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,
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.
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.
May 28, 2012
almost three years ago,
when i was but a novice knitter,
i cast on my very first lace project.
inexperience kept me from finishing;
i didn’t have the fortitude for the epic rounds.
i didn’t have the knowledge to correct mistakes in complicated lace,
nor did i have the skill to catch mistakes before they needed fixing.
basically, i just didn’t know enough about lace
to tackle this level of project.
my yarn choice should be evidence enough of my ignorance.
i feel it’s time to wrap this bitch up.
i can no longer allow this project to go unknit.
and i finally, finally am on the lace edging!of course, this edging is completely counterintuitive,
by which i mean,
it goes against all my previous lace edging experience.
ignoring the fact that the pattern tells you you’ll need to fudge the end,
a fact i find beyond infuriating
the fucking thing goes backwards!
every single lace edging i’ve ever knit moves counterclockwise;
this means you knit your row with the last stitch of the edging knit together with a stitch from the shawl. in this edging, you move clockwise which requires you to slip a stitch from the shawl from the right hand needle to the left, then you knit it together with the first stitch of the edging, and then complete that row of the edging.
this is perhaps a confusing unhelpful explanation,
and i don’t have the inclination to make a video.
suffice it to say it’s a stupid way to attach a lace edging;
it just. doesn’t. flow.
p.s. stay tuned for a weaving f.o.
May 26, 2012
my original goal was to blog every day
while i was in the greater portland area.
i also promise myself i’m going to eat better and exercise.
let’s get real for a moment,
and see if i can tell you about my trip.
hmm . . .
day one was a beach adventure/excursion/extravaganza,
a sunny day of photography, sandy toes, and general irreverence.
and of course what day at the beach is complete
without a dead sea lion in a front loader?(sea corpse has a very distinct scent)
i spent the day with tina and her two lovely daughters
who reminded me that teenagers are really just adults
with fewer miles under their belt.
(is that a mixed metaphor?)
the rest of my days were a blur of
i managed to finish up my spruce forest shawl,
and the rain gave way just long enough for a photoshoot.
i even found a couple models to zhoosh up the shot.
the yarn is marine silk sport in the ‘spruced’ color way.
i’ve given up trying to photograph the true color of this yarn;
the silk content and sea cell make it impossible for an amateur like me.
what i love about this color way is that the dye breaks at some point in the process, leaving patches of blue and yellow in the yarn. this process is apparently unpredictable, and therefore the color way has been discontinued. blue moon will, of course, make it upon request. i highly recommend it, especially in this yarn. just make sure to get it all at once if you want your skeins to be at all similar.
this shawl is beautiful when finished,
but the beauty is matched by it’s fussiness.
i do not care for nupp-knitting,
or the bottom up construction.
it was, however, worth it;
the results speak for themselves.
with one shawl completed,
i decided to dust off my shetland tea shawl.
it was the first lace project i ever cast on
and will soon celebrate its third birthday!
i can’t abide its w.i.p. status any longer.
so i grabbed a cat and got to work.
the cat was really there for moral support.
she’s not good for much else.
but even with the support of a cat
i could barely complete a round a day.
those last few rounds have so. many. stitches!
knitting all those stitches
i became hyper aware of the silence,
the sound of the rain falling on the deck,
heck, i could even hear the humming birds at the bird feeder!
apparently, i must’ve had a crazed look in my eye or something
because tina could tell i was getting a little stir crazy.
so she put me to work in the barn.
i learned a heck of a lot in there,
most of which i can’t tell you.
what i can tell you is
it’s fucking hard work.
i can almost guarantee none of you realize how much work actually goes into the whole process, unless maybe you’ve worked in a factory. i worked about a half shift and i was pooped.
it’s basically a yarny sweatshop in there.
(literally. it’s hot in the barn)
that little bit of work really helped me to appreciate just how special hand painted yarns are. we’re lucky to knit in a time when we have easy access to such beautiful yarns. i would much rather give my money to people who are working their asses off to make something unique and special. i know exactly where my money’s going and, to me, it’s worth the cost. but that’s just me.
we ended my visit with a binge at gino’s.
if you live in or around portland,
you must go to gino’s
the tiramisu alone is worth it.
we chose gino’s because deb accuardi owns it and also works at blue moon.
she’s an amazing cook, knows a heck of a lot about gardening,
and had been cracking my ass up all week.
if you meet her,
ask her about her salamander story.
i almost peed in the car when she told it.
(i want that tiramisu recipe deb. stat!)
i think that just about covers it.
. . .asking myself why i don’t live in portland.
May 16, 2012
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.
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.
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.
April 11, 2012
for some reason i can’t sleep.
and since i can’t bring myself to do ‘real’ work,
i thought it’s high time i attended to my beloved blog.
that’s steven jr. and his mother lucy.
as you can see,
he’s growing up quite well.
though still a mama’s boy, apparently.
i know nothing of alpaca maturation or culture
but shouldn’t he be smoking behind alpaca high by now?
you can’t have much fun snuggled up to mommy.
in yarn news,
march sock club came!the color way is ‘budding twig’ in socks that rock medium weight.i had my reservations about this skein.
first, i never choose such highly variegated yarn.
second, i never choose colors this bright and perky.
third, pink is my nemesis.
but i believe i’ve come to trust tina’s judgement
at least when it comes to color.
so i decided to challenge myself
and cast something on.
in my first two attempts,
i tried to avoid pooling, flashing, puddling,
or any other word for ‘color accumulating in fabric’ that i despise.
both times a failed but learned some things:
garter stitch in the round with sock yarn held double is hideous.
holding two strands of sock yarn for a 2×2 rib is gorgeous!
but is quickly ruined when one transitions into stockinette stitch.
finally i said fuck it,
and decided to let the yarn do it’s thing.
mindless knitting is all i can handle at this point.
and so i began a largish cowl.
mostly stockinette stitch
with enough purl rows thrown in for interest
and to keep the sucker from becoming a big fat neck doughnut.
of course, the colors began pooling
but in a cool, interesting way.
every row stacked up such that
i became mesmerized.
i was in love.
and not only did i love it, i got it.
i understood how the colors went together.
tina is a color witch.
do not cross her.
but just like how god punishes you for not praying, (grew up catholic)
the knitting goddess punished you for lack of knitting.
soon the yarn started pooling differently
and not in a good way.
and! not only did my purl row placement do nothing to curtail curling
they made the cowl look fucking ugly.
thus no photos.
and so, i’ll start over again soon
(when i regain my inner strength)
however! i have one final plan
to avoid the pain of unwanted pooling.
as far as i know, the only antidote for pooling
is heavy texture.
am i right?
will some seed/moss/broken rib do the trick?
finally, a f.o.
one that’s been done for a while now.
i just haven’t had time to clean a surface off
i just had to be home when the sun was up to take a photo.
yarn – blue moon fiber arts twisted in ‘grawk’ color way
this project didn’t go exactly as planned either,
but i am in love with the finished product.
it’s about 9′ long (i swear it grew when it hit water).
i was going for 7′ and thicker,
but i wouldn’t change it for world.
bundled it about my neck, it looks perfect.
i just have one final decision to make:
do i leave the scarf as is, saving it for christmastime
OR do i seam together with that last yard to make an infinity scarf.
cons: me no like seaming
my slipped stitch edge would be for naught
i won’t have that yard as an impressive reminder of major mojo.
pros: it’s a reversible process
potential for enhanced über coolness.
admonishments for lack of writing?
i can take it.
March 18, 2012
believe you me,
the post i wrote was fucking hilarious.
you might even have called it bitches get stitches gold.
but it’s gone.
should i try to recreate it?
will it come off as artificial?
what if i hadn’t even told you?
would you have noticed something was missing?
that ‘thing’, that quality of spontaneity in all my best posts?
i’m not rewriting it.
here’s the spark notes version:
getting yarn as a gift no longer makes me happy.
rather, i see it as an unwittingly hostile act.
i live in a tiny apartment.
my stash is full.
i have no time to whittle it down
to add something new, no matter how beautiful.
so while when tina sent me yarn for my birthday/christmas
i was initially overjoyed by it’s timeliness
and my unexpected adoration for the grawk color way,
i soon realized there was no room in my blue moon bin for more yarn.
those two skeins just sat on my work table
mocking me every time i passed them by.
the twisted skein was particularly shameless.
it flashed its junk.
the mopsy was more reserved.
it only showed a little side boob now and then.
well i refuse to be mocked by wool!
so i put that twisted skein on my swift
and started winding that bitch.
that skein has some generous yardage.
so i realized my winder wouldn’t be able to take it.
i knew i’d have to finish winding it by hand.
(this ain’t my first time at the rodeo!)
what i didn’t foresee, was that
this skein would break my shitty knit picks winder.
yes folks, my winder is now
undeterred, i slid the skein to my nostepinne
(can some give me a definitive spelling on that word?)
and wound the shit out of that skein.
i shed no tears for the crappy piece of plastic.
i wouldn’t give the skein the satisfaction.
but what to knit with it?
i already have the shawl
for those five minutes a week i can knit something complicated.
i needed something easy,
something i can knit in dark
when i’m at the film collective
or between sections.
but the thought of, say, a ribbed scarf
made me want to commit suicide.
the skein would want that.
and i won’t let it win.
the colors are distributing in a way i adore.
if i’ve done my math correctly, it’ll be a little more than 6′ long.
and with the extra yardage, i’m hoping it will be more stole than scarf.
veronica already called dibs.
here is where i had a perfect, witty segue to tell you about some new socks in my life. it was inspired and tied together two seemingly unrelated topics. but fuck it. it doesn’t work now.
here they are:
no, i did not knit these.
they were knit by the official sock knitter of bitches get stitches:
weirdy pants jen
i love jen for many reasons.
many a giggle fit was had over a funny look
or our shared views on parenting, and how you’re doing it wrong.
(really, we owe our friendship to our mutual friend, bessie, god rest her)
but it takes a special kind of knitter to knit socks
just because you ask them to.
they are slightly too big
by which i mean,
they fit perfectly.
by which i mean,
they have no ease,
positive or negative.
socks should have a tad of negative ease.
and while i’ve heard rumors of success with shrinkage,
that’s just not a concept i’m comfortable pursuing.
instead, they will be my new bed socks.
my favorite pair snagged on a trip to the lou
leaving a big hole in the foot.
these are a perfect replacement.
there you have it, folks.
a shadow of it’s former glory,
but a post nonetheless.
ps dear tina,
ignore everything i posted above. it’s all lies. send me all your yarn whenever you please. a space just opened up on my work table!
March 2, 2012
here’s an expert tip for conference goers:
putting the butter packet in the condom pocket of your jeans
is a great way to make it spreadable.
so long as you don’t forget it’s there.
then you’ll have a melted butter mess
and permanent stain on your jeans.
i’ll let you imagine which scenario happened to me this morning.
(and yes, i’m wearing jeans at a conference. i figure if a dude on my panel can wear jeans and a ribbed sweater from the early 2000’s while giving his paper, i can wear jeans when i’m not giving a paper)
February 27, 2012
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 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
but there were some cool things that happened.
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.
when i arrived a the symposium,
ann cvetkovich sat next to me!
we chatted about the talk,
(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.
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.
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.
February 23, 2012
my first day in stockholm, i slept.
i had all these plans of things to do,
places i wanted to go before the symposium began.
because the week leading up to my trip
contained 12 total hours of sleep.
i can’t easily sleep on planes
so my body said, “hey!”
“this bed is super comfy!”
“we’re hanging out here for a while.”
while this meant skipping the gay fun that can only be found on a saturday night, it was probably for the best.
the next day was my favorite because i got to indulge in my favorite of european activities: wandering around the city in the early early morning and just looking around.
i left just before sunrise.
it’s part of my rules of engagement.
then i just wandered, passing people cleaning, stumbling drunk, walking their dog, or coming home from the previous night.
the feeling of the architecture in stockholm is odd.
the older buildings seem like a mix of parisian and russian.
clearly, a lot of the older buildings are gone
creating an odd juxtaposition of old and new.
i found it to be . . .
the most distinct memory i have of that morning is of a sweet smell i couldn’t identify. it was like carmel cooking or cotton candy. something sugary, sweet. i tried to follow my nose, as it were, but i never found the source. i wonder what it could have been.
after a little nappy poo,
i met up with a new swedish friend
and we saw some sights.
but that’s tomorrow’s story.
**i bet you want to see what knitting i got done, don’t you? patience, bitches!