December 3, 2012
if you’ve been at this knitting thing long enough,
you’ve probably been exposed to a certain amount of spinning.
you may have even gone down the dark path to bliss that is weaving.
if this is the case,
then you’ve heard of judith mackenzie.
if you haven’t, please do crawl out from under that rock;
it can’t possibly be comfortable under there.
judith mackenzie is a textile ‘goddess’ as they say,
personally, i prefer the term ‘witch’,
but potAYto potAHto, right?
her book the intentional spinner is an invaluable, wee tome,
a must have for anyone who takes their fiber arts seriously.
(for real. go buy it now)
she’s also the artist in residence at the rainforest arts center in forks, washington. or rather,
last month the place burnt down,
taking all her fiber, wheels, and looms with it.
and one can’t really be an artist in residence if, well,
there’s no residence in which to be an artist.
including my good friend tina newton,
the maniacal brain behind blue moon fiber arts.
in order to help raise money for judith,
tina is auctioning off a day with her (and the chickens) in the blue moon dye barn.
this, my lovelies, is the treat of all treats. just imagine it:
a barn is tucked away just outside of portland oregan in the hilly hamlet of scappoose. in the middle of the woods, you see the chimney smoke and hear the of the ladies of the barn, a faint cackling as they dye up some lucky bitch’s sock yarn order. you also hear the gentle clucking of chickens and cheeping of chicks in the distance as tina takes your hand and shows you the magic happiness that is yarn, dye, and vinegar, a joy that has as yet been missing from your life. eight hours later, you walk away with an armful of yarn and a few extra points on the the ‘nice’ side of santa’s list for helping a fellow fiber artist get back on her feet.
(ok so the actual details can be found here, but my version sounds better and is equally accurate)
you have less than a day and a half to place your bids.
this is a serious auction, bitches; they’re not fucking around.
but if you’re looking for a once in a lifetime experience,
and i can guarantee you it will be,
then bid away, bitches!
if a day with tina is out of your budget, check out this website for other ways to help.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!)
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)
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.
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?)
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.
i need to decide soon if i have any hope of finishing by rhinebeck.
i could use the advice.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
** 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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
i hope so!
November 25, 2010
let me just say how thrilled i was to see so many of you guess the book.
knits men want:
the 10 rules every woman should know before knitting for a man
by the stupendously sexist bruce weinstein.
all of you will be getting yarn.
a promise is a promise.
my poor stash!
this book made me so angry so often,
i found it nearly unbearable to get through.
i was constantly shouting things like,
“oh my god! that is so offensive!”
“who the fuck is this guy?!”
“are you kidding me?!”
or simply a high-pitched “AHHHHHHH!!!!”
i know i know.
if something is bad in the knitting world,
we’re supposed to shut up and smile.
fuck that noise!
there’s no way i can keep my mouth shut for this one.
but since eviscerating this book line by line would take too long,
let’s just look at some highlights.
i shall call it, the 10 most offensive excerpts from “knits men want”
1. “When men don’t wear what women make them, they’re just being men−with their own quirky likes and dislikes and an inability to express them. When they abuse the garments knitters make them, they’re still just being men−hardwired not to think about feelings, not to think about how much work went into making them, and not to understand why their behavior is so upsetting. Women can’t expect to change these make characteristics, but they can change what they choose to make for the men in their lives.”
i can’t believe in the new millennium people are allowed to make sweeping, generalized, essentialized statements like this.
2. “Men and women behave differently; we all know this to be true. In general, women cry and men don’t. Women share their feelings and men don’t. And women try on clothes and men don’t.”
sneaky bruce! using “we” as a rhetorical tool in an attempt to put the reader on your side by including them grammatically in your argument. unfortunately all i did was scream, “HOW ARE PEOPLE STILL ALLOWED TO WRITE THINGS LIKE THIS?!”
3. “Ideally, he’ll also try on the sweater you’re making as you go, though this can sometimes take some convincing. Here are a few tricks: [...].
• Never ask him while he’s watching TV, reading the paper, or engaged in some other activity that’s important to him. Instead, ask him to try on the sweater in the morning as he’s getting dressed or in the evening as he’s getting ready for bed. With his clothes off already, he may be more willing.
• Bribe him. If you’re dealing with a romantic partner, tell him you’ll take something off for every piece he puts on.”
yes women, use your sexuality to get what you want.
make sure you teach your daughters this lesson as well.
and honestly. how important can watching tv or reading the paper be? do people even still read the paper?
4. “Rule #6: Men don’t want anything cute−except you.”
got that women?
if you’re not cute, men won’t want you!
so make it a priority.
just not in his sweater.
5. “Women often suffer for fashion−eyebrow tweezing, bikini waxing, chemical peel, stiletto heels−the list goes on and on. [...]. Most men, on the other hand, won’t put up with discomfort for any reason. Dare we call them babies? [...]. For men, comfort trumps fashion and all sentimentality. So what does this tell you? [...]. No matter how much you like a yarn (or how much you paid for it), your guy isn’t going to be interesting in wearing it−no on his back, his feet, or even his hands−if it doesn’t feel good next to his skin. Despite his five-o-clock shadow, calloused palms, and disinterest in romantic comedies, this is one way in which men are sensitive.”
yes women, men are babies. make sure to mother them!
it’s the best way to get what you want
and i hear it’s quite the turn on!
get real bruce!
i think every single woman on what not to wear is guilty of choosing comfort over style. it is SO not exclusively a male trait.
i have worn 7″ platform pumps for an eight-hour stretch. yes by the end of the night, my feet were in agony. but the same is true of my prada loafers. and every day when i came home from my job in the business world, i took off my dress shoes with a loud sigh of release from another day of discomfort.
uncomfortable shit hurts, and we all wear it because it’s socially required of us. when we don’t, we forfeit social rewards for choosing our own comfort over fashion.
6. “Men can’t fake it. Not in bed, or anywhere else. Take him to the ballet on the night of a championship basketball game and he won’t even pretend to enjoy himself. Same story if you knit him a sweater he doesn’t like−he may put it on once or twice to please you, but ultimately, it’s destined for the back of the drawer or the charity pile.”
i have no words.
7. “Men aren’t dainty. Therefore, they need manly buttonholes, which are stronger than standard buttonholes and able to withstand some bullish abuse.
so if you’re male and dainty, you’re not a man.
8. “Women love to impress, stand out in a crowd. Men love to blend in, not call attention to themselves.”
how about theses stereotypes: all those men with fast cars, flashy suits, trophy wives, and all the men of jersey shore. yup. just trying to blend in.
9. “[...] men don’t communicate as well as women do, so you’ll rarely get him to tell you up front what he likes. But if women want to succeed at knitting for men, they’re going to have to find a way to extract this information from the male brain.”
that’s right, i have all these thoughts and feelings and no idea how to tell you. don’t bother asking me. just use subterfuge and elaborate stratagems to figure me out.
to me this cover says, “behind every good man is a good woman”
trained by a bruce weinstein to bend over backwards to change who they are to meet his every knitterly need
some things this book taught me:
• everyone is straight.
there is no room for anyone who isn’t, even in the knitting world.
• women will find fulfillment by spending a lot of time figuring out the needs of their uncommunicative men and then spending hours and hours knitting them something. if they do everything right, they will be rewarded by the men wearing the garment. if not, expect heartache.
• you don’t need a degree in neuropsychology, genetics, human behavior, human biology, gender studies or any other qualification to speak about the complexity that is gender. nor do you have to provide any hard evidence to back up your work. you simply need the y chromosome to speak accurately about male behavior. this will also be all you need to teach women to behave properly.
the thing that is actually so dangerous about this book,
or any book that talks about gender in this way,
is that it is never merely descriptive,
but also prescriptive.
by saying, this is how men are,
you are teaching them how to be.
you are saying, if you want to be a man, you must behave this way.
hearing this over and over makes people believe it to be true.
even if everything he writes describes every man in your life,
it is dangerous and irresponsible to think all men are the same.
if you expect a man to be uncommunicative,
he will be.
if you expect a man to know nothing about fashion,
the sad part is,
there are some nice patterns in this book.
it is well put together, and lovely to look at.
(quelle supris, jared flood did the photography. shame!)
why then must it be coupled with some of the most sexist writing ever?
seriously, i could go on and on.
i won’t because my readers, as few as they might be in number,
have proved they are intelligent.
you don’t need me to point out how outdated thinking like this is.
here’s my final two sense on the subject:
if you found this book as offensive as i did,
ask the owner of your lys to take it off the shelf.
and if anyone in your life doesn’t appreciate your knitting,
man, woman, child, or other,
finally, we have a FO: nancy in her vest:
pattern: dr. g’s memory vest
yarn: wool from isis, a sheep nancy helped to sheer,
spun up by stonehedge fiber mill
a pattern written by a woman for men
knitted by a man for a woman.
how’s that for a knitting gender fuck?
nancy loved it,
and it will keep her warm on thanksgiving day.
November 22, 2010
i can be realistic.
the knitting world is dominated by women.
and there ain’t nothing wrong with that at all.
so it’s not a surprise that there are far fewer knitting books for guys,
and that many are for women to knit for men.
this is all fine.
i can even get over the fact that i’m gonna see a lot of boring grey vests and sweaters designed for men. all this is ok with me, if a little disappointing.
i am currently reading what can only be described
as the most offensive “men’s” knitting book ever written.
it is page after page of stereotypes
that only serve to fullfill themselves!
but before i finish reading this thing,
and writing my scathing analysis of this bitch,
i thought, why not do something positive, right?
so if you can guess the name of the book i’m reading right now,
i’ll send you a skein of yarn.
let the games begin bitches!
edit: contest CLOSED! thanks for playing.
October 1, 2010
before i get to the meat of this post,
i must confess to being a bad friend.
in my last entry
i only thanked my friend annette for my new bag.
but it she wasn’t the only one involved.
my friend zelda also had a hand in my ballsack.
so thanks zelda.
i owe you one.
now for the knitting stuff:
rhinebeck is two weeks away,
and i’m a little behind on my sweater.
i’ve got the sleeves done,
and about ten inches of body.
i have seven more before i join the sleeves
and do the yoke.
when i say it out loud,
it feels impossible.
but keep citing the knitting olympics:
i can do this.
someone please validate me.
i also want to talk about shelter,
brooklyn tweed’s new line of yarn.
about the yarn, he writes:
As the summer ended last year, I began researching answers to very specific questions I had been asking myself for some time: With such a rich textile history and an abundance of wool and other resources, why does it sometimes seem so difficult to obtain American yarns in our booming US knitting community? Would it be possible to develop a 100% American sourced, spun, and designed yarn that could be presented in a compelling way to knitters? What would a yarn look like that was developed from Stage One by a single person with no one to answer to but his own personal wool obsession?
The desire to answer these questions sparked the beginning of a year-long journey – one that begins a new chapter today, as SHELTER takes its first steps into the real world.
SHELTER is a woolen-spun 2-ply yarn made from American Targhee-Columbia fleece, grown in Wyoming. The yarn is spun in historic Harrisville, New Hampshire in the heart of New England, in a mill town that has been producing woolen yarns and fabrics since 1794. I have developed a palette of 17 shades including both rich, autumnal colors as well as natural sheep-colors (you didn’t think I’d forget the greys, did you?) The yarn is a very lightly-spun lofty material that, as a result of it’s woolen-spun process, knits at a variety of gauges comfortably without losing fabric integrity.
Globally speaking, I think that knitters should be able to procure wools of high-quality that support designers, farmers and mills in our own back yard. I think there is now becoming an opportunity for yarns to tell us a story, and offer us a connection to something deeper than just the experience we’re having on our needles.
Consider this my contribution to that cause. I very much hope that you enjoy it.
i think it’s a great idea,
and the yarn is very very yummy looking,
but i just can’t stop myself from naming some worries:
1 – the price. at $12.50 for 140yds/128m,
it’ll cost a small woman about $125 to make a sweater,
and a guy my size like $163.
just for a comparison,
i’m making my rhinebeck sweater out of a yarn from a small mill in michigan, the stonehedge fiber mill.
it’s a 3 ply worsted,
and costs $10 for 250 yds.
that’s about $80 for a sweater for me.
it’s spun worsted
(rather than woolen)
which should cost more right?
(spinners weigh in on this.)
i’m more than willing to spend money on yarn.
but if i’m gonna pay that much,
i want a sweater for life.
which brings me to
2 – a lightly-spun 2 ply (i also need some spinners help on this one)
as i understand it,
being lightly spun
and a 2 ply yarn,
means it will be extra soft.
we in america are obsessed with softness.
(never mind that for thousands of years,
babies have been wrapped in cloth made from wool so scratchy
it would make noro seem like malabrigo)
but lightly spun yarn won’t wear as well, right?
it’s more prone to pilling and felting?
am i wrong?
i believe i remember judith mackenzie saying
that you should always use at least a 3 ply for garments
because it wears better.
more plys equals better durability.
am i wrong?
i think the yarn is lovely.
i’ll probably buy some (for a hat).
but i’m worried.
i’m worried that,
like so many american-made products,
it’s going to be amazing at first,
but isn’t made to last.
i know in the knitting world,
criticizing anyone is taboo.
much less a knitter as beloved as brooklyn tweed.
but i think these are important questions to ask.
the recession has scared the shit out of me,
(and has anyone been watching what’s been going on in europe?).
i feel strongly that, in the world of hobby in which knitting resides,
i feel the need to be extra critical of how i spend my money.
please please please
tell me i’m wrong!
so that i can buy a sweater lot of shelter.
August 30, 2010
“Inspired by the richly textured rock and low-water gardens of the American southwest, Xeriscape is a shaped, scalloped scarf knit in a drapey and luxurious hand-dyed yarn. Worked in garter stitch, Xeriscape looks great in solid, semi-solid, and variegated yarns. The long, narrow shape makes it easy to wrap, tie, and wear in a variety of ways.
Xeriscape is perfect for beginners who are ready to work on shaping through increases and decreases, and still has the thoughtful details needed to make it a breezy, meditative knit for more experienced knitters.”
let me tell you,
there was something about the design i loved immediately.
and i knew i needed to have it when the pattern came out.
but to be able to test knit it? to be one of the first people to ever knit it?
that was special.
since this was going to be my first time test knitting a pattern, (officially)
i vowed to be swift and thorough.
but it wasn’t easy.
first, i had a week deadline.
mary-heather said i could take longer if i needed,
but the pattern was getting published in a week.
being bred from overachieving stock,
everything else got pushed aside.
but when it came time to cast on,
i could not for the life of me find a yarn i liked.
there was just nothing i had on hand that would work,
at least not the way i wanted it to.
and i needed the yarn now.
so i began knitting one in a yarn i thought might work,
but it just didn’t.
i hated my yarn choice
and it killed the design.
the end result was completely unworthy of the blog,
and it’s has been properly shamed and put away.
then, out of the west,
ms. tina newton,
which is ironic i think since she’s a vegetarian.
she had paula tackle the postman,
threaten him with a size q crochet hook,
and sent me this little lovely in record time*
it’s the lovely new yarn marine silk sport in the “spruced” colorway.
(isn’t it crazy how differently silk takes color?)
i wish you could see the beautiful iridescence
the subtle navy hidden beneath the calm green.
it’s beautifully soft and made knitting garter stitch worth it.
it is simply divine.
take a few minutes to stop reading,
and order a sweater lot.
then, as my friend michael would say,
the flames were coming off my fingers as i finished the real xeriscape,
the one i could be proud of,
the one worthy of the blog.
isn’t it lovely?
and in honor of the spirit of mary-heather
and her lovely pup charlie,
i had my mo model the xeriscape
it’s very rare for me to knit for myself,
but this one’s all mine bitches!
go buy the pattern and knit one!
* this version of events may or may not be exaggerated. i can neither confirm nor deny if a postal worker was tackled/threatened.
but the truth is out there.