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 11, 2012
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!
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?
January 15, 2012
January 10, 2012
how much i love getting packages?
because i really, really do.
back around my birthday,
when i was in new york turning twenty seven,
a package was sent to my old pittsburgh address.
(this happens when someone moves as often as i do)
it was from blue moon fiber arts.
generally speaking, i know when a package is coming from blue moon
because, generally speaking, i’ve placed an order with them.
not so in this case.
(i think i remember getting a little aroused)
luckily, veronica still lives at the old abode.
i knew it was going to be a while before it was sent on to me,
since, with all the holidays, veronica wasn’t there to forward it.
yesterday, it finally arrived on my stoop. i may have squeed.
(note: can you imagine being me, knowing you have a package, and then having to wait for three whole weeks to get it? brutal)
then i thought of the blog, as i often do.
i thought, this is totally blog worthy; it must be blogged.
(i have so little material these days)
but it was dark out when i got home
and therefore i couldn’t take a good photo.
so i waited.
yes people, i waited until the sun came up so i could properly document the moment and share it with you all.
i believe this shows some growth on my part.
(i need to ask frankie for a refresher on how to shoot true colors)
regardless, these colors are perfect.
you can never go wrong giving me a green,
but this deep purpley blue has this acid yellow on the back
that just. kills me.
the crazy thing is i’ve been planning my rhinebeck sweater
(yes i know rhinebeck is in october, but i will not fail this year)
and i wanted to try knitting some mopsy for it.
it seems like it might be meant to be.
but i kinda don’t want to knit this yarn.
it might go into the precious ‘keep forever’ section of the stash.
we shall see.
the card is unsigned,
but the sender has the handwriting of a serial killer.
that can only mean it came from one person.
edit: i just looked up the description for grawk – raspberries in pond scum drowned in black. loud and just a wee bit obnoxious. attention is what he craves and he will get it. from the primordial ooze, he has risen to wreak a bit of havoc. trickster? definitely! hmmm
November 29, 2011
on dec 1,
the bitches get stitches world aids day project will go live.
i could never have pulled this off without the help of my gracious sponsors. they run the gambit from big yarn companies, to independent dyers & designers, to some of my favorite knitter/friends.
with their help, i have gathered an amazing array of loot to give away to raise money for the pittsburgh aids task force.
make sure to be here on december 1 to find out how you can enter to win one of these amazing prizes.
***you will only have the 24 hour window on world aids day to enter, so make sure you’re here on dec 1***
below is just the list;
there will be a gallery of photos for you to drool over later.
1. 5 e-patterns
sponsor – spillyjane
2. 3 e-patterns
sponsor – jane richmond
5. 1 skein manchester sock yarn in the ‘kimuru’ color way & 1 braid of 80/20 merino silk top in the ‘pasch’ color way.
sponsor – into the whirled
6. a pair of herrevott man mittens, hand-knit by misa erder & a copy of her original pattern, vagabond fingerless mitts
sponsor – misa erder aka craftivore
7. 3 skeins of handspun yarn – 1, 2, & 3
sponsors – yarn old kim, sarah aka paknitwit, and natalie servant designs
8. 1 sock pattern of your choice and one skein of sock yarn to knit it
sponsor – blue moon fiber arts
10. 1 skein abstract fiber hepburn in marionberry color way
1 skein abstract fiber picasso in smith rock color way
2 patterns from fibre isle international, suitable for dk weight yarn
3-1 oz packettes unicorn power scour
1-2 oz jar woolen rabbit hand cream
3 jul pedestal buttons
1 stonewall bonnet pattern, plus the yarn to make it, snuggle, from the alpaca yarn company
sponsor – yarnsuperhero llc
14. 2 skeins of wabi sabi yarns trumpet vine dk in magenta hibernating colorway, & three patterns: lilas cardigan, gemma, & cloudy sunday
sponsor – hilary smith callis
15. 1-4oz braid of yarn hallow mixed merino top in the ‘red rocks and spruce’ color way
sponsor – the spinning loft
17. ebook subscription for knitspot’s upcoming “bare naked club”
sponsor – knitspot
18. $15 gift card for knitspot’s online pattern store
sponsor – knitspot
19. $15 gift card for knitspot’s online pattern store
sponsor – knitspot
23. 1 pair of hand-knit socks knit with silkie socks that rock, hand dyed by me.
sponsor – yours truly
whew! now that’s a list, bitches!
September 6, 2011
i took a wee break from reading what i’m supposed to read,
to catch up on those few blogs that make me smile.
but when i came to tina’s blog,
i could feel the cold-wet of tears in my eyes.
truly good blogs are a scarce these days,
blogs that post regularly enough to satisfy
and with quality content to merit their existence.
i try to share as much of myself on here as is safe.
i try not to hold back. (hell i was even naked once)
and it’s rare to find someone brave enough to expose themselves in that way, to let perfect strangers have access to your life
in a genuinely personal way.
and here we have tina,
not only writing a post so raw it moved me,
but sharing her life experiences in the colors she gives us.
a rare gem indeed.
don’t take it for granted.