souvenir

August 31, 2012

when i worked at natural stitches,
an old, sickly woman would come in a knit.

her name was mattie.

mattie was wheelchair bound
blind in (at least) one eye,
and on dialysis 3 times a week.

she would save up her transportation tickets from her senior center
so she could come, hang out with us,
and we could help her with her projects.

she was always happy
and slightly outrageous.
i always had to help fix her ribbing.
now and then, i’d get roped into running to mcdonalds
to buy her a small fry. (with her coupon, of course)

she always made sure her nails were done, her makeup was on,
and always wore her “good wig” when she came to the shop.

sometimes her leg would pop off as she wheeled across the store to her table and we’d have to hand it back to her. sometimes she’d put it back on. other times, she’d simply plop it on the table and keep on stitching.

i recently found out that she passed away;
they blogged about it on the shop blog.

in honor of mattie i am going to reveal a photo.
it is not the most flattering photo;
the outfit i’m wearing is . . .

special.

it was given as a thank you to my friend yvonne.
when we opened, i couldn’t resist modeling it.
for the most part,
the photo has been suppressed

that is, until now.
(post continued after the jump)

mattie,
i’ll never forget you.
wherever you are, i’m sure you’ve finally mastered k2p2 ribbing.

photo courtesy of natural stitches


love,

steven

p.s. yvonne, if you read this, do post the details surrounding the outfit in the comments!

August 27, 2012

steven a.:

cauchy complete does it again, using quilting to get us really thinking and hopefully talking. somehow, this phrase is all the more eerie on a quilt.

Originally posted on completely cauchy.:

This whole controversy with Todd shoving his foot in his mouth stuck with me longer than most of these things do. So I kind of felt I had to dig a little deeper. Here we’ve side-stepped his whole ignorance of science, preserved in the title, in favor of a linguistic examination of his statement. Perhaps we’ll come back to that later?

Todd's No-Baby Baby Quilt

Was struck by different interpretations of the meaning of “legitimate rape.” There are two veins within the comments on my related post from last week. That is, legitimate can be construed to mean justified or, alternatively, real/actual. I was in the latter camp in my understanding of Todd’s intent (indeed, he did correct himself to the party line of forcible (a word with its own issues)) and I feel remiss in missing the other possible connotation so clearly conveyed in the adjective legitimate.

Todd's No-Baby Baby Quilt

I tossed around this…

View original 235 more words

westward ho!

August 23, 2012

i’m kind of sick.
i’m that kind of sick where spending the day in bed isn’t a choice.
i’m that kind of sick where my body feels the need to be entirely empty.
i’m that kind of sick where i hope mo will just pee on the floor so i won’t have to get out of bed to take him outside.

but for you, blog,
i’ll crawl all the way to the next room
to get my power cord out of my bag
to recall a happier time
just last sunday.

though i’ve been enjoy my summer hermitage,
i discovered lynae and adrienne,
dear friends of the knot hysteria variety,
were coming to my state for the michigan fiber festival.
lynae undertook quite a twitter campaign to ensure my presence.
and if she and drin could come from chicago,
i could make the trip from lansing.

i’m thoroughly unfamiliar with this side of the state
and my initial impressions reminded me a lot of my childhood;
allegan is similar to the small towns i used to frequent as a michigosling:

almont
armada
berville
capac
imaly city

though allegan seems to have held up better.
it felt like time passed a little bit slower there
and has been a lot kinder than in towns of my youth.
once i got over the initial uncanny nostalgia,
i felt right at home at a country fairgrounds
especially at a fiber festival.

the michigan fiber festival is what i’d call a diamond in the rough.
the fairgrounds are perfect for a really large festival,
something comparable in size to rhinebeck, honestly,
but it’s much, much smaller and lower key.
add that to the fact that i arrived at church time
and i got to enjoy the fairgrounds without the stress of the crowds.

perhaps that’s what’s reflected in these photos.
i didn’t feel the need to ‘just document everything’
and sort it all out later as i normally do.
instead, i took a more leisurely approach.
this is what i saw.

wait!

before i continue,
i have to preface this by saying most of these photos were illegally obtained. the man on the loud speaker announced that everything in the booths was proprietary and photography was forbidden. that little admonishment came right before the one telling parents not to let children maul the yarn with their sticky hands. (needless to say, being put in the same category as a child with chocolate-covered digits miffed me to no end) so this is just to warn you that, if you enjoy these photos, you may be aiding (and abetting?) in a crime after the fact. i just feel it’s my responsibility to warn you. and if any vendor sees a photo of her booth and takes issue with it, i’ll be happy to remove your free publicity.

first up
i need this sweater in my life.
it’s sticks and stones by ann hanson knit with briar rose glory days
(as the tag clearly indicates)

briar rose definitely has one of the best booths, aesthetically.
it has a great mix of organization and planned carelessness
(read overflowing baskets of yarn here and there)
i’ve never had the chance to actually look at her stuff
since normally there’s a mob in the booth at rhinebeck.
overall i was drawn to her color aesthetic,
and she has some really nice bases,
but nothing needed to come home with me.
still, it wouldn’t have hurt to throw a ‘hello’ my way
as one of only two people in the booth at the time.
just sayin’. can’t hurt to be friendly.
(don’t worry. you weren’t alone. i wasn’t greeted at most of the booths)

then i saw this old familiar signthis bitch is at every festival.
i swear she must live for these shows. honestly, i loved that she was there. she’s like 10 feet tall and looks exactly like storybook spinner. i totally observe her every time i see her. she has this potent energy that just exudes ‘fiber festival’. someday, i’ll work up the courage to kinnear her, not just her sign. though part of me believes she’s a witch. i’m not sure camera’s will work on her. (her name’s even morgaine for christ’s sake! i’m just sayin’. don’t spill water on her, just in case)

then i yearned for boat shuttles.
the weaving goddess lisa kobeck told me using a boat shuttle will improve my selvedges, so i’ve been in the market for one for a bit.
(she also says buying a floor loom will help, but i need to be realistic)
i knew i wanted something handmade and fancy looking like these guys,
but they were just a bit too pricey for me.
i often forget my taste far exceeds my budget.
i think this display was part of the kessinich loom booth,
but i might be wrong.

i strolled the ‘midway’
(just noticed that little dude in the corner popping his hip. work!)

listened to some real country tunes as i passed the carousel corral

stopped in on miss babs
(if you like that shawl drin’s wearing, go here. she designed it)

miss babs is another one of those booths that’s generally mobbed
so it was nice to be able to take my time and really see her yarn.
again, i left without buying any yarn
(a testament to either my will or my poverty)
but did return for some fiber i just couldn’t pass up.
funny how the only thing i bought was from the place where someone actually said hi to me. it wasn’t the most enthusiastic welcome, but it was nice to have my presence acknowledged.
(these are presents so it doesn’t really count as buying anything right?)

there was this dress
about which i have no information because i was unprepared and had no notebook. i vaguely recall overhearing the pattern is forthcoming in knitty, but that could be total lies. i did give her my card so if she sees this, hopefully she’ll leave a comment and i’ll update the info.
(outtake: i even accidentally kinneared the dress. it needs to be seen!)

there was also this sweater
about which i also have no information
(so i was off my game a little)
again, i gave her my card.
hopefully she sees this.

i saw this coyote
(he looks like he knows, ya know?)

and these foxes
(zing!) i took their photo for my fiber festival friend in absentia, andrea,
who has ‘a thing’ for the farm boys at these fiber events.
thus far, she hasn’t gone home with one.
(that i know of)

then i suddenly found myself right in front of the parade of sheep
in costumes no less.

this girl and her sheep are obviously the best in show.
diy sun costume + diy solar system on your black sheep (space!) = ?
genius.

but i’ve forgotten the best part!
a giant fucking rooster at the entrance!
i take this as a sign tina will one day come with me.
the chicken/rooster is, after all, her totem.

(we visited your yarn at the fold booth, tina!)
all in all a lovely day.

p.s. thanks for being my sugar momma, lynae,
when there was no atm to be found.
p.p.s while i began this post last night, at one point, i just couldn’t go on. i finished it this afternoon. i’m feeling better, but i’m still afraid to eat.

blog love, german style.

August 20, 2012

my dear friend, deb, over at first we read, then we write
nominated me for a liebster blog award.
as i read her post,
about how it wasn’t a real award
and how it was basically a chain letter
wrapped in an ‘i like your blog’ love note,
i prayed that, when i reached the bottom,
my name wouldn’t be on there.

of course it was the first.

i’ve spent three years building this blog from the ground up.
i don’t design, or sell anything, so all of my traffic
comes from people who like to read what i write.
how could i possibly taint the blog
with this drivel?!

then. . . . i got a grip
and decided there were two very good reasons to ‘accept’ the award:

1. the opening of deborah’s post echoed my own childhood too much to ignore the bizarre connection. whereas she dreaded getting a chain letter because she,

“didn’t have ten friends to pass a letter on to.”

and

“There is nothing more frightening than hocus-pocus to a girl than the embarrassment of not having ten friends to forward a chain letter on to.”

i was the exact opposite.
i prayed for a chain letter to arrive in the mail.
it’s presence would act as proof that i did, indeed, have friends.
life as an only child growing up in the country a solid 30 minutes from the closest of any of my classmates meant i didn’t really do the whole ‘sleepover birthday party play date’ thing. add to that the fact that i was, well, ‘different’, and i think i desired any affirmation that i was liked.

2. this may be the only blog award i will ever receive. i don’t know how people get nominated for those things, but i do see them occasionally on other blogs (usually ones i feel don’t deserve to be read let alone awarded). i also don’t know if people even care about that kind of thing. but just in case, i won’t turn down what might be the only ‘official’ validation that my blog is liked.

and so,
i present
my liebster award post!

parameters:
1. each person must post eleven things about themselves
2. answer the 11 questions the person giving the award has set for you
3. create eleven questions for the people you will be giving the award to
4. choose eleven people to award and send them a link to your post
5. go to their page and tell them
6. no tag backs

i tried to think of ways to make this more creative,
but i think the great thing about parameters is
you don’t really have to think.
so here goes.

eleven things about me:
i ripped off my style of cursive in the fifth grade from amanda niedszwiecki (sp?), which required switching from holding my pencil on my middle finger to my ring.

one of my biggest childhood traumas is when i was at a farm and was chasing a duckling because i wanted to hold it. i accidentally stepped on it. it did not die quickly. the image haunts me to this day.

when i was about three or four, this boy (paul?) and i used to make a pillow fort and make out. when we got caught i was interrogated. i cried.

i’ve been romantically attracted to exactly one female in my life. her name was sally.

i kinda want to have a kid of my own one day (i think), but doubt it will ever happen.

my (friendly) prejudice against continental knitters makes me think of the doctor seuss story, the sneetches.

aging is one of my greatest fears.

mo’s official akc name is henri’s molière the antimisanthrope.

i bruise easily, and my skin takes color like you wouldn’t believe.

i remember that, as a child, i hated how adults would never listen to me or take anything i had to say seriously. i was determined that, when i was an adult, i would treat children with the respect they deserve. as an adult, i can’t stand children.

i often blog in the nude.

answers to deb’s eleven questions:
Who? – miss scarlet

What? – murdered mr. boddy

When? – last night

Where? – in the hall

How? – using yvette the call girl to do her dirty work (candlestick)

Why? – to protect her business of ‘secrets’

And your favourite word is? – cooooooock! (inside joke)

And your favourite sentence is? – ‘it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife’

Do sheeps shrink in the rain? – nope!

If a taxi goes backwards, does the driver owe you money? – when you enter a taxi, you give up any and all freedoms. you can only pray he’ll let you leave his domain alive and unharmed.

Really? – really.

my eleven questions to the bloggers i will soon nominate:
how was your first sexual experience?

what is your greatest prejudice?

who’s your favorite knitting blogger that isn’t me?

what is the achievement about which you are most proud?

what is your biggest grammatical pet peeve?

what is your most prized possession?

do you enjoy lying?

do prefer men, women, or other?

what is your drink of choice?

what is the best place in the world?

do you think, like i do, that continental knitters are like the sneetches without stars?

my nominations (in no particular order):]
completely cauchy
hizknits
makes the things
martinimade
the daily purl
the panopticon
the yarn harlot
craftivore
blue moon blog
yarn over matter
un joyeux foullis

done!

i’m going to skip the last couple rules.
i’ve frankly done enough work already on this post.
besides, i doubt i would be able to get them all to ‘accept’.
but it would be cool if a couple of them played along.
it wasn’t so bad.

aCute angle

August 17, 2012

i have a confession to make about my last post.
it was what you might call, not entirely honest.
true, that photo was takes in the nest i’d made on the floor,
but i didn’t actually stay there.

it wasn’t for lack fo trying, mind.
it’s just that,
apparently,
27 is the age at which
one is no longer able to sleep on the floor.
it’s frankly quite sad since my childhood was filled with instances of my curling up in unlikely spaces to rest. my favorite was the floor of the passenger side of my dad’s red chevey pickup.

adulthood is filled with sad milestones.

so where did i end up sleeping you ask?
well, while i couldn’t sleep on the hardwood,
i was able to channel my childhood talent for contortion,
and curled myself around the item on the bed,
covering the ends of the blocking wires
to avoid being impaled in the night.

which i suppose would be more impressive
if the item in question were bigger.
it was still, nonetheless,
a challenge.
mo upped the level of difficulty
by finding the one spot to curl up
that made any movement in the night impossible.

so here it is, the first knit i’ve ever slept with:
pattern – aCute angle yarn – luscious silk in the ‘ghillie dhu’ colorway

frankly, this item has been nothing but trouble from the start.
before i went to the knot hysteria gourmet retreat,
i suggested to my fellow retreaters
that we all do a knitalong.
i chose the aCute angle
because it had just been released
and seemed easy enough for us to complete in a weekend.

several people finished theirs in the blink of an eye,
but mine refused to even get started.
the first time, i twisted the join,
and didn’t notice for at least an inch.
the second time i cast on a number of stitches
that had absolutely nothing to do with the pattern.
(i think it was off by something like 12 stitches?)
once i’d finally got myself together,
it was the end of the second day
and my modifications* meant
i’d never finish that weekend.

i know i finished knitting it at some point,
but it sat for ages waiting to have its ends woven in.
then i let it have a nice soak and promptly forgot about it.
i don’t think silk is meant to soak for three days.
there’s something about the texture that feels . . . different now.

even this post has been needlessly delayed.
it’s been written for at least three days;
all it wanted was a final edit.
regardless, it came out beautifully,
and i thoroughly recommend this pattern.
it really is a snap for anyone whose mojo isn’t on the fritz,
(though blocking lace in the round presents its own unique challenge)
and this is one pattern where i think the yarn is perfectly matched.
(just note that, on ravelry, it’s currently misspelled as ‘a cute angle
losing all the fun wordplay in the title!)

now i just need to figure out who it’s for.
though, it might be perfect for mo.
tomorrow, the most irrelvant post i’ve ever written.
>glares at certain portland-based blogger<

à demain, bitches!

*aCute angle modifications: i added one pattern repeat and did seed stitch for the border rather than garter stitch.

mircoblog 14 – 4:07am

August 11, 2012

i’m blocking something on my bed.
it’s still completely soaked,
so i’m going to sleep
on the floor.
ironically,
this isn’t the first time i’ve done this.

114

August 10, 2012

though the random number generator refuses to embed today, it did pick the winner for the bitches get stitches third blogiversary giveaway.
it chose number 114, so medora is the winner!
(you can all hate her now)

congratulations, medora!
you should have an email from blue moon with your $100 gift certificate.
(do contact me if you haven’t gotten it)

to everyone else,
thanks so much for entering.
here’s to another eventful year of blogging!

(i hope)

three years

August 9, 2012

***comments are closed, bitches! the winner has been picked and notified. thanks for playing!***

so i got this little notification yesterday,
that today is my blogiversary.
my third, to be exact.

i recall starting my blog roughly around the time i first moved to pittburgh in 2009. i’d left a vibrant group of friends, a burgeoning knitting group, and the best paying job i’ve ever had to pursue my academic career and live with my best friend. i don’t remember why i began blogging, per se, by which i mean, i don’t rememeber the specifics. i do know that all i wanted was to stay connected to the knitterverse, and try to be part of the conversation, as it were.

whatever the reasons, i never imagined what this blog would become. i never thought people would actually read and comment (i love every comment, especially from the regulars) i never thought total strangers would stop me to tell me they read the blog (the first couple times terrified me!) even though it was my goal, i didn’t think my blog would ‘succeed’ and, frankly, i’m surprised i’ve stuck with it this long.

of course,
the only reason i have
is because of you, bitches.
if people weren’t reading,
i’d’ve quit ages ago.

and since it seems like the industry standard
(and because it’s been ages since i’ve had one)
i’m doing a giveaway in honor of my third blogiversary.

the bitches get stitches third blogiversary giveaway!

the rules:

1. spread the word – you can do that anyway you see fit; reblog, tweet, e-mail, ravelry, phone call, whatever. just let another knitter know about the giveaway. it’s completely on the honor system. i trust ya.

2. leave a comment – it’s the easiest way to assign someone a random number for the all-knowing random number generator to pick a winner. make sure to comment on this post. you’d think i wouldn’t need to specify that but >shakes head from experience< and for the sake of fairness and my personal sanity, please leave only one comment.

3. this one’s most important – you only have the 24 hours from the time i posted to ‘spread the word’ and ‘leave a comment’. the winner will be announced tomorrow, august 10th.

the prize:

i’ve given this a lot of thought. well, as much thought as i could in less than a day. because it needed to extra special, and because it’s my favorite yarn company, i decided to give away a $100.00 e-gift certificate to blue moon fiber arts.

sound good?
thanks for sticking with me, bitches!

frustration 2012

August 7, 2012

i am frustrated. (get your head out of the gutter and focus, please)
i have literally been swatching for days for my rhinebeck sweater,
and frankly i’m thinking of throwing in the towel.

i want to make dale of norway’s liberec,
but i cannot for the life of me obtain the proper gauge.
(things might get technical and mathy after this)

the pattern was designed for either falk or heilo,
both of which are listed as sport-weight yarns.
i’ve decided to use blue moon fiber arts bfl sport
(which is amazing and if i ever figure this out,
you’ll get to see my amazing colors).

the gauge i’m supposed to obtain is 24sts/4″ on 3mm needles.
(my needle gauge says that’s a u.s. 3 but the internet says a u.s 3 is 3.25mm. anyway) on that needle, i was getting 30-32sts/4″.

i began to worry.

after swatching 5 times (5 times!!),
i’m up to a size 5 needle (3.75mm)
and i’m still not on gauge.
not to mention the fabric is loose for my taste.

how on earth are these norwegians getting that gauge on that needle?

then it hit me.

it’s not a sport-weight yarn. it’s dk.

ravelry says it’s sport.
the dale of norway website says it’s sport.
but it’s not. it can’t be.

i returned to ravelry. yep. heilo and falk are listed as sport.
then i saw the little ‘comments’ tab and my heart sank a little.
i clicked on it and what did i discover?
ravelers say it’s really more like a dk than a sport,
and even thicker than some yarns that are listed as a dk!

the only thing i can think of is dale of norway is calling their yarn sport-weight because they are knitting a dk yarn to a sport gauge on a smaller than standard needle (which will of course make a lovely thick fabric for skiing and improve stitch definition) rather than look at the actual diameter or wpi of their yarns.

in my despair, i considered just finishing the vest i was knitting/spinning for rhineback last year (and have secretly been working on this summer) since i was unable to complete it on time and has been hibernating ever since. then i remembered i’ve been emailing the designer because the pattern is wrong. i found one big error, and they sent me a corrected pattern. then i went to continue and found another. what really baffles me is how several people have ‘successfully’ knit the vest. how? the pattern it wrong! and it’s not something one can just figure out. i need the information from the designer!
(at what point should they offer me a refund?)

anyway.

i have a decision to make.

since ravelry tells me the only colorwork sweaters i can knit with sport-weight yarn are by dale of norway, i must either do some math to make this sweater happen at the gauge i’m getting (we won’t even go into the horror of row gauge and color work). or i can just give up.
i have a significant amount of extra yarn for the main color.
maybe i’ll just forget colorwork all together.

regardless,
i need to decide soon if i have any hope of finishing by rhinebeck.

suggestions??
i could use the advice.

i was going to write one of my typical posts,
but i just found out that one of my heroines, chavela vargas, died today.
somehow my swatch just doesn’t seem that important anymore.

i’m having a lot of trouble articulating why i feel what i feel. it seems rather absurd, really, that upon reading of her death, i burst into tears. it makes no sense that one of mexico’s most beloved (and controversial) singers would be a hero to a white dude from michigan who doesn’t even speak spanish. but there’s just something about her life and music that . . . *sigh* i don’t know. she was a person who lived a hard, beautiful life and i admired her for it. for whatever reason, she meant something to me.

if you listen to paloma negra, and you don’t feel anything, i could never hope explain it to you. that’s the only way i can think to put it.

chavela vargas was one of the 20th century’s bravest, most important lesbians, and i worry history will forget that.
at least i won’t.

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