dear elizabeth,

while generally i operate in the realm of the visible, i admit to being a bit superstitious. i was raised catholic after all. and while i recognize that you were a mere mortal when you walked this earth, your impact on the knitting world was so great that many believe your influence still holds sway from beyond the grave.

when i was little, i would pray to the appropriate saint for help with those problems that were to small to bug god directly. he or she could be counted on to answer my prayer and help me out or, if need be, file the appropriate paperwork with the big man himself. (i cannot tell you how many times st. anthony saved my ass. i’m always losing shit) but as far as i know, there’s no patron saint of knitting, and even if there were, those cats and i aren’t exactly on speaking terms these days.

so i’m coming to you for help. i’ve been utterly uninspired lately, basically since i left the hospital. i feel like a beginner again, constantly making little mistakes and not having the fortitude to cope with them. it’s left me pretty bummed and has meant i’ve had a bunch of false starts.

recently, though, i found a project that actually made me pretty happy. once again i found myself working row after row late into the night with that obsessive determination that makes my whole upper body ache and leaves that special red line on my index finger. isn’t it lovely?
finally, i had a project that reignited my passion for knitting and gave me hope that i hadn’t lost whatever talent i may have had.

or so i thought.

apparently, the joy of feeling like a knitter again eradicated my ability to access basic knowledge of how knitting works. triangular shawls are kinda my thing. i’ve knit quite a few of them. they could be the only knitted objects besides a hat where i totally understand its construction. yes, this shawl is bottom up, and i’m more into center-out, but the same principles apply. yet there i sat, knitting thousands of stitches, only ever stopping to think,

“how odd it is that there are no center decreases.” or
“i wonder when the center decreases will start. maybe in chart two.” or
“hmm, that picture looks kinda different from my shawl. must be the yarn.”

nope. not the yarn. i just completely read the chart wrong and must now rip out about a week’s worth of knitting.

of course, i could point out the flaws in the chart and its instructions that led to this error, but really i have enough experience to know better. i should have caught this one.

the enormity of this particular gaff left me paralyzed these past few days. i didn’t know how to blog about it. i couldn’t face it. i’m not sad or anything, really. it’s almost hilarious how bad i seem to be at this.

but i wanna be good again.

now, i must admit that i haven’t read any of your books, nor have i knitted any of your patterns. i live a somewhat unwholesome lifestyle filled with lustful thoughts and the f-word falling from lips about as often as “the”. you’ve no reason to help me. i doubt we have anything in common. i’m an english knitter for christ’s sake!

but here’s the thing. i’ve got nowhere else to turn. i literally think my only option is to address the spirit of a dead woman who, if she ever met me, would probably frown. please, liz. just tell me what i should cast on. tell me what i need to do get back on track. i’ll burn incense, chant, dance naked under the full moon, whatever. tell me who to blow and i’m there!

because i don’t want to lose knitting. i love it.
and crochet just ain’t gonna cut it for me.

sincerely yours,

steven

p.s. i’d appreciate it if you’d keep this particular failure between you and me. wouldn’t want it getting out that i’m not the perfect knitter i pretend to be.

a mari usque ad mare

June 17, 2011

this is a land far to the north
alive on the lips of children’s playgrounds where
the beer flows like rivers, folks chase black rubber on ice,
and all the men are sexy, hairy, lumberjack-looking dudes.

supposedly,
if they speak,
we can understand them.
but it’s a queer sounding english,
just different enough to make you tilt your head like a confused puppy.

the name of this land is spoken in hushed whispers,
a fairy tale place, an alternate universe,
an unsolved x-file.
canada.

somehow,
and i’m not sure how,
my clockwork crossed the border.
perhaps it was folded amongst other clothes,
or wrapped around native shoulders and walked across.
maybe someone sunk it down into epic shampoo bottle
or was smuggled over in that certain hidey hole.

like i said,
i don’t know the deets.
i probably don’t wanna know.

what i do know
is that somehow,
it made it across the border safely,
and landed in the hands of erica.
look how green canada is!
it must truly be a magical place,
a mari usque ad mare.

(i hear their chinese food is pretty good, too)

with my hospital bills all paid (i hope),
and electronic ink still drying on my lansing lease,
i should be squeezing my pennies like a scotsman.

so the first thing i do,
when assessing my funds?
i decide to make a purchase.

it was eight and four months ago,
when i learned to treadle steady,
and witnessed the power of twist.

i was hooked.
it was magic
worked by my fingers.
there was no going back.

it changed me.

a year is a long time to want something
wanting a thing for that long means
i make it my business to have it.

you can’t always get what you want, they say,
no matter how deep the desire.
true.

but this?
this wheel?
this i can make mine.

and i will have it.

layaway bitches!

**this post is dedicated to the über cool beth smith of the spinning loft. you should give her money for things. i did.

signs

June 14, 2011

so i’m apartment hunting in lansing today,
and what should i spot while withdrawing some parking money?

alice starmore’s “aran knitting”.

personally i take it as a good sign.

dear readers,

June 13, 2011

every day, i think to myself, “self” i think,
“i hope the people who read this blog are patient
because you’ve been a total slacker lately. seriously.”
of course, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably not.
more likely, i’ve been deleted from your bookmarks,
you’ve unsubscribed from the rss feed,
and forgotten all about me.

you’re probably not even reading this right now.

but for those who are,
all i can say is stay tuned,
for adventures and fun are on the way.
i promise.
(i hope)

until then, i kinda have a bunch of boring stuff to get through.
and it’s been a long time since i was like,
that is blog worthy.”

i did find an hour or so last week to spin a little,
and work my way through some of a lovely batt i have.
i’ve spun about half the batt,
and i can’t decide if i’ll ply this sucker,
or have one big skein of a lace weight single.
(any advice from the spinners?)

while my life’s not very interesting at all right now,
at least it’s not totally lacking in fiber.
my surgeon would be happy to hear that.

stay with me bitches.
just a little longer.

some sheepy goodness

June 9, 2011

i try to keep entries that don’t involve knitting to minimum
since it’s kind of the point of my blog.
but because brooke insists,

“the holiday weekend is over.. we want the scoop on the “mild debauchery” – dish dude, dish.. we want the nitty gritty of your weekend.. don’t hold back..”

i’ll tell you about my weekend at camp valley view.

just to keep things legal,
here’s some knitting.
i’m testing knitting this little ditty for my friend andrea.
when it grows up, it will be a kimono-style sweater.
when it has a name, and is available to the world,
i’ll give you more details.

but back to my weekend.
i’m afraid brooke is going to be disappointed.
when you’re traveling with four old married ladies
there’s only so much debauchery that can happen.
let’s not forget i did say mild.

i mean, there was everything you’d expect of five dudes at a rustic cabin in rural pennsylvania:

walking in the nature,

artistic expression of the inner self,

cigar/ettes and beer and campfires,

the grilling of meats,

skipping stones,

lounging about,

a best friend,

buying of junk,

and excessive blurry photography.

there was also stuff the camera didn’t capture like nude sunbathing (i was not present for that), nighttime nebbing in trailer parks, tons of wildlife (beavers, deer, an opossum, a toads, a baby rabbit, rednecks, loons, and many many porcupines), and peeing anywhere that wasn’t inside.

if that’s not enough, i did make a bottle of whiskey disappear.
that’s pretty debaucherous.

really, though, trips like this
are about getting away from our lives,
no matter how good or bad we think they are,
and just being a less complicated version of yourself.

at least that’s how it was for me.
i got some quality thinking time in,
and left some of my highly traumatic couple months back behind with the flies.

hope your memorial day weekend was a good as mine,
but somehow,
i doubt it.

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