vote, bitch!

November 6, 2012

while bitches get stitches officially endorses president barack obama,
all i care is that you actually go out and vote.
the only reasonable excuses for not voting are:

a) you’re in a coma (wake up!)
b) you’re not a citizen (ok fine)
c) you didn’t register (shame on you!)

anything else is just laziness.
so get off your ass and get to the polls, bitches!

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.

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.

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.

knitting archaeology

August 3, 2012

we all have skeletons in our closets.
as dude who grew up with pack rats,
mine is perpetually at capacity.

my recent retirement at my parents house*
allowed me to wade through and eliminate some of the actual crap
that my room has accumulated over the past twenty-seven years.
in the depths of my closet i discovered, among other things**,
a horrifying treasure from my knitting past.

that’s right.

i found my first knitting/yarn.
i thought it long lost, cast off and out of my life.
i should’ve*** known this yarn would haunt me for all of my days.

if you dig around my blog somewhere at the beginning,
you can find the story of how i first learned to knit.
i won’t reiterate that (awesome) story, now.
iet’s just say it was two in the morning,
i had a limited selection from which to choose,
and i like green.

because i love you, blog, so very much, and maybe because no amount of sin can ever wash the catholic completely from my blood, i feel compelled to confess my most grievous of knitterly sins to you. i just hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive me for buying this yarn.
t’was ignorance, the folly of youth.

however, i refuse to post a photo of that yarn on this blog.
that shame would be too great to endure.
rather,
i’ll link you to it;
follow at your own risk!
post continues after the jump. nsfw!

>exhales<

i think i'll be ok now.
i needed to get that off my chest.

seriously, though, i was totally happy to unearth this yarn.
how many people have the first thing they've ever knit?
(don't burst my bubble and tell me it's a totally common occurrence)
and while the idea of finishing the project is beyond appalling,
i'm happy to keep this fun fur on their size 10½ boyes
rather than quietly disposing of the evidence.

just know that my time on the dark side was short lived,
and i quickly purchased some much better yarn.
(angry cat mug from danmade. totally ripping off cauchy’s style)

that’s right.
i found my second piece of knitting/yarn, too!
the seed of a stash that never grew.

there’s no ball band for this yarn,
but the receipt says its an alpaca/silk/cashmere blend.
(talk about going from yarn zero to sixty, right?)
though, the astute observer can still tell this is the work of newbie.
notice the yarn is still in a hank and i’m knitting directly from the skein!

i can’t tell you the number of times i’ve warned new knitters never to do this unless they want tangles and heartbreak,
and yet, somehow, it worked out for me.
i guess when you don’t know any better,
you just go for it.

go figure.

sadly,
shortly after knitting that patch of garter,
i stopped knitting.

there were a lot of reasons, really;
the yarn was wicked pricey, and i thought if this is what real yarn cost, i was in trouble (i didnt realize of course, there was a range of yarns from which to choose) more than that, i didn’t have a positive experience with the store from which i bought it.

but if i’m honest, all of that didn’t matter.

it was the purl stitch.

this was back before you could google anything and learn how to do it from watching a video online. (i think it’s important to remember such times) i don’t know how i was learning to purl, but it wasn’t working. years later i would realize the crucial information that was missing was to move the yarn forward.

constantly doubling one’s stitch count
whilst knitting green fun fur
would make anyone quit.

i’m just glad it was only a temporary condition.

à demain, mes amis!

*i always write ‘home’ and mean ‘my parents house’, but it confuses people. i makes me sad to have to make a distinction.

**like my louis vuitton shoes, bitches!! i miss the old economy. *sigh*

***for all you fellow grammar nazis, i’ve noticed a trend among my students. they write could’ve/should’ve etc. thusly: could of. i remember one student being shocked when i corrected them. makes me want to die.

on my table

June 21, 2012

in case any of you worried about my week-long silence,

fear not!

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
lifting,
cleaning,
sorting,
swearing,
sweating,
bickering,
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.

this evening,
i’ll catch you up.
let’s see what’s on my table, shall we?

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.

still,
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.

and look!
i still have a whole other skein!
note that this is an older skein of luscious silk, over 300 yards.
newer ones only have 218 yards

this weekend,
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,
right?

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.

sock progress as of last night:

sock progress as of this afternoon:

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
7.5″ total.

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.
introductions.
university-themed vocab.
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:

compelled

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’

normally,
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”

now,
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.
in fact,
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
i must.
knit.
socks.

a few episodes of deadliest catch and boom!
a sock is born.

nothing else seems to matter.
i must make these socks.
i’m obsessed.

is this how you sock knitters feel all the time?

copper lines

June 2, 2012

(this was my attempt to take a weaving photo à la the daily purl)

i say it all the time:
almost everything i make is for someone else.
i’ve made a few things for someone in particular,
but the last couple knits didn’t seem to impress.
it wasn’t that s/he didn’t like them
or didn’t appreciate them.
they just didn’t wow,
which is,
of course,
the goal;
i want the person to love what i’ve made.
so i’m thinking perhaps weaving is the way to go,
just a plain scarf in one of his/her favorite colors.
i even have some luscious silk in my stash that will work nicely.
it’s going to be fucking gorgeous, regardless.

hey weavers:
any tips for weaving silk?
i’ve only woven with wool before
which i know is a much more forgiving fiber.

speaking of making things for people i like,
i cast this little buddy on the other day:
this is going to be for debra m.
we’ve only met a couple of times
but she’s always been so kind to me,
especially at times when i felt a little vulnerable.
frankly, if you met debra and didn’t like her,
i’d question whether or not you were human.

so when she expressed interest in this particular rare gem,
i decided immediately that i would knit something for her.
unfortunately, nothing i found the ravelry machine was right.
(god bless ravelry, but it does fail us now and then)

frustrated, i decided i would take this opportunity to try to design something. i’ve had exactly two design ideas in my entire life and, as we all know, nancy bush stole my other one. this cowl isn’t going exactly as planned, but i still think i like it. if the next part goes well, i’ll be home free. maybe i’ll even publish the pattern.

maybe.

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