January 9, 2011
i’m not complaining, really, i’m not.
i am actually loving knitting this sweater.
it’s just that, i consider myself to be a pretty quick knitter,
and this sweater is killing my confidence.
when i woke up this morning, i tweeted,
“i am going to finish this damn sleeve today if it kills me.”
with twenty minutes to go, i don’t think i’m going to make it.
we’re looking at an all nighter here peeps.
i can do it.
i will knit this shit out of this sweater!
it will be done. (by the end of jan i hope)
and casting off will be . . . a revelation.
here i go bitches.
wish me luck!
December 15, 2010
it occurred to me that i haven’t done an actual knitting post in a while.
i feel like i haven’t been as prolific as i was over the summer,
but i think i really burned out on the rhinebeck sweater.
so this is what’s been going on;
for the longest time, i’ve wanted a stephen west stripy neck accessory.
i specifically bought some yarn in rhinebeck for one,
but i couldn’t choose which i most needed in my life.
i finally decided on clockwork and i am in love with it.
the rows have gotten epicly long so i doubt it will be done for nyc.
i’ve turned the corner on the edging,
so i still have hope it’ll be done before 2011.
and of course, there’s the sample i’m knitting for blue moon.
anyone recognize what it is?
i was a little daunted when i saw which pattern i was supposed to knit.
i’ve never done a brioche stitch before,
and every other row is knit with laceweight.
that is some serious pressure.
but i’m a knitter. i can knit anything.
so after some practice, i got the body started.
yes that is the body of the sweater,
and before you say that i am in some crazy place of denial,
here are some important facts you need to consider.
this it the small size, with only 136 stitches cast on.
and it’s a brioche rib so it’s all sucked in.
when stretched, i’m getting gauge.
the fabric is slightly looser than i would normally like,
if i were knitting it for someone, i’d go down a needle size
and knit the next size up to have a denser material.
but i’m already working on 5′s.
there’s no freakin’ way i’m moving down to a 4.
it’s already taken a few days to get 5″ of sweater in.
still, sometimes when i look at it,
i get the fear.
feel free to jump in and validate me at any moment.
in other news, i’m may have something exciting to share in a couple days. hopefully. if things go well. if they don’t forget i ever said this.
in fact go ahead and forget i said anything.
i don’t want to jinx it.
December 10, 2010
the other day, i got an email.
which lead to one of the loveliest phone calls ever.
the specifics of that phone call are unimportant.
let’s just say there were plenty of laughs.
the result of said conversation arrived yesterday:
with this yarn,
i will knit my first sample garment ever
for blue moon fiber arts.
i literally got all misty just now typing that.
it just feels really special, having someone think your knitting is good enough, worthy enough to represent their company. tina is a busy busy woman, and she has poured her soul into blue moon. i mean, it’s literally her home for christ’s sake.
i just feel really honored to be a part of it,
if only in this small way.
and the extra money and yarn support ain’t too shabby either.
i’m going to do the right thing, listen to suze orman,
and put that money right into savings.
(i read the money book for the young, fabulous & broke, all of which i am. it scared the shit out of me.)
oh you didn’t know i had a birthday coming up?
on december 18th, one week before christmas,
i will gain another digit.
to celebrate the end of my youth,
i’m headed to new york in six,
count ‘em, six motha fuckin days bitches!
(it’s my first time, new york. please, be gentle)
how can someone as young, fabulous, and broke as i afford such a trip?
no it has nothing at all to do with cramp in my jaw.
simply put, i’m scamming a free bed off a friend.
actually a friend’s boyfriend.
actually it’s his parents.
i have no shame.
i’m hoping it will be as fantastic as i’m imagining,
and i wonder how it will stack up to paris.
in any case,
the best gifts are still the ones you give yourself.
of course birthday gifts from other people still rule,
and in many cases are implicitly mandatory to maintain a friendship.
if you were wondering what to get for your favorite knit-blogger for their birthday or christmas, here are some suggestions
(purely a hypothetical here)
1 – money. nothing says i love you better, or is more personal than cash. a check or money order is also great, but traceable. better to leave no paper trail. (what? i went to school with mob children)
2 – gift card to a LYS. this says i love you enough to let you spend the money as you see fit, but i don’t want you spending it on drugs or alcohol. wool is much safer.
3 – membership in the 2011 rockin’ sock club. this gift says, i know you have a problem with sock yarn, and i’m totally ok with that. it also says you better knit me some damn socks already.
4 – moisturizer. this gift says, you’re looking pretty . . . fucking old. you need to take care of that hot mess you call a face.
(best birthday card ever tina!)
but if your holiday is going to be as tight as so many americans’
nothing warms the heart of a jaded, grinchy blogger,
like a happy birthday comment.
see you in new york, bitches!
November 8, 2010
to those of you who didn’t win, thanks for playing.
i hope you’ll still keep me on your blogrolls.
if there was a particular skein that you were hoping for,
drop me a line. we’ll work something out.
does this yarn look familiar?
here’s the scoop:
even though we’re both pretty busy,
(tina obviously more than i)
every now and then,
she drops me a line.
or i drop her a line.
i drop her a stack of post-it notes.
in our most recent exchange,
it turns out that she lost the shawl.
she was sick about it, and wasn’t sure if she should tell me.
being a knitter, i immediately offered to reknit it.
i mean, she loved it so much. how could i let her feel bad?
i said my finger was poised above “purchase” button on the BMFA website, and i was ready to dig up the pattern.
she wouldn’t hear of it.
she insisted she give me the yarn.
of course her generosity floweth over
since there is no way i’ll need three skeins.
apparently, the only real way to get rid of stash is to knit it.
any idea what i should do with the third one?
the story doesn’t end there though.
after i got the yarn tina wrote:
“I traced my steps that day over and over and realized that it probably dropped off my shoulders when I headed this toddler off at the pass because her mum was too far behind and not gaining the speed her little girl was.
So I went back to the grocery store that this had happened at a couple of days ago and was about to ask after it when I saw that one of the cashiers had it on.
She was showing it to a customer and was obviously in love and well I couldn’t, I just couldn’t.
I thought you’d understand.
You do right?”
can you believe that?
tina is a bigger knitter than i!
i would’ve snatched that shawl off that cashier
faster than a pissed off queen snatching a wig off.
my answer was obvious.
of course i understand!
tina let the cashier keep the shawl
for the same reason i immediately offered to reknit it.
we knit, at least in part, because we love when people love hand knits.
clearly, the knitting gods work in mysterious ways
and that cashier was meant to have shawl number one.
this time around i’m making sure to say all the right prayers,
lighting extra incense, candles, and such
to make sure this one stays on the intended shoulders.
maybe i’ll send a shawl pin to be safe.
she also hired me to be a test knitter.
can you say, “yarn support”?
can you say, “paid to knit”?!
i’m a lucky lucky man.
stephen houghton of hizKNITS may be the first man on the (blue) moon,
but there were 17 apollo missions, bitches!
September 15, 2010
today i got my shipping notification,
and my yarn will be here soon.
i think i have a crush on you.
(which is more than a little confusing).
p.s. (to the readers) my friend jen is demanding photos of my blocked northern summer shawl. keep your eyes peeled later ok?
i find that sometimes i get writers’ block.
and for days i worry that the few people who actually read what i write on here, will forget me and delete me from their rss feed.
if i’m truly honest with myself,
i know that’s what i’d do.
so i scour ravelry for inspiration.
read a bunch of seriously terrible knitting blogs,
and say to myself, “shit! someone’s got to write something more interesting than that!” (let’s be real. not everyone who knits can write)
then i feel bad, and worry that i’m one of those people.
so i move on, and continue my summer re-reading of stephanie’s blog,
(currently in september of ’04. i’m a bit behind)
and really start feeling bad about my writing.
then i feel blasphemous that,
after only a couple meetings,
i’ve dropped her rightful title,
and i’m referring to her as stephanie.
or worse yet (gods protect me)
the brazen familiarity horrifies me and my sense of knitterly decorum.
then i realize that it’s 3 bloody am and i need to get a grip.
(i blame an overdose of lasagna)
and suddenly it dawns on me i have too much in the way of knitterly things to write about currently, and i’ll just have to do my best to cover it all.
you may remember my boast of starting a blog project called “project ten” where i pose ten questions to what i call the ravelry generation.
it’s basically those fibery people who inspire me, who i want to meet, or i’m jealous of.
that kind of thing.
i’m happy to announce that the first installment comes out this week.
i am thoroughly stoked.
back in early may,
i undertook a stupid challenge.
two of my fellow worker bees started a knit along;
the stora dimun knit along.
as someone who generally wants to fit in,
i thought about joining in the supposed “fun”
but with a shawl that begins with 449 stitches,
i knew i couldn’t afford the yarn,
and couldn’t think who would want the finished item.
my dear friend kelli, whom i love,
said she wanted it but would never knit it.
at least not in a timely manner.
kelli is my mother-sister-auntie,
from day one she’s been like family in a state where i have no kin,
there was no question that i would knit this for her.
plus she was springing for the yarn.
so i’ve been unbelievably unfaithful to it.
i’ve worked on it off and on, but with little joy.
i cast it aside heartlessly for the juneberry for stephanie,
and knit only one row when i was on my retreat.
i decided when i got home,
a meer seven days ago,
i’d work on it furiously,
to honor my love for the kelli,
and to get the fucker off my needles.
it’s all i am going to knit till it’s done.
three days ago i cast on another juneberry triangle.
another gift for a semi-secret recipient.
my roomie will attest that i have declared my personal motto of this summer to be, “i have no shame.”
this is a case in point.
(stats – blue moon luscious silk in the “manly yes, but i like it too” colorway, size 7 (4.5mm) needle)
i think i’ll go knit a row on kelli’s shawl.
but before i go, i want to leave you with a tid bit of gossip.
you may remember that several people have complained about the second chart of the juneberry triangle, i being one of the loudest. the chief complaint is i paid a ton of money for this little canadian magazine, and i deserve a fullly charted pattern, not “work the established pattern into the shawl as new stitches become available remembering that you can only work the yarn over if there are enough stiches to do it’s corresponding decreases.”
don’t even get me started on yarn overs and corresponding decreases!
however! floating around the internets is a copy of the complete second chart, a document supposedly elimnated by the st-denis magazine’s tech editor.
i may or may not have it in my possesion
and i may or may not be able to tell you where to get it.
all i can say is,
if you want to knit this pattern without tears,
find yourself a copy.
à bientôt bitches
July 14, 2010
i’m finding it difficult to understand, much less describe, my experience at the knot hysteria silk retreat.
living up to its name,
i learned loads about silk
and was given the time to withdraw from the everyday.
i can’t remember i time when i focused so intensely on one thing, or when i heard so much laughter in such a small space of time. i met some crazy amazing women who were both everyday people and unbelievable artists. i was stunned at the level of skill, creativity, and expertise that surrounded me, not only from our teachers, but from my fellow students. it was humbling really to recognize that, while i can effectively execute a knitting pattern at a fairly high level, my knowledge of fiber arts is minimal.
i learned that i know nothing.
but i suppose a more detailed approach would make for a better read, so here i go.
we learned about the chemical makeup of silk in order to understand why it behaves the way it does in relation to dying.
and then we got to go to town.
we dyed a skein each of silk thread,
silkie socks that rock,
some silk top,
and three silk hankies.
it’s hard to pick just one,
but i think hers was my favorite class.
it gave me the chance to access a creative part of my brain that doesn’t get much action. dying the various forms of silk,
and thinking about color in general,
was like eating a perfectly cooked steak,
or that feeling you have when someone rubs your shoulders,
releasing a tension you never knew you had.
dying filled up a space in me,
and a pretty big space in my stash.
(i also increased my stash at the little store they had. there’s no photo cuz knitters know where i live, and there’d be a yarn related b&e in pittsburgh)
i was one of the people who learned to spin to come to the retreat.
i took lesssons, and practiced every chance i got.
and while i wasn’t in the financial position to purchase a wheel,
judith let me use one of hers.
of course, everything i learned went right out the window.
let me explain.
according to judith, spinners have one of two souls.
either you’re naturally a woolen spinner or worsted
for those of you who don’t spin,
think of it as english vs. continental
or being right or left handed.
you’re brain just likes one or the other.
apparently, i’m a woolen spinner.
with some crossed wires since i use my left hand to control twist
even though i’m right handed.
which meant i was at a disadvantage since silk “should” be spun worsted.
so i was at square one all over again.
but i came to learn and learn i did.
i can’t even begin to collate everything i learned about spinning.
but this i know for sure;
after extensive observation,
i’m convinced judith is some sort of witch.
good or bad, she’s the witch of pacific northwest
i’d bet my life she’s the one who taught rumplstiltskin how to spin straw into gold.
my last day was knitting with stephanie
this was the class i felt most prepared for;
knitting was supposed to be my strong point.
it turned out to be the most frustrating of all my classes.
she kept throwing sample after sample of different yarn blends at us to knit, and my hands couldn’t keep up with the pace at which my mind was moving.
have you ever tried to knit a lace swatch with silk thread?
i almost cried!
and knitting with silk hankies??
really pretty effect
but not so easy.
(here’s one hanky layer stretched to the max)
i probably learned more about knitting from stephanie in a few hours than i think i have in the past 6 months.
have you ever heard that casting on over a larger needle (or two needles) will help if your cast on is too tight?
that is only true if you’re doing a single strand cast on!
such as knitted, cable, or crochet cast on.
if you do some form of the long tail cast on,
casting on over larger needles will not make your cast on edge looser!
i know what you’re all saying.
i said the same thing pretties.
i don’t have the ability to draw the picture necessary to prove it to you.
here’s what I’ll say: only one of your strands of a long tail cast on goes over needle itself, making a loop. the other only wraps around that loop underneath the needle and is therefore unaffected by the size of the needle. while the loop itself may be larger because you’re using more yarn, the edge will not be because you use the same amount.
do it yourself.
that evening after dinner was show and tell.
people brought some stunning things that they had made.
i orginally planned on giving stephaine the juneberry triangle then,
but upon further consideration,
it seemed really gauche.
so i gave it to her earlier, when no one was looking.
it was a moment i’ll remember,
and i’m glad it wasn’t public.
i’m home now,