secondly you can’t always find what you’re looking for when it comes to patterns (although I have to say that Ravelry has really brought some amazing talent to the public eye as far as knitwear designers go and that really makes me happy considering I took up knitting when knitting was done for babies and fashion had nothing to do with it).

I like to keep the esthetic simple because I don’t believe knitting has to be complicated in order to be beautiful. What makes a garment really stand out is the stitches, the yarn selection, the small details, the subtlety… you don’t have to throw every knitting technique you’ve ever learned into a design, sometimes less is more.

3) good photography has become vital to promoting one’s brand in the knitting world. i personally love your eye; i think your photos have a very specific look. what are you thinking about when you’re looking through the camera lens?

-Hmm, that’s such a good question, I don’t think I’m thinking anything really… I’m an amateur photographer, I don’t claim to be good at it but it’s certainly something I enjoy doing. My favorite part is the outcome; I really feel passionate about lovely photographs, they make me feel good. I guess I just know what I like, I know what appeals to me and so that is what guides me when capturing and selecting the images.

4) along those lines, it’s often necessary to step in front of the lens to promote one’s designs. the photos of you in your marian (which i believe you have since changed) was one of the big reasons i stopped to look at the pattern and then follow your work. i personally hate being my own model because it’s so flippin’ hard to take photos that flatter both the object and me. and yet somehow you make it look effortless. can you talk a little bit about your experience being your own model?

-I laughed when I read the word effortless. Thank you Steven, I’m glad that’s how I come across because as you know it’s actually a lot of work to take pictures of yourself. Let me start off by saying I hate having my photograph taken and I am a terrible model (meaning I don’t know how to pose, lol, if you’ve ever watched America’s Next Top Model and seen photos of the girls who don’t know how to “use the light” or “work the camera” and they end up with these really awkward pictures…that’s me). So what I do is set up my tripod in front of a mirror so that I can see what I’m doing, lol, otherwise I end up looking like a total goof, seriously!

I also like simplicity when I’m shooting, a plain grey wall as a backdrop. My sister is always bugging me about how boring it is but I love it, it appeals to me.

5) and, as miss tyra says, you must always smile with your eyes, lol. in our initial correspondence, you wrote that you used to be an auto mechanic. that’s a pretty badass profession. i’ll admit i would never have guessed that of you. was it difficult to be a woman working in a profession that one would imagine is almost completely male dominated?

-No, I worked with some amazing guys that really showed a great deal of respect for me. I was prepared to put up with a lot but really I think that I had the right attitude to be in that environment. If you don’t take shit people don’t dish it. I also had to prove that I could do the work and I did, after that it was never an issue.

6) got that fellas? this bitch don’t take not shit! so i read on your blog that you recently moved to victoria. how has living is a city affected your knitting life?

I’m happy to be back in Victoria for my knitting’s sake, I love to watch the trends walking down the crowded city streets, it really fuels my need to create. I also love that I have options when it comes to LYS’s. I have a triangle that I hit up when I need to enhance my stash, Knotty By Nature, then Beehive, and ending at The Button & Needlework Boutique.

7) moving around seems to be a theme in your life. in fact, my new hometown used to be your old hometown. can you tell us who-what-where-when-and-why of how you came to live in the u.s. and then leave us to return to your native land?

-You have no idea what you’re in for with this question, lol, I’ll try to keep it short… I was born on Vancouver Island where I was adopted and brought to the Mainland to grow up in Vancouver, only to move to Melbourne, Australia at age 10. After 9 months we left the land down under to live in Seoul, Korea for two years. After our term was done there we moved to good ol’ Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We were there 9 years and once my sister and I were out of the house we decided to leave our dumpy apartment in Coraopolis and move back to Canada. Victoria was a good fit as Vancouver had totally outgrown us in the 13 years we’d been away.

…when people learn my story they ask if my Dad is in the military, he’s not, he worked for an international Australian company and we became expats living all over the world.

After Christopher and I met and decided to settle down together we moved back to his home town of Chilliwack (on the Mainland), that’s where Elsie was born. We stayed 2 years but ultimately decided we were Islanders at heart. When we came back the Island we didn’t land in Victoria, we wanted to give up Island a try (the pace is slower, things are more spread out, it’s lovely up there), but my family was down in Victoria and the distance was becoming a nuisance… so now we’re here, and I feel like I’ve come full circle.

and as a little follow up to that question, are you still a steelers fan?

-I don’t really follow sports, it’s just not my thing. I did enjoy all of the excitement that surrounded the football season, everybody is in to football in the states, it’s like our hockey.

…you do know it’s pronounced “Stiller”?

yes, yes i do.

8 i’m reminded of a question i asked another canadian jane about border crossings. when i asked spillyjane this question, she gave a very diplomatic answer. i’ll be interested to here your take. while similar on paper, i would argue that americans and canadians have very different cultures (though of course the lines get blurred in the upper peninsula. i think they’re canadians in disguise). so, other than the metric system, what differences if any do you see between american and canadian knitters?

-When I was living in the ‘burgh I didn’t know any knitters, it was pre-Ravelry so Knit Nights and such didn’t really exist for me back then.

From an online perspective I don’t really notice differences so much as similarities. I’ll admire somebody’s knitting on Ravelry, and notice how similar our tastes are and then realize they are in Finland. It’s so cool. Knitting really unites us and I am so thankful to Raverly for opening the door to the knitting world so that we can all get to know each other.

9) good answer, jane. now, question nine is an important one, one that the readers i’m sure are dying to know. it’s no secret that your husband, your mister chistopher as you put it to me, is pretty smoking’. he’s what we would call a “very good knitter.” so what i, and i’m sure everyone else, would like to know is this: does he have a brother?

-lol, he does, and they are all spoken for.
(I am grinning from ear to ear)

10) i start with the same question and i end with the same question: if you could interview one person for project 10, who would it be and what would you ask them?

-Hmmm, I really admire Ysolda Teague for really carving the way for self published designers. I don’t know what I would ask her, It’s sort of nerdy but I love hearing about the design process and how other designers get there, the more in depth the better.

i’ll see what i can do.
i doubt she’ll take my call after my peaks island hood ranting,
but i’ll give it a shot.

thanks so much for being her jane.
if i’m ever on the west coast,
i’ll have to pop up and see you.

I hope you do.

* jane (29) lives on vancouver island in gorgeous british colombia, canada with her equally gorgeous husband, chirstopher, and baby girl, elsie jane. you can find her blog, ravelry, and etsy. seriously people, go buy her patterns!

editor’s note – after rereading this post,
i noticed that jane uses american spelling!
*sigh* it warms my heart.

a northern summer night

September 16, 2010

today was bad.
i woke up very very late
to the sound of roofers and their nail guns.
later on, i had rage. much rage.
thanks to the power of email.
i muddled through somehow,
came home to my very clean house
and veronica let me know that mo peed in her room.

perfect.

so rather than dwell on the bad day,
let’s talk about a good one.

picture it,
monday:

six and two people were coming over
to block my northern summer shawl.
while i am technically able to do it myself,
i’d never blocked a triangular shawl that curves.
any shawl that is worked top down with six increases
(rather than four) every two rows will curve thusly.

so i thought,
why not make a night of it?

but if you’re going to convince people to get on their knees
you need to pay them somehow.
for pinning wet wool,
a feast is best.

menu:
-soul twin salad.
-panko breaded chicken cutlets,
fried in bacon grease,
served with mushroom gravy
-the famous mac & cheese.
-peanut tofu and broccoli,
served with white rice
-roasted asparagus
-chocolate tart with almond whip cream
(provided by the lovely veronica).

the characters:

nancy

yvonne

david

lee

(anna was in charge of the camera
so there’s no picture of her)

and then there was me,
whose sole contribution to the pinning process

was hovering occasionally over my friends
then dashing back to check on the chicken.

they pinned,



we feasted.

and watched steel magnolias with dessert.

it was lovely.

i didn’t even mind the mess.

it was so
worth it.

so remember bitches
don’t block,
cook!

*note – i had no one else to model for me
and while noon is the worst time to do a photo shoot
i love how this photo came out.

an open letter to tina newton

September 15, 2010

dear tina,

today i got my shipping notification,
and my yarn will be here soon.

i think i have a crush on you.
(which is more than a little confusing).

sincerely yours,

steven

p.s. (to the readers) my friend jen is demanding photos of my blocked northern summer shawl. keep your eyes peeled later ok?

dear adrienne,

i feel that, even though you don’t know me,
i owe some apologies.

i’m sorry it’s taken me three weeks to blog about you.
i have problems with priorities and procrastination.

i’m sorry it’s taken me so long to read your book.
i bought it forever ago, but am just now getting to it.
i find it to be enchanting.
you’ve kinda inspired me.
thanks.

i’m sorry i wasn’t friendlier at your reading/signing at the shop.
i had a random bout of shyness, and decided to focus on taking photos.
i see now that i missed an opportunity to befriend someone cool.

which makes my final apology that much more necessary;
when it came time to take a group shot with the staff,
i’m sorry i said the picture looks “great!”

clearly, i was only looking at myself,
and was oblivious to the fact that you blinked.

sorry.

sincerely yours,

steven

*sigh*

September 10, 2010

i love fall.
i love the chilly air,
the sweaters,
the jeans,
snuggling under down comforters, my dog as the only source of heat.

i love that i get to leave lace behind,
pick some seriously wooly wool,
and let cables hurt my hands.

and while this weather may be a bit unseasonable,
let’s pretend it’s going to last shall we?

and no that’s not my rhinebeck sweater;
i haven’t cast that on yet.

why?

so my procrastination-induced stress can amuse you all later,
obviously.

a hat

September 8, 2010

i don’t get the appeal of knitting for babies.
besides that fact that it’s cheaper and faster.

i have done it since,
being a knitter,
it’s just one of those things we do.

but i don’t desire it.
i don’t fawn over baby patterns,
cooing at the über cuteness.

most of the time i think people make babies look silly
and i just feel embarrassed for both baby and parent.

but then there’s this:

once again the knitting gods have made me their bitch
because i knit that. i knit a silly hat and kinda forgot that i did.

now the little shit finally fits into it . . .

. . .and it’s fucking adorable.

*sigh*

anyone know a good baby sweater pattern?

this entry is dedicated to my good friend in yarn, anna.
i couldn’t have done it without you babe.

today is labor day.
today i rest.
i will not knit.
i need not knit,
not today.
for yesterday,
i tasted victory.

the summer has been a battle.
a knitting battle of wit and stamina.
the battle known as socks and lace.

toward the end it became clear
that my only competition was anna;
my friend,
my coworker,
my sworn enemy.

the competition was fierce.
some might even say we lost our minds.
to them i say, you didn’t want it bad enough.

we did.

the speed with which anna finished projects was staggering, even scary.
she churned out socks and shawls like the yarn harlot on crack.
never before had i met an opponent as worthy as she,
one who forced me to be a better competitor,
someone who craved victory as much as i.

but i had something that she did not,
something that intensified my already sick need for glory.

it was a certain sweater,
a supreme public mocking,
and the thousands of calls to “man up and knit real lace.”
i admit that i asked for it. i invited scrutiny,
and was taught the lesson of post midnight emails.

the people of the knitting world spoke,
and commanded me to follow the rules,
to stay inside the box.

so i did.

i made the rules my own.
i owned those rules.
i followed the letter of the law, and in doing so,
eviscerated its spirit.

so today i rest,
allow my fingers to recover,
and i wear my stole of victory*.
for in knitting it,
i secured my win.

(i recognize that i may have a problem. i’m at peace with it.)

*the “stole of victory” was my ace in the hole. i held cascade 220 quadrupled knit on size 15’s (10mm) lengthwise. i bought the yarn at natural stitches so it then counted double, and threw in a lace chevron that i messed up somehow. but it doesn’t have to be good lace to count.

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