rhinebeck pregame

October 14, 2011

andrea, one of the world’s best yarn reps,
and i, your humble blogger,
have arrived at our motel
in newburgh, new york.
(i’m in love with this incandescent motel lighting!)

there’s a little time left
before we’ll start foraging for food.
so i thought i’d just do a little rhinebeck pre-game.

1. i’ve made significant progress on my rhinebeck vest,but i realize, now, finishing it by tomorrow is impossible. i’m not even sure i spun enough yarn for it. in any case, it’s still my rhinebeck vest, and i’ll be working on it as much as possible this weekend. anyone who wants to knit a courtesy row or two for me tomorrow need only ask. (i don’t have a cable needle, though)

2. like last year, i’m a square for rhinebeck bingo,
and as part of the fun, i thought i’d give away my dustland hat.the first person who a) has me on their bingo card b) stops me to check me off of their bingo card and c) asks for the hat will get it.

3. i have a couple photo projects i’d like to undertake. the first will be “the beards of rhinebeck” since it was so much fun in maryland. the second is “nips with steven”. that project will be photos of my friends and readers who take a nip from my whisky bottle that i plan to smuggle in. are you brave enough to take nip at rhinebeck?

4. is anyone else going to stand in line to get a signed copy of the yarn harlot’s new book? is it worth the hassle of dealing with a frenzy of crazy-ass knitters? i’m on the fence.

5. i plan to go to saturday’s ravelry meetup. is everyone else going? is it too dorky? and if so, do we care?

i think that’s all. coming to rhinebeck is a kind of pilgrimage for me, and, even though this is going to put me way behind for my next week of school work and grading and i might find myself crying by wednesday, it’s totally worth it.

right?

last night,
i cast on a project.
i knew the answer to my funk lay in a shawl,
but hours on ravelry left me feeling rather hopeless.
nothing inspired me.

then, for whatever reason,
i gave this shawl a second glance,
and bitches, i have found my mojo!
yarn – madelinetosh pashmina in the glazed pecan colorway.
pattern – baltic blossoms lace shawl.

let me tell you,
it feels good to be back!
it’s like that feeling when a cold breaks,
and you can finally take a deep breath again.

i was creatively congested!

then this morning,
i woke up to the following e-mail:

Dear Steven:

Thanks so much for your inspiring blog post. Because of you, we have received over $400 dollars in donations! Thank you for getting yourself tested, and thank you for your amazing support of Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force!

Emma McAfee
Development Associate
Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force
5913 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15206

that was a great way to begin my day.
thank you to everyone who contributed,
not only to pittsburgh aids task force,
but to their local testing centers.
that $400 will pay for 10 tests.

your generosity makes me feel like maybe the effort i put into this blog isn’t a fruitless endeavor, that maybe people are listening.
so thank you.

and congratulations to faye.
the random number generator selected you,
and my skein of handspun is yours.
you better knit with it!

i actually cast on a second shawl.
i’m not sure if i’m allowed to show you it,
but better to ask forgiveness than permission, right?
it’s the beginning of a test knit from westknits book three

that’s all i’ll say.
the cashmere mafia’s listening.

lucky

July 7, 2011

around the beginning of each month,
i go and get an hiv test.

i’m a gay dude in his 20′s.
it’s only practical.

and even though i should be used to it by now,
it’s a surreal experience every time.

as i sit in the little testing room,
making small talk with the lovely tester,
all i can think about is how very lucky i am.
not just because, so far, i always test nonreactive,
but because there exists a place where i can literally walk in off the street, say i want to get tested, and in thirty minutes or less, i walk out with an answer.

anonymously.

free of charge.

i grew up in the era when aids decimated the gay population in america, but i was really too young to be aware of what that would mean for me now.

it destroyed a way of life,
a connection to history,
the chance for the children of today know their elders.
all i have are ghosts stories, and the few “lucky” ones who survived.

it changed everything,
and i find myself mourning
as i imagine someone mourns a parent they never knew.

i get really choked up about it sometimes.

and during the twenty minutes i sit there
waiting to see if there’s one line or two,
i never think about my own results.
i only wonder
why the waiting room isn’t full?
why isn’t there a line out the door?
are people really that scared to know?
or are they so naive as to think they couldn’t test positive?
i think about the millions, millions who had to die
so that i can sit here,
pay nothing,
and know.

it’s not like hiv and aids have gone away.
but i don’t hear people talk about it anymore.

i don’t get it.

there’s a lot of things i don’t understand;
i admit to being slightly ignorant about hiv myself.
but what i do know is,
i’m a lucky guy.
not because i’m negative,
but because i know.

i’m just one small voice among the millions of bloggers.
i don’t command much attention.
i definitely don’t have much money.
still. i’d still like to do something.

right now all i can do is give away this skein of handspun.
fiber: 2oz spinning bunny pixie batt = merino, black and/or blue face leicester, tencel, angelina, angora, silk, and bamboo.
if i did my math right,
there’re 315yds of 2ply lace weight.
hand spun by me.

i just ask that you consider making a donation to the pittsburgh aids task force who provide so much more than just free rapid testing. if you don’t have much money, i’d ask that you considering going and getting tested.

either way,
you only need to leave a comment to enter.
but if you do make a donation, i’d love to know.
it’d be pretty cool if we raised a couple hundred bucks.

i’ll pick a winner in a week.

when i decided to give away my handspun,
i never said exactly when i would pick a winner.
somehow, today feels like the right day.

let’s all bow down to the power of the random number generator,
and give our congratulations to lucky number 20 (a.k.a. sarah)
who has won this yarn for her sister amy.
can’t wait to see what she knits with it!
and she better knit something.
or else.

am i just a creepo?

February 17, 2011

as a rule,
i don’t really believe in knitting prayer shawls.
i’m not sure why, exactly. perhaps it’s simply my inner cynic.
but, with all the many tragedies occurring in my periphery,
none has ever compelled me to knit a damn thing.

for me, knitting is about happiness,
the joy of beautiful yarn,
the mediation of repetitive motion,
the focus required to execute a high degree of difficulty.

simply put,
knitting is a selfish act.
at least for me.

and while i do give most of what i knit away to other people,
i’m only looking for that smile on their face.
it’s the best drug.

recently, though, i read a blog post that literally brought tears to my eyes. and, for whatever reason, i finally felt that need to comfort through knitting. three days later, a boneyard was born.
i decided to use the handspun tina gave me for my birthday.
she made me promise i wouldn’t treasure it;
i had to knit something with it.
this felt appropriate.

we all know that, with handspun, you have to be extremely careful.
if i ran out, i couldn’t just call tina and be like,
“whip up some more of this yarn please!
i’m making a shawl and need to bind off.”

believe me when i say i cut it close.
i was weighing that ball after repeat.
and following a sewn bind off that took me three hours to finish,
i had this much yarn left:
it’s roughly a yard and a half.
not bad, right?

the shawl went out in today’s mail,
and should arrive by saturday.

but now i’m all worried.

we’re not exactly real friends.
yes we tweet back and forth,
and occasionally comment on each other’s blog.
it’s . . . . a ravelry friendship i guess you’d say.
two people brought together in cyberspace because of our mutual love of all things knitterly.

but there’s a fine line between doing something touching, and plain old-fashioned stalking. and that line is always drawn by the other person.

is it weird to just send a knitter i’ve never met a prayer shawl?
am i just a creepo?

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