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.

mdsw ’12

May 6, 2012

as you all well know,
academia has limited my knitting time.
the cruelest iteration of this limitation
is that the weekend of maryland sheep and wool
falls during the final push of the end of my semester.
so while all of you, my yarny friends,
frolic in with sheep, yarn, and bearded men in utilikilts,
i’m still here in my office trying to finish two papers
and my hot pants remain sadly folded in a drawer.

however.

it’s good to know as much as i miss mdsw
my absence has not gone unnoticed.
i received this blurry image via text message.
the text reads, “a beard in a kilt for you!”
and while it came from an number i don’t recognize,
and therefore it’s possible some knitter stalker has gotten ahold my number, the gesture was just the shot in the arm i needed to wrap this shit up so i can knit again.
speaking of,
gotta get back to it.

p.s. stay tuned for what i hope will be a summer of knitterly overcompensation for the yarny dearth of the past 9 months.

the last two days of my stockholm trip were the most uneventful.
all i did, really, was go to the symposium,
which was, after all,
the reason i went.

the first thing i noticed
was that i was severely misdressed.
my clothes were stuffy if stylish
but far too formal.

everyone was totally cool euroqueer
with the hair and the boots and such.
i felt like my americanness pulsated from within
and rated a goose egg on the coolness queerometer.

sitting up front and taking notes on my computer was also a bit odd apparently. i looked overeager or like i thought i belonged with
“the professors.”

the worst part was that no one was looking at or judging me,
which would allow me to have been like, “fuck them!”
no no. they didn’t even seem to notice.
my standing out was only observed
by me.

infuriating!

but there were some cool things that happened.

for instance,
within five minutes of ann cvetkovich’s talk,
she brought up knitting (it made sense as an example).
a beat later she pointed out that patti white was knitting as she spoke!

i didn’t bring my knitting
since i wasn’t sure it’d be appropriate.

well let me tell you!
the next day i wore my own shit kickin’ boots,
and dressed as comfortably as i pleased.
i mean, if i can’t wear my color work in sweden,
where can i wear it?
i made sure to take a good one of the bohus hat for misa.
had to prove i took it there.

misa a swear i’m weaving in ends.
i promise to get it to you
by rhinebeck lol.

then,
when i arrived a the symposium,
ann cvetkovich sat next to me!
we chatted about the talk,
the symposium
my knitting,
(which i brought with me to day two)
and she introduced me to jackie stacey.
(these are famous academics.
it’s like being knitting famous
just with a different crowd)

the talks were really impressive
and demonstrated how far i have to go as an academic.
still, it was worth the trip. i learned a lot.
and what a cool location, right?

while stockholm is a cool town,
and i got to see barely any of it,
it didn’t really impress me.
i told the shuttle bus lady at the detroit airport
when she asked if i would ever go back,
no. probably not.

unless i was on some grand tour of europe,
and it was one of many stops,
nothing about stockholm makes me feel like i need to see more.

except maybe this little guy.
frenchies have taken over the world, apparently.
even the mighty viking bows to the cuteness.

stockholm’s like that
cute guy you spent that one summer evening with.
it was a fun time, and he was really nice.
you got his digits and plan to keep in touch
but really, neither of you plans to see the other again.

still,
she’s got some charm.

oh yeah.
i got some knitting done too.
pattern: a good, plain sock from knitting rules!pattern: gandeymitts by spillyjane

neither pair fits.
the socks are only slightly too small,
and really i can blame lack of experience.
i’m just not sure yet when to begin my toe decreases.

the mittens i can only blame myself for.
i know i’m a tighter knitter,
especially my color work.
so i thought going up a needle size would be enough.
but i never checked my gauge, so i have no one to blame but me.
based on the fit, going up one more needle would have done the trick.
but i couldn’t bring myself to check my gauge
because i knew i couldn’t stomach ripping.
i just couldn’t.

so i’m giving both the socks and the mittens away.
the socks are spoken for.

but i need to find a lady hand
or dainty man hand (franklin?)
on which to put the mitts.

and i still don’t really like shelter.

saturdays are for blogging

January 21, 2012

i’ve made a promise to myself
that i must knit at least an hour every day
and i must blog at least once a week
because i love myself,
and i love my blog.

i haven’t been doing so well with the knitting every day promise
but i refuse to fail on the bloging once a week.

so i here i am,
setting aside my huge pile of work
to show you some progress.

for a long time now,
i have been admiring the work of spillyjane.
there’s something about her designs that i just love.
if i had to put my finger on it, i’d say it’s her color combinations.
i feel pretty comfortable saying they aren’t typical, and yet,
they totally work.

however,
it’s been pretty easy for me to resist casting on one of her designs.
for one, i have a terminal case of second sock syndrome,
which can easily evolve into second mitten syndrome.
but also, while i love her designs,
i just didn’t see myself wearing any of them.
i love them and thought they’d look amazing on other people.
just not me.

that is until i saw these bad boys.

one look and i was harassing her to publish the pattern already.
(really. i emailed and tweeted her. i was pushy)

a copy found it’s way into my mailbox
and away i went.

here where they stand:
and here are my thoughts:

1) i love colorwork. i. love. it.

2) i love this pattern. i am thoroughly enchanted with the chart. more than once, i have talked to it with a kind of cutesy voice i use to show affection to mo or other adorable mammals. i am not ashamed.

3) i’m glad i went up a needle size. otherwise the mitten would not fit.

4) this does have me worried about row gauge, however. i hope they don’t end up too long. i refuse to do them math to find out.

5) i have some concerns about the thumb construction. i have very strong feeling about how mitten thumbs should be worked. however, spillyjane makes her living on mittens. i do not. i’m gonna let go and let god on this one.

6) the lighter of the contrasting colors could be little more contrasty. however, i did that on purpose. i love the fact that there’s enough contrast to tell that those are skulls without having my mitten scream, “look here! skulls on a mitten!” sometimes my plans work out.

7) i’m knitting them two at a time (on separate needles) in order to avoid second mitten syndrome. so far, it seems to be working. it has instilled in me a kind of “race” like feeling where i can’t let the other mitten get too far ahead. weird? yes. but it’s working.

8) a while ago, i wrote a post in which i listed my concerns about shelter. i decided it was high time i actually tried it out, and the fact that spillyjane used it to knit these mitts seemed like the perfect excuse. now that i’m knitting with it, i have some opinions:

a) i love how it looks. the color is impeccable and the subtle rustic heatheryness of it speaks to the old school knitter in my heard.

b) however, i’m not a big fan of it’s hand when i’m knitting with it. yes, it’s very light, and while i usually love the feel of a wooly yarn, something about this particular blend . . . well i just don’t care for it.

c) it’s also very easy to break which makes me worry about how it will hold up with wear. it didn’t actually break while i was knitting with it. i don’t cut my yarns to switch colors, i just break them. and shelter breaks with very little effort. i’m hoping the fact that the mittens are knit at a very tight gauge will help with the ware factor.

d) i do like the fabric this pattern creates with this particular yarn. it’s knit on much smaller needles than one would normally use. i think it works because the yarn is so lofty. and quite frankly, i feel like shelter would knit more accurately to a dk gauge than a worsted anyway, another reason i think this pattern/yarn combo works with such small needles.

e) i don’t know if d) can be said to be representative of how the fabric will feel for other projects knitted at the recommended gauge.

f) my hypothesis is this yarn would be great for an old school textured sweater, but i doubt i can afford it at this point. american made ain’t cheap!

g) all that being said, when i try the mittens on, they feel comfy and warm. i plan to use them as my driving mitts. i do not regret buying shelter for this project, i think they’re beautiful, and i recommend other people spend the cash to give it a go at least once. but i just don’t see myself buying it again.

9) do you think jared flood will blacklist me for this?

10) have i mentioned i love these mittens?
(i think the back is my favorite part)

i’ve also got this little lovely going:
pattern: spruce forest by nancy bush
i have a serious love hate thing going on with this shawl.
this is the story:

for about a year now, i’ve wanted to design/knit a lace shawl in marine silk sport in my absolute favorite blue moon color way, ‘spruced’. i wanted it to be a triangular shawl and i wanted it to be a kind of ‘tree’ shaped lace pattern. the fact that i am not a designer and don’t yet intuitively understand how lace works meant that i was seriously struggling to realize this dream. then along comes fucking nancy bush and designs a perfect fucking shawl. (i am not above thinking that somehow she stole the idea using some kind of psychic probe while i was in her sock class). i hate that it’s a bottom up shawl and that, because it is, all the trees will point upward exactly as they should.i hate the nupps that make it so fucking adorable and perfect that i can’t help but be delighted every time i purl 5 together on the ‘resting row’. despite the fact that they totally slow me down and are frustrating, i hate that i love them. (and hate that i would never have thought to put a nupp in shawl, even though they are clearly amazing) i hate that there is a solid garter border because i absolutely believe in a thick garter border and bam! there it is.

and god damn i hate that there’s a perfect looking slip stitch edge so that when i have to pick up stitches for the lace edging, it will be a snap.

god damn nancy bush and her perfect fucking shawl pattern!

i shake my fist at you in gratitude, bitch!

i’m knitting this shawl as a present for someone who i really like and i think deserves to have it. really, i shouldn’t be blogging about it, but shit, i need all the material i can get. i don’t have time for secret knitting!

so that’s what’s on the needles bitches.thoughts?

** ps i am thoroughly annoyed with the fact that i am unable to capture the true color of ‘spruced’. it is much greener than the photo, and has a subtle blue hue in it. my guess is it has to do with the silk and sea cell content being all reflective. any help from my photography peeps?

last year, i went to my first ever fiber festival,
maryland sheep and wool festival ’10.
i knit my hotpants for a lark,
because all the talk of what to make/wear to the festival, well,
i thought people were a little nuts about it.

suddenly it was time for mdsw ’11,
and i had to decide if it was time to iron the hotpants,
or retire them.

i had to ask myself,
am i too old for this shit?
is it time for a little dignity?
or is this a tradition i should embrace?

ultimately,
i said fuck it.
who cares?!

i spent a lot of time on them,
and it hurt my hands to knit them.
(aran weight cotton on 5′s + cables. never again.)
i mean, there are only so many places one can wear handknit hotpants.
as long as my ass isn’t saggy, i’m wearing ‘em!
and if nothing else, they’re über comfy.

of course i realize that wearing them will garner some attention,
and people are going to snap a couple surreptitious pics.
these are some of the pics i could get my hands on:

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there was obviously a lot of kinnearing,
and several people stopped me to ask for a photo,
which i am always happy to do if i can get a copy.
but two encounters really stand out.

the first is when a little boy, adam,
came up to me to ask about the hotpants.
apparently, he’s a little knitters, and he recognized me from ravelry.
this little bugger was totally fearless, asking all kinds pertinent questions.
at first i just answered his queries, talking like i would to any knitter,
until i realized that he looked like he was alone.

“where’s your mother?!” i asked, a little worried and incredulous.
that’s when little adam’s entourage rolled up.
really nice family, totally awesome.
and adam kept right on talking the whole time.
(thanks for the pic guys!)

the other is the “in search of hotpants” tee shirt.
meg and her mother, karen, made and wore the shirt (respectively),
and then made it one of their festival goals to find me.
now that is dedication if i ever saw it.

all in all,
the hotpants and i had a lovely time.
i’m still thinking of retiring them,
or perhaps knitting a new pair.
maybe when i’m thirty.

twenty six in hotpants may be acceptable.
i still have a little crazy youth on my side.
but an anonymous bulge at thirty?
not quite so classy.

either way,
i’ll see you next year, bitches!

i feel like everyone who blogs about a fiber festival
covers three basic things:
sheep,
their haul,
and famous people.
(i saw clara parkes coming out of the bathroom,
and am 99% sure i saw anna zilboorg.
can anyone confirm that one?)

but how many pictures of cute sheep can one look at
before you realize you’re bored out of your skull?
so on sunday, the last day of the festival,
i decided to photograph something different,
something i saw all around the fairgrounds this year:

men.

specifically bearded men.
they seemed to be everywhere,
which is lucky since, at least to me,
facial hair is very sexy.

it took tremendous energy to overcome my shyness,
and ask total strangers if i could take a picture of them.
so for about every five beards i saw,
i asked one for a photo.

and now without further ado,
i give you, the bear(d)s of maryland sheep and wool!

this was my first beard of the day. his wife, a shy raveler, sent him over to ask if i was the infamous “hotpants” from the ravelry forum. he asked to take my photo so i thought it was only right to ask for his.
(his accent was wicked cool as well).
immeditately after, this guy rolled up. you gotta respect a dude who can commit to that kind of length. i could never grow my beard that long. plus, you may notice he is smoking in this photo, which of course makes him extra cool. what? you never knew smoking makes you cool?
well, it does.
then we have kilty mcbeard as i like to call him. i’d seen him the day before, and when i decided to undertake this project, i hoped he’d be there sunday as well. he gets kudos for his whole ensemble, from the leather hat, to the cabled vest, to the utilikilt. there were a lot of guys in utilikilts at the festival, but many of them weren’t flattering. his was the right color and length. seriously guys, your utilikilts are too long! you need to shorten them up or else you look like 6th grade catholic school girls. definitely not hot.
i had this man in mind as well when i decided to shoot some beards, if for no other reason than he is exactly one of my good friend’s type (you know who you are, buster). i’ve forgotten his name, but i believe he is the proprietor of the trawitz sheepskin products booth. while from afar he’s very imposing, he was willing to model his sheepy hat, which is frankly a little hilarious.

he may be able to snap my not-so-little ass in half,but i think that smile deserves a second shot for sure.

i almost missed this beard. i was standing on the main drag, and one of my friends yelled “beard!” i immediately stopped him with my, “excuse me sir” line, only to realize it was my fibery friend tammy‘s husband, who i had just talked to the day before. he accused me of using his image for nefarious reasons. someone help me think of one. i wouldn’t want to disappoint.

here we have a beard in motion. i caught this guy in passing in the main barn. he may have a confederate flag pin on his hat (boo!), but his hat/suspenders/pocket protector combo makes this beard worth noting.

i saw this little guy, walking around with his pretty girl, holding hands, clearly in love. rather than make me vomit, it touched me, and gave me the courage to ask for his photo.apparently, i’m going soft in my old age.

the final beard i captured belongs to the the sanguine gryphon‘s cute male worker bee. i have to admit he was my festival crush, and i made sure i told everyone to hit up their booth to take a peek. to me, he looks like stephen west‘s older, beefier brother, and believe me, this photo doesn’t do him justice. i did ask to take his photo, but even on the last day, he was too busy to strike a pose. so i did what any good knitting blogger would do.i kinneared him.

there is of course my beard,
meager though it may be.

it had a lovely time at the festival.

and because it’s obligatory,

this is my haul:
jennie the potter yarn bowl (victory is mine!),
a crochet hook roll up.
and some bugga!.
nothing too outrageous,
but these four little guys still put me over budget.

see you next year!

**tomorrow, an epilogue or hotpants strikes back.

mdsw preview

May 7, 2011

i’m still a little weak,
and my knitting mojo is m.i.a.
but this weekend, i’m shedding my invalid shell,
and heading out into the world for real real.

that’s right bitches.
this shut-in is at the maryland sheep and wool festival.i packed light. i’m very proud.

i’m traveling with my fibery pal, andrea,
yarn rep and all around hilarious lady.
we had so much fun together at rhinebeck,
that is only made sense to come to maryland together.

the best part about this particular trip
is the fact that andrea is working the festival.
this meant i got to go in today with the rest of the vendors,
and have a peek around before anyone else.
jealous?

while she was setting up,
i took a stroll around the fairgrounds.
i remember last year was so hot and awful,
i never got a good look at the different sheepsees.
so i made a point, with so few people around,
to take in some of their epic wooly cuteness.

there were sleepy sheeps

horny sheeps

devil sheeps

regal sheeps

ghost sheeps

and a whole lot of naked sheepses.

i also previewed all the vendors booths (jealous?)
here are my notes on some of my faves.

the fold needs no introduction. it is where the epic line begins to get your hands on the highly coveted socks that rock. while i too get hard for the socks that rock, i go to the fold for fiber optic yarns and fiber. there’s just something extra special about fiber optic’s stuff. i am drawn to them, their fiber especially. they have a quality.

miss babs was a mob scene last year, and rightly so. their yarn was wicked awesome. this year, peering into their clean looking booth, i didn’t feel the same pull. i’m sure when i see the hordes shoving each other to get the last skein of a given color, i’ll feel it again. and then cut a bitch for the skein.

seeing harriet of autumn house farm brought a smile to my heart. i remember last year, seeing her swamped, sweat pouring off her forehead, a booth full of hot, cranky customers. that woman held it together with a degree of poise i’ll never have. and i challenge anyone to display and communicate the level of passion that woman has for the fiber arts. she’s on another level that one.
and her setup is kick ass, too

spirit trail fiber works has some of the most beautiful yarn, both in color and base, that i have ever seen. but honestly, their booth is a straight up mess. it’s far to cramped. with no one else there, i don’t think i could have fit in their booth. buy their yarn, but be prepared for some claustrophobia (and to throw some elbows).

oh jennie the potter. i’ve tried for a year now, both at maryland and rhinebeck, to get my hands on one of your yarn bowls. today, i saw a variety sitting there in all their glory. one will be mine tomorrow. or else.

and finally, the sanguine gryphon. a late addition to the festival. you will be my first stop. not only because i must have more bugga!, but because i must flirt with the ginger bear(d) i saw helping you set up. seriously ladies. he’s wicked cute. nice touch.

there is another vendor i want to talk about,
a vendor that i met for the first time,
and i left pleasantly surprised.
i’m not really one for needle cases, mostly because they’re either too soft to hold up/protect my needles, or are just straight up poorly made. however! the cases and bags at the crippen works booth are both unique in look, but unique in the fact that they look like they could hold up to the type of abuse we knitters put our notions through.go there. say hi to katharyn.
buy some needle cases.
tell her i sent you.

it won’t get you a discount or anything.
i just told her i’d blog her.

it was sort of surreal, being back here. i can’t believe it’s been a year already. last year at maryland was my first fiber festival, and even through the extreme heat and otherworldly sunburn, i had an amazing time. coming back a year later and under such different conditions . . . it’s an uncanny feeling. everything is so familiar. i remember where everything is, even when vendors are in a different place. and yet, you can feel the passage of time in the place. it’s like seeing someone you haven’t in a while, and you can’t quite put your finger on what’s changed.

all i know is i’ve met an old friend again.
and i can’t wait to spend two more days with her.

see you tomorrow bitches!
look for the guy in the stolen/borrowed/gifted sunglasses

do you think it’ll be warm enough for shorts?

i hope so!

bomb

February 10, 2011

that’s what i was last thursday; the mothah fucking bomb.

ok maybe i’m being a little dramatic.
i did do an excellent job, though.
and i’m very proud of myself.

this is how things went down:
i drove through the mountains of pennsylvania,
passing through state college, and ending up in historic boalsburg, pa.
(don’t ask me where that is or anything about it. i have no. idea.)

i sat down to lunch with the lovely krystn madrine,
the knitter responsible for booking this gig,
and went over the evening’s progression.

i took some notes,
wrote down some names,
headed over to the venue,
and continued to silently shit my pants.
this left me with one hour to prep;
writing out how i wanted to open,
giving my first impression.

with ten minutes till doors,
i headed to my dressing room to change.
(i really wanted to bring a star to tape to the door)

i took a turn about the room, and was pretty surprised;
even though this was an event about knitting,
the organizers had invited a bunch of other guilds.

there were embroiderers,
bobbin lacers (any one got the noun for that one?),
spinners,
weavers,
sewers,
dyers,
shepherds,
raisers of alpaca,
and a yogi.

i was thoroughly impressed.

i found a seat and knitted a few rows before i had to get things going,
you know,
find my center,
open my chakras,
ohm shanti and all that.
and a girl from state college asked if she could interview me.
(she was writing a paper for her event planning class)
when she asked where i came from, it was her turn to shit her pants.
she couldn’t believe someone would drive all the was from pittsburgh
for a knitting event.

after blowing the mind of america’s youth,
it was time to get to work.

of course,
there was no microphone.
i had to use my big mouth to get people’s attention.
no problem.

based on the sign in sheet,
i was standing in front of just over a hundred people.
and now that i had their attention, i had to do something with it.
i’m looking at a couple hundred eyes, but i don’t care,
because i know exactly what i’m gonna do with the scene.
and of course everything happens, my god, the emotion comes up, i chase it away, i bring it back,
it’s rich,
it’s full,
it’s subtle.*

people laughed when i wanted them to,
paid attention when i wanted them to.
that room was mine!

for about five minutes.

then other people took over with the talking and such.
my job for the rest of the night was to be pleasant to the people who came up to talk to me, make the raffle interesting, and make sure people got the fuck out by nine.

i happily posed for the obligatory photos.
that’s kate, the guild president.
and krystn, the knotty girl who roped me into this.

but my favorite part of the night was meeting a reader.
this is tammy. she was a little disappointed that i didn’t wear my hotpants, especially since she spent a good chunk of her time at maryland standing in line at the fold staring at my ass.

sorry tammy. krystn wouldn’t let me wear them.

notice i’m clutching a skein of yarn in my hand in that photo?
tammy is spinning 52 skeins in 52 weeks.
i’m holding skein #4.
it’s beautiful.
i told her so.
and she gave it to me.
just fucking gave it to me!
can you believe that?!

i had an emotion.
(you can see it here)

overall, i had a blast.
everyone was really friendly, and cheerful.
totally worth driving across the commonwealth and back.

i didn’t even need a xanax.

*mad points for who ever knows where i stole this little bit of text from.

and i’m here to recruit you.

(ten points to whoever recognizes that reference)

so by now, many of you have seen the “poll” on stephanie’s blog.

i have to say i am blown away by the shear volume of replies.
i never thought my late night appeal for help would cause all this,
nor did i realize how testy some knitters can get.
but i suppose if you poke the wasp nest,
you’re gonna get stung some.

so just to add another dimension to things,
here’s the prologue to the story:

i am a worker bee at natural stitches,
and it’s got to be the best job in the world.

this means that for our summer of socks and lace,
i compete against the rest of the staff, as opposed to the customers,
we get to knit at work,
which gives us an unfair advantage over people who can’t.

i personally entered the “double threat” category
meaning i’ll have to knit both socks and lace.

so obviously, i was keeping my eye out for patterns to knit in addition to the february lady, shetland tea shawl, stora dimun, and plain sock i’ve already started. (we knit as many items as we can)

when i came upon the whisper cables pull over

totally scammed the photo from veronik's flickr. all rights are hers.


i immediately said to myself, “that’ll do!”
and took the pattern into work to select yarn etc.

when i showed my coworker the pattern,
she looked at me like i was an idiot and said,
“you can’t do that. it’s not lace.”
(identities are being concealed to prevent possible teary phone calls)

the problem lies merely in the fact that we have two different viewpoints on how to judge what constitutes lace. i took in the whole image and said, “that’s lace.” she looked at the pattern and determined the necessary techniques that currently define lace in the knitting world are absent from the pattern.

i think that’s kinda dumb and exclusionary.
but i suppose definitions are meant to be.

she comes from the old school, steeped in tradition and love for st. elizabeth zimmerman. i’m from the new generation of knitters who’ve learned the craft online or in the new lys’s instead of from their grandmothers or mothers. hell, i learned to knit on aluminum boye needles and fun fur in the wee hours of the morning at meijer from a crazy knitter lady.

you can’t get much further from tradition than that.

the debate then spread to the rest of the staff:
what counts?
what doesn’t?
what about scribble lace?
what about things with yo’s but no corresponding decreases?
(like the simple yet effective)
if one technically follows the ez rules,
wouldn’t one have to count yo k2tog button holes?
what about hairpin lace?
which brought us to crochet and . . .

don’t even get me started on the crochet contestants.
i’m just gonna take their word on it;
if they tell me their project is lace,
i’ll believe them.
(honor system hookers!)

basically,
even though i see the deliberate instruction in the pattern to knit on a larger needle in comparison to the yarn in order to create regular patterned openwork, openwork stretched and held in place by the regular patterning of the cables, as a way of creating lace . . .

no one else did.

what did i do when everyone was against me?
(please note the comical melodrama, not sincere despair)

i appealed to a higher power.
the highest power to which one as lowly as i could appeal:
the knitting celebrity.

in this case, stephanie pearl-mcphee.

i filled her in on the basics and she suggested we put it to a vote.
i said what the hell!
what have i to lose?

and now you’re all caught up, selecting your a, b, c, or d
casting your vote to let the world know what you think about lace.

if i’m honest,
and i tend to be,
i knew going in that i wasn’t going to “win” the argument.
my only hope was that a few voters would see things the way i did,
so i wouldn’t feel like some crazy face knitter.

so last night,
i decided to start reading through the comments
me and my little friend pouilly-fuissé:

(please note my great grandmother’s crocheted lace doily. irony?)

the harlot said i needed a beer for this,
i was out.

let’s look at some of my favorites from that initial peekaboo:

anna wrote:
A. He can’t be serious… Since when is cable knitting with fine gauge yarn and big needles lace?

i am serious and maybe since now?

gretchen wrote:
Put me in the A camp. When Steven finishes a real lace shawl, let’s see what he thinks of his theory then!! Sorry, buddy. A

i have actually. and i gave it away. it now lives in london. my theory still feels pretty good.

sally wrote:
Steven, I’m going with whatever answer gets me that skein of cashmere. (Otherwise I’d have to go with C leaning towards A) But I really, really want that yarn, so if you like I will write a Treatise on Lace Options if needed and send it to your Store Ruler. Yup, I’m on your side.

that’s an awesome answer, a true harlot at heart.
(and a good way to win some cashmere)

willowcaroline wrote:
Well, I see it differently. When I looked at the pic of the sweater, I saw “lace” between the cables.. no matter how it got there. So B or D, which seems to be the minority opinion. I am not saying this is Shetland lace.. but that openwork look sure looks lacey to me.

yay! i am not alone.

rodger wrote:
I vote B.
And not just because Steven is cute.

um . . . what’s your number rodger?

there were some not so nice ones,
throwing around things like
“be a man”
“get over yourself”
“put on your big boy pants”
“man up”

how did my manhood get caught up in this?
when did cabling become easier than lace?
when did people start taking knitting so seriously?

ultimately, i’m going to bed with a smile on my face.
because little ol’ me,
born in detroit, and raised in the sticks of michigan
caused an international debate.

the great lace debate of 2010.

and queer as my perspective might be
(no wise cracks megan)
i found out some people saw things my way,
and that the definition of lace is debatable.

besides,
whether or not this sweater is eligible for the contest,
i’m still gonna kick their butts.

recovery

May 7, 2010

i’m in a state of recovery.
from my trip to maryland,
and my (second) masters program.

that’s right bitches, i’m graduating.
again.

symptoms?
fatigue, aphasia, loss of time, peeling scalp,
and my room smells like sheep.

course of action?
milk shakes, knitting, find my watch, head and shoulders,
and stay out of my room.

i’m actually doing quite well, and enjoying finding all the pictures of me and my gams floating around the internet.

you can find them on:
linda’s facebook,
kim’s flickr,
anna’s blog,
karen’s photostream,
and elsewhere. i know more people stopped me and asked for my photo than i’ve been able to track down. even with yvonne creating a ravelry thread about them.

but my favorite by far was taken by cristi:

because she kinneared me, and i love her for it.

in knitting news . . .
let’s keep in mind that i’m a relatively new knitter (less than two years),
but there is evidence mounting that my i’m maturing.
for instance, i now have a small stash.
and i have a project that is coming up on its one year anniversary:

my shetland tea shawl.

i find the signs disturbing.
so i’ve decided to fight these manifestations of conventional knitterdom,
and knit the shit out of this before it turns 1.

first step in attaining my goal?
casting on 449 stitches for the stora dimun knit along

(note my yarn ramekin and the perfect alpaca silk soufflé)

what can i say?
i’m a sheep.

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