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.

dear robin,

i’m just writing to thank you ever so much for your article on shagging in the latest issue of “knitting traditions” magazine. never before have i read something about a knitting technique, and been so thoroughly inspired to get out there and do it.

every paragraph is gem,
filled with the most detailed instructions on shagging.
below are some of my favorite quotes from your article:

“they could be used for driving horses but not for putting on the bridle”

“pull the knit apart widthwise just enough to be able to see the crack”

“turn the mitten inside out and darn in all tails before shagging the inside. make the second mitten before shagging the first, lest you lose heart or forget the measurements.”

“shagging changes the the size of the mitten slightly, making them a little wider and longer.”

the list goes on, but suffice it to say,
i loved this article. your shagging how-to should be in everyone’s life.
and i love knowing that, not only will shagging help keep you warm,
it’s not a very time consuming process:

“although i though the shagging would take a long time, when i checked the clock, it took an average of 15 minutes per rib.”

of course, not being the professional shagger that you are,
when i shag, it tends to take significantly longer.
perhaps in time, we’ll all be that speedy.

i encourage anyone interested in shagging to go out to their local yarn store, and purchase the new “knitting traditions” magazine.
you won’t be disappointed.

sincerely yours,

steven

p.s. please tell me you and your editor knew how hilarious this article would be! this just couldn’t have been an accident!

dear knitting,

i know i haven’t spent as much time with you today as i said i would.
but you have to admit i’ve stayed pretty true to you over the years.

i appreciate your tolerance,
and that you recognize that monogamy isn’t my style.
my fooling around with that shiny new spinning wheel at work,
that’s for you. . . for us!

i love you, but today,
you may think i crossed a line.

today, on this beautiful november afternoon,

i took my first steps toward quilting.

my friend lee practically begged me to try it.

and before i knew what was happening,
she was showing me the basics.

yes the fact that i was sitting on a curb

with sewer fumes periodically wafting up
makes it look like i wanted to quilt like a crackhead wants. . . well. . . crack.

and yes,
lee gave me this awesome quilting kit to get me started,

but it’s not what it looks like.

sure i’m sentimental.
i love making things with my hands,
things that are connected to tradition,
things that stand the test of time because i put the effort in.

but honestly,
i’m only doing this so that someday
i can replace the threadbare quilt my grandma made.

one quilt. just one.
two, two at the most!

it’s a temporary thing.
what we have? my love for you?
that’s forever.

i hope you understand.

love,

steven

ps (to the readers). what? like you don’t talk to your knitting. sheesh.
go enter my contest already

(this post unconsciously inspired by the yarn harlot *sigh*)

dear stephen,

i love you.
not in that way since we obviously haven’t met,
but i love your designs, your aesthetic,
that carefree attitude that nearly
drips from your photographs.

the speed with which you churn out patterns is astonishing.
and there are several i’ve been meaning to start.
ask any of my coworkers of my struggle
to find the perfect colors for daybreak,
or my new crush on chadwick.

i’m also très grateful that i get to test knit for you.
even if i can’t show the world what i’ve been knitting,
it still makes me feel special.

that being said,
i have to ask one question about your new pattern,
the one you’ve named knothole.

don’t you think that it may be a tad . . . .

. . . vaginal?

i’m just saying.

sincerely yours,

steven

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