June 29, 2012
one of the most challenging things about maintaining a blog is managing content flow. one requires enough content to write about and it must be portioned out in regular intervals so as to avoid large gaps or backlog. going away to a big fibery event poses an interesting problem because, while providing excellent content for the blog, it’s really too much for one post. and posting every day at a retreat is, well, unrealistic.
this is the difficulty i face whenever i go to a knitting thing.
instead of giving you a blow by blow,
which, frankly, seems exhausting and rather boring,
instead, i’m going to take a different approach.
we’ll see if it works.
bear with me.
it’s a long one.
a very nice lady who reads my blog asked me at the retreat why i started blogging and i was hard pressed to answer her. i kinda copped out and told her i’d have to go back to the first post to remember why i started this whole thing. but the question stayed in the back of my mind for the rest of the weekend. why did i start the blog? and, more importantly, why do i continue? it’s not my job or anything. in fact, it’s probably cost me money. and yet i continue. why?
the answer came to me during the last night of the retreat at show and tell. at this point in my life, i’m pretty good at getting up in front of people and talking, but for some reason i was particularly nervous. as i was introducing my first item to share, a little unintentional clause slipped from my lips:
“since i moved, i don’t have any fiber people in my life”
and it made me realize that i’ve become a bit isolated when it comes to knitting. when i learned to knit in chicago, i quickly started a knitting group in my neighborhood (which continues till this day, i’m happy to report). we were mostly new to the craft, but in that little group, our identities as knitters were solidified. when i moved from chicago to pittsburgh, i was soon hired at natural stitches and for the next two years, i was immersed in a thriving fiber community. knitting has always been an extremely social activity for me, and the blog has been an extension of that. reading stephanie’s blog as i was getting started was an important part of why i got hooked on knitting. she’s someone i really admire, and i’m sure it was one of the reasons i started blogging. she’s my elizabeth zimmerman, if you will.
but like i told that room full of knitters, i don’t have fiber people in my life here. for the first time in my life, knitting has been a solitary activity for me and i think it’s taken a bit of a toll. it isn’t as if there aren’t people who knit here; i just haven’t had the time to find my niche. right now, the blog is my only connection to the fiber world. i write because people read and make me feel like i’m still part of the knitterverse.
which is why i went on this retreat. god knows i couldn’t afford it (a tax return well and thoroughly spent) but i think i was kinda lonely for knitters. i needed to be in a space where i could talk seriously about things like yarn choice, and needle size, and whether or not knitting a reinforced heal and grafting the toe on a mini sock for a yarn bomb was taking it too seriously. i needed to be with people who didn’t make me feel stupid for getting misty when the skein of laceweight i dyed so carefully to achieve a greyscale color gradient was ruined by a few drops of neon pink dye that leaked from someone else’s dye package. more than anything, i needed to sit and knit for hours with people.
i don’t know if this next year will be another year of knitting alone,
but even if it is, i’ll still have the blog.
so thanks for reading, bitches.
as for the retreat, itself,
you’ll have to settle for the highlight reel this time.
a big thank you to tamara who let me steal some of her photos.
any photo of me you see where i actually look good, she took.
(except the one over there)
knitter shuttle with jen, janice, rebecca, and michelle’s shoulder
our captain, sam (she designed her sweater)
pippin of finnriver farm/cidery
sam and i made the risotto! we were very proud
i look crazy in this photo so you know tamara didn’t take it.
freshy. who is both one of the nicest and most beautiful women i have ever met. also, very short.
no idea what i’m looking at so intently
socks that fit
i have no words
this is sarah. she unvented magic loop. she’s a better knitter than you.
my favorite yarn bomb
a big thanks to stephanie and tina for making it happen.
i really needed it.
you want to know what’s up with this post’s title?
on our first night, stephanie and tina warned us that if we heard an ungodly noise outside in the middle of the night that we should not go investigating. one night, they went to find out what the source of the horrific noise was and what they discovered was . . . disquieting. it was otter sex, which they explained is not something the lady otter is into at all. rather, it is an activity in which she is forced to participate. often times, she doesn’t survive. even if she doesn’t, the male otter . . . leaves satisfied.
June 22, 2012
it’s become a cliché, i know.
but it’s really one of the best places to get writing done.
i feel super slick this trip,
since i managed to pack only one carryon bag.
gone are the days of a dedicated shoe suitcase.
(anyone else miss the falsely inflated economy?)
this is also the first time i’ve got my boarding pass on my phone.
the airline just texts you a qr code, and bob’s your uncle!
i feel like a jet setting businessman.
except in basketball shorts.
and flip flops.
though i guess i lose coolness points for being so desperate for wifi that i accidentally signed up for a monthly subscription to boingo wireless. i mean, i do travel a bit more than the average knitter, but i don’t need access to airport internet every month. anyone know how i can cancel that shit?
in knitting news,
the second sock is well underway.
i have more than five hours to finish (they’re a gift)
and i’m feeling pretty confident about my chances for success.
i’ll be casting on this.
i suggested a weekend knit along for the retreat
and this is what i suggested.
i love it.
here’s hoping for a f.o. this weekend!
i realize this post was basically a glorified status update. i can never sleep before a trip so let’s blame my lack of wit on exhaustion. no? you demand entertainment? hmm. alright. here’s a random arabic song my friends and i used to rock out to. enjoy the utter randomness!
June 21, 2012
in case any of you worried about my week-long silence,
i was fulfilling the familial duty required of all sons:
i helped clean out the garage.
now while for most people,
that would be a job for one person
and could be completed in half a day,
our garage is larger than most apartments.
it’s really more of a huge barn where the cars live
(it has a second floor)
my mother and i spent a few days
and tossing aside with reckless abandon a couple decades worth of all things found in a country garage. a dumpster that could house an elephant was our ally.
a weekend of generally manliness,
where my y chromosome shone with pride,
left little time to blog about my life of fiber.
first, a f.o.
yarn – socks that rock medium weight
colorway – rare gem dyed by yours truly
this cowl has been done for ages but honestly, i’ve felt a little ambivalent about sharing it. this is my first go at a design (sort of). i learned a whole lot while i knit it, but it didn’t come out as i envisioned it. some things exceeded my expectations, others,
i couldn’t get to do what i wanted.
with a few tweaks,
i can imagine it being something i could be proud of.
time will tell.
next, another f.o.
yarn – luscious silk
colorway – copperline
now this, i’m proud of!
it’s a simply-woven scarf, true,
but there’s something beautiful about perfecting simplicity.
think about how long it took you to master your knitting gauge
and how lovely a flawlessly executed stockinette sweater is!
that’s what this scarf is about to me. (check out that sexy fringe)
i was really worried about the evenness of this scarf.
i’ve never woven with silk before
and it was difficult to manage;
it lacks wool’s forgiving nature.
it was especially difficult to maintain the selvages.
but for once in my fibery existence,
that shit blocked right out!
just in time to give it to its intended recipient.
i’m headed to the knot hysteria gourmet retreat (jealous?)
whenever i go to a fiber event,
i check my stock of business cards.
i use them to promote the blog (bien sur)
and make it easy for people to friend me on ravelry.
since i was running low,
i placed an order.
i may have over done it.
i don’t remember ordering this many.
i bet it was after midnight.
(the box is full too)
as you can see,
the loom is re-warped.
(the color in that photo is so off as to be laughable)
this is supposed to be a gift for this weekend.
i haven’t started weaving or anything,
but i can finish,
so i’m a little out of touch with reality. big whoop.
i mean, it’s not like i think i can finish this sweater.
but i am going to try to pull it off for rhinebeck.
let’s check the facts:
yarn weight – sport
needle size – u.s. 2 & 4
size – fuck that shit!
like i’m telling you my size.
let’s just say,
it’ll be dude-sized.
this will be an extreme test of my knitterly endurance.
but hey, it’s rhinebeck.
and it’s not like i’m the only delusional knitting blogger around.
June 20, 2012
June 12, 2012
my instructions say to begin the toe decreases 2.25″ shy of the total sock length. when i measured my sock i had about 6.25″ of sock. when i just about finished my toe decreases,
i’d knitting about 2 more inches,
bring my sock length to
now, i’m no math major
but i’m pretty sure 6.25″ + 2.0″ ≠ 7.5″.
therefore, i have come to the only reasonable conclusion;
i am apparently incapable of correctly measuring the length of a sock.
even though these socks are for someone with small lady feet,
i’m pretty sure they don’t have some kind of baby foot;
an inch of negative ease is a bit much
when we’re talking foot length.
7.5″ ain’t gonna cut it.
(that’s what she said!)
last night’s knitting may have been for naught,
but i’ll finish this bitch by tonight.
in life news,
i took my french midterm today,
and it was wicked hard mes amis.
i had to translate a bunch of things
including a passage about mythical creatures in ireland.
to add to that weirdness,
i had the following encounter:
[setting: msu international center courtyard. steven is leaving the atm heading back to the lot where his car is parked]
“hello. how’re you today” says a man in a thick middle eastern accent. unsure that he was addressing me, i turned to see a slight man smiling. apparently, i was being addressed. this is perhaps odd, but not totally outside realm of possibility. we have a large international student population and most of them stay for the summer since it is very expensive to return home. i figured he was just practicing his english or found it amusing to disconcert a stranger by addressing him. soon, however, i realized he was matching my pace.
“i can make friends?” he says.
“excuse me?” i say, confused by the question.
“i can make friends” he repeats more confidently, extending his hand.
while this continued contact enhanced the oddness of this encounter, i was raised to be polite to people. i suppressed initial thought of who is this creepster?! and took his hand, shook it as best one can a limp clammy fish of a hand, and said “sure”. after all, why can’t we all be friends, right?
“what is your name?” he asks.
again, i tell myself he must have just left his esl summer class and is trying to practice his english.
“steven” i say, smiling paternally.
apparently, this is an unusual name to arabic ears since he had a hard time getting his mind and mouth around the phonetics of it. he would ask me that question at least four more times.
“i am __________” he says.
“i’m from saudi arabia. you know where that is?”
i respond affirmatively, trying to hide my annoyance with such a ridiculous question. like i don’t know where saudi arabia is! he continues in this vein, asking if i study here, informing me that he does too and now i’m catching on.
he is practicing his english, i think
since this stuff is foreign language 101.
that kind of thing.
i proceed with the pleasantries, answering politely if succinctly in hopes of signally my desire to end this linguistic exchange
when things take a turn:
“i like your body. you have time now?”
now, this isn’t my first time at the rodeo; i’ve been around the block and i’ve had men step to me in a variety of ways. but never have i had a stranger from a foreign land inform me in broad daylight in the middle of campus with people all around that he likes my body and inquire if i “had time now.” i kindly thanked him and informed him that i did not, in fact, “have time now” and continued to walk hoping that would end things. undaunted, he followed me saying,
“no worries. another time. i have car. we can go somewhere.”
i don’t know what kind of pheromone i was putting off that made this man think that i’m the sort of guy who gets into the cars of foreign (or domestic) business majors simply because they ask.
i mean, maybe if he were a saudi prince. . . .
but i digress.
the rest is a bit of blur.
suffice it to say i walked off
unharmed, if totally weirded out.
when i was sure i was out of his line of sight,
i remember pausing, looking back, and thinking:
June 11, 2012
June 10, 2012
i don’t have cable.
which means i only have netflix to connect me to the outside world.
over the past few years (yes i haven’t had cable for years now),
i’ve pretty much watched everything worth watching on netflix,
and ever since they had that whole quickster debacle,
i swear they haven’t had added many new streaming movies.
this has made me desperate.
and so i’ve found myself completely obsessed with deadliest catch;
if i think about it objectively,
i am sitting here for hours on end
watching men fish!
who does that‽
but the point of this post is not to discuss how odd my tv habits have become. rather, i want to explain the power television has over me.
i’ve been watching this show for two days now.
today, i ate king crab for dinner (thanks mom!)
and now, i’m fighting the urge to buy this.
knowing that i only want it because it has the name/logo of my favorite boat does nothing to change the fact that i want it desperately.
nor does it even occur to me that it might be odd
that i even have a favorite boat.
i’m sitting here,
watching men fish,
and seriously considering spending $13.99 on a fucking mug.
and i don’t even use mugs.
there is something very very wrong with me.
June 9, 2012
i have a f.o. to show you,
and another one is soon to follow.
tonight, however, none of that matters.
all that matters is this yarn.
this is this month’s sock club. the color is called ‘wavelength’
i shy away from this level of variegation,
(though part of why i enjoy being in sock club
is challenging myself to experience color differently)
but i think that’s because i never look at a skein like this:
why do i never open the skeins to look at them?
it changes everything!
looking at the skein thusly
it was if it spoke to me:
“you must knit socks”
i never want to knit socks. ever.
i find them to be fiddly and tedious
and if i’m going to knit that many stitches,
i want a sweater out of it.
every now and then
i do get the urge to knit socks
but i’m easily able to fight it off
because i can never find a pattern i like.
most of the time, i think sock patterns are really tacky.
sorry sock knitters. it’s just how i feel.
so there really was no harm in winding the skein.
i found it less tempting as a cake.
i knew that i needed to make something with this
but luckily, in wound form, it couldn’t tempt me to make socks.
little did i know,
this skein is a clever little fucker.
it combined forces with this pattern
and the only thing i could think was
a few episodes of deadliest catch and boom!
a sock is born.
nothing else seems to matter.
i must make these socks.
is this how you sock knitters feel all the time?