last year, i went to my first ever fiber festival,
maryland sheep and wool festival ’10.
i knit my hotpants for a lark,
because all the talk of what to make/wear to the festival, well,
i thought people were a little nuts about it.

suddenly it was time for mdsw ’11,
and i had to decide if it was time to iron the hotpants,
or retire them.

i had to ask myself,
am i too old for this shit?
is it time for a little dignity?
or is this a tradition i should embrace?

ultimately,
i said fuck it.
who cares?!

i spent a lot of time on them,
and it hurt my hands to knit them.
(aran weight cotton on 5’s + cables. never again.)
i mean, there are only so many places one can wear handknit hotpants.
as long as my ass isn’t saggy, i’m wearing ‘em!
and if nothing else, they’re über comfy.

of course i realize that wearing them will garner some attention,
and people are going to snap a couple surreptitious pics.
these are some of the pics i could get my hands on:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

there was obviously a lot of kinnearing,
and several people stopped me to ask for a photo,
which i am always happy to do if i can get a copy.
but two encounters really stand out.

the first is when a little boy, adam,
came up to me to ask about the hotpants.
apparently, he’s a little knitters, and he recognized me from ravelry.
this little bugger was totally fearless, asking all kinds pertinent questions.
at first i just answered his queries, talking like i would to any knitter,
until i realized that he looked like he was alone.

“where’s your mother?!” i asked, a little worried and incredulous.
that’s when little adam’s entourage rolled up.
really nice family, totally awesome.
and adam kept right on talking the whole time.
(thanks for the pic guys!)

the other is the “in search of hotpants” tee shirt.
meg and her mother, karen, made and wore the shirt (respectively),
and then made it one of their festival goals to find me.
now that is dedication if i ever saw it.

all in all,
the hotpants and i had a lovely time.
i’m still thinking of retiring them,
or perhaps knitting a new pair.
maybe when i’m thirty.

twenty six in hotpants may be acceptable.
i still have a little crazy youth on my side.
but an anonymous bulge at thirty?
not quite so classy.

either way,
i’ll see you next year, bitches!

a week in three acts.

May 23, 2010

i’m exhausted.
i worked a full week at the shop,
and helped a friend organize her stash.

you’d think with all that yarny goodness,
i’d have some really great blog material.
let me tell you, it’s been a struggle.

so, instead of one cohesive post,
i give three short ones,
and an epilogue.

act one: hotpants lives
as you may recall,
i became semi-infamous for the gams i knitted for this past maryland sheep and wool festival.

(they were pretty cool)

well this past week, our favorite yarn rep informed me that clara parkes had mentioned my shorts on the knitter’s review:

“I saw men in kilts, lambs in halters, women in giant floppy hats, and countless kids being led around in high-tech strollers. I spotted colorful tattoos and brightly colored knitted shorts, grilled lamb burgers and deep-fried corn dogs, kids playing catch on the grass, and nervous sheep being groomed to perfection. It was a weekend to end all weekends.”

i immediately sent an email informing her that it was in fact me in those hotpants, realizing that she might be too busy to respond herself. imagine my surprise when i received this:

“Hi Steven,

The gorgeous orange shorts? That was you? I LOVED THEM!! I was at the Spirit Trail booth when you came by, and I really wanted to ask you for a picture but I feared you’d take it the wrong way. I loved that you paired them with a turquoise shirt. And you looked so much more comfortable than everybody else combined. So I say bravo, and once again I tip my hat to you. Please oh please, keep the inspiration coming.

Take care,

Clara
Knitter’s Review”

the legend of the hotpants lives on.

act two: the international

what’s that?

what’s that i see?

that would be shara,
winner of the bitches get stitches girasole giveaway.

she graciously showed it around london

(if memory serves me this lion lives in trafalgar square)

this was certainly worth every penny of the international shipping to see my knitting on another continent.

i wonder where she’ll take it next.

finale: do not go gentle
in regards to my recent post about my grandma,
i just want to say thank you to all the people who were so supportive in their comments both on the blog and in person.

my dear friend nancy left a particularly beautiful comment,
braving her nemesis the internet to do so:

“3am in the ‘Burgh, reading about musk ox in the arctic tundra, memories of ice and the sound of birds flying guiding a migrating people, memories of your grandma knitting themselves into your heart, the sound of my Swedish mor mor’s voice, the sweater she knit me in junior high…We are connected by these threads; we wrap ourselves in their love. It is always the right thing to do, and you have the heart to tell it. You are a writer!”

thanks nancy.

as an update,
my grandma is out of the hospital
and back in the rehab center of the nursing home.
her appetite has returned, and they hope to get her up and walking again.

if i’m very lucky, she’ll be here to see me turn 26.

epilogue: i am, in fact, a crazy face

if you’ve made it this far, you have the opportunity to get a reward.
in the spirit of de-stashing, i’m announcing the second bitches get stitches giveaway!

the prize:

50g/170yds of pure, french, cashmere deliciousness.

the reason:
it’s been in my stash for a while,
and i still don’t know what the heck to make with it.

the rules:
leave a comment telling me what you will do with the skein,
and whichever idea i love best, wins.
(a rav link might help you)

the winner will be announced in may 30, 2010

fairness factor:
zero.
the last giveaway was completely fair.
this time, it’s completely arbitrary.

hey it’s my blog.

do you want cashmere or not?

recovery

May 7, 2010

i’m in a state of recovery.
from my trip to maryland,
and my (second) masters program.

that’s right bitches, i’m graduating.
again.

symptoms?
fatigue, aphasia, loss of time, peeling scalp,
and my room smells like sheep.

course of action?
milk shakes, knitting, find my watch, head and shoulders,
and stay out of my room.

i’m actually doing quite well, and enjoying finding all the pictures of me and my gams floating around the internet.

you can find them on:
linda’s facebook,
kim’s flickr,
anna’s blog,
karen’s photostream,
and elsewhere. i know more people stopped me and asked for my photo than i’ve been able to track down. even with yvonne creating a ravelry thread about them.

but my favorite by far was taken by cristi:

because she kinneared me, and i love her for it.

in knitting news . . .
let’s keep in mind that i’m a relatively new knitter (less than two years),
but there is evidence mounting that my i’m maturing.
for instance, i now have a small stash.
and i have a project that is coming up on its one year anniversary:

my shetland tea shawl.

i find the signs disturbing.
so i’ve decided to fight these manifestations of conventional knitterdom,
and knit the shit out of this before it turns 1.

first step in attaining my goal?
casting on 449 stitches for the stora dimun knit along

(note my yarn ramekin and the perfect alpaca silk soufflé)

what can i say?
i’m a sheep.

well folks, i’m home and well.

and tired.

and a little crispy.

the weather in maryland was exceptionally sunny and hot.
the result? my fair skin is a bit brown in some places,
pink in many others.

as with many of my big life events, i’m finding it difficult to accurately describe the weekend. (i need to start carrying a dictaphone with me or something)

plus i have two final papers to finish this week so i kinda need to conserve some of my writing mojo. but as always, i’ll do my best.
here goes:

it’s the middle of the night and i can’t sleep.
i’m totally stoked for tomorrow and my mind won’t shut up.
so of course, i edited my “i’m with hotpants” blog post, and did a mini photo shoot.

after which i questioned my sanity, put late night vegas poker on the tv, spread out in my king sized bed, and hugged all six of my downy pillows.

sleep came soon after.

later that same morning . . .

we started out early and beat the traffic.

i left my friends at the fold/socks that rock line, making a bee line for. . .

the fleeces!

now, i’m not a spinner.
but as this was my first fiber festival,
i had this romantic notion that i would own the grand champion fleece.
so i waited in my own line, and put in a stupidly aggressive bid.

i also had what i feel is a pretty realistic fear that i actually wouldn’t win, so i purchased “ike’s” fleece, a border leicester/lincoln/corriedale mix ram from shepherd’s hey farm in comus, maryland.
it’s beautiful and would easily make my black sweater dreams come true.

i then braved the heat, saw some baby sheeps,

and proceeded to buy some lovelies.
not too many though.
i had to be sure i could pay for my fleece if i won.

by noon we were all pooped.

(note the custom “i’m with hotpants” tees made by annette)

unfortunately, i had to wait around ’till 3 to see if i won the silent auction.
so i wandered around some more,

saw some more sheepy things,
drank my weight in lemonade and root beer floats,
and headed to the “big barn” at 2:40 ish.

when i arrived, the gossip amongst the volunteers was that a mysterious man was lurking. last year, he swooped in a bought all the winning fleeces at the last minute.

i was obviously concerned.

when he moseyed into view, the ladies quietly pointed him out.
his wife clearly wanted my fleece,
what with it being an uncoated black merino that won best in show.

the volunteers galvanized their power behind me,
handing me a pen to write in a last minute bid if i needed,
and heckled the couple, warning them of my ire should they try to outbid me.

i gave the interlopers my absolute best evil eye.
those who have met it’s gaze can testify to it’s sauron-like power.
(the few that have survived that is)

with two minutes two go,
it was reported to me that the wife said,
“if he wants to pay that much for it, he can have it.”
my stupidly aggressive bid did the trick, and i walked away with my grand champion fleece. by christmas, expect to see me in gorgeous black sweater of my own making.

i then headed back to the hotel to crash, and sooth sunburned scalp.
after a beautiful thai dinner,
and my first lesson in spindle spinning,
i proceeded to the maryland sheep and wool after party which was conveniently held in my hotel.

when i found out that the epic pakistani wedding also being held in our hotel bumped the after party outside into the parking lot, i should have taken it as a sign that things wouldn’t end well.

here’s the good of it:
there were crazy good prizes,
and i was with my friends.


(anna apparently got some good gossip)

but there were some serious issues:
there were not enough chairs,
or enough light to knit or drool over peoples hand knits.
so we were left to wait,

and wait,

and wait,

and wait some more for the raffle.

and guido, bless him, had pretty much no skills as an emcee
beyond mad geeky enthusiasm
which may have worked against him really.

and of course they did the raffle in two parts meaning,
(god help me)
we had to wait another hour to see if we’d paid for more than and evening of sitting in the dark with our friends with only the hope of a coconut shrimp and fruit skewer to warm out spirits.

of course i didn’t win.
but two of my friends did.
i took my bitter, pouting, sunburn to bed.

the next day,
after a leisurely breakfast in bed,
we made our way back at a more respectable hour to make sure we hadn’t overlooked anything we had to have.

somehow,
i resisted the cashmere,
but left with a gorgeous golding spindle

i don’t spin.

with that crazy purchase, i knew i needed to head home.

and here i am, back in pittsburgh with a pretty impressive haul.

(excuse the unnatural light please in this photo)

did i mention i got some sun?

it’s been a pretty rough week here at bitches get stitches.
i don’t really want to get into too much detail here.
or any detail really.

i’ll just say this:
i’m behind in everything,
my mother is my hero, shouldering the weight of a family crisis,
and my trip to maryland couldn’t have come at a better time.
(or worse depending on how you look at it)

part of my being behind (in everything)
means i didn’t get to set up a proper photo shoot for my gams.

so i brought my trusty tripod,
and took this shot in my hotel room.

(though the tripod made anna wonder if i were making knitting porn)

i will be wearing my shorts to the fairgrounds tomorrow
and my friends will be wearing t-shirts that read, “i’m with hotpants.”
somehow, my dignity remains intact.

anyway, hope to see some of you there.
if you see us, say hi.

till then,
good night bitches!

bottoms up!

April 20, 2010

in ten days, i’ll be headed to the maryland sheep and wool festival.
this will be my first fiber arts festival and i am totally stoked.
(my life is so small. please don’t judge me)

while it’s not as big as rhinebeck,
it’s supposed to be a pretty big deal.

for a while now, i’ve been hearing people (especially certain coworkers) talking about what they’ll be wearing to maryland.
apparently, wearing an exceptional hand knit is key.

i thought it was all about sheep and shopping.
evidently, it’s a “see and be seen” kinda thing too.

so i decided to make these bad boys by craig hunter.
i recently came upon his work on the internets and absolutely love his aesthetic.

so,

do you think i’ll get noticed?

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