gallerista

March 27, 2013

as you know,
i give away almost everything i knit.
i try as much as possible to put random positive energy into the universe, since, as @p12tog points out, i’m often an* horribly elitist person, especially when it comes to knitting.

(though i might actually be ok with that)

and since i feel that brighting some random person’s day through the power of the internets is a good investment in my karma because god knows my ubiquitous sarcasm, sass, and bitchiness
require a bit of equilibrium, today’s post
is an attempt at a double dose of karmic balancing.

first, i’m going to give away this boneyard shawl**
DPP_1382(it’s been a bit overcast the past few days)

the yarn is a two-ply fingering-sport weight spun by me
from some into the whirled bfl top i got at rhinebeck back in 2011.
this shawl’s been a loooong time in the making,
what with having to sneak time to spin and knit it
in the 5 free minutes i have every day.

just look at that craftsmanship
DPP_1387ok so maybe i couldn’t get the best macro shot.
just trust me.
it’s very well knit.
i knit it on 7’s and blocked this shit out of it
so it has a great drape and just enough wooliness for you traditionalists.

and here’s where the second dose of good karma comes in-

i rarely ever endorse anything,
(mostly because my readership isn’t large enough to warrant them)
but in this instance, i feel compelled to make an exception.

the short story is a very dear friend of mine in chicago, joshua herrington, started a business called gallerista. i’ve never seen this much drive and passion out of this guy before, and i find i’m quite impressed with his work ethic. recently, he began an indigogo campaign to turn his online business into a brick and mortar enterprise. i decided to blog about it, not just because he’s my friend (because a lot of my friends have some pretty far-out enterprises), but because i believe in supporting both queer-owned business and the arts. neither one has it very easy this days, and since i have no money of my own, really,
i do what i can.

and this is what i can do:
give away my shawl to help him raise some money.

how to win in three easy steps:
1) go to gallerista’s indigogo page and make a donation. my suggested minimum donations is $30 (so that you all can join me at the super secret launch party!) but if you can’t afford 30 dollars, donations in lower denominations are totally fine.

2) share the campaign somehow (tip: there are tools right there on the gallerista indigogo page to help you do that.

3) leave a comment so the random number generator can pick a winner.

i realize we’ve all been flooded with kickstarters and the like.
maybe you don’t even give a shit about queer-owned business or the arts. but i’m pretty sure you do like you some knitting.
so why not spin the wheel?
it’s not every day i spin and knit a shawl!

if you don’t want the shawl
or just don’t feel like donating,
if you could at least tweet or facebook or rav it,
i’ll personally reward you with some karmic princess points.

and if you’re reading this blog,
i’m pretty sure you could use some.

*i even use “an” before h-words.
**can i just say i love this pattern. i may even knit another one.

24 hours ago

March 24, 2013

i was drunk and dancing.
there’s something about dressing up,
knocking back one or two shots of jameson,
keeping the buzz going with a bud light,
(which, before you judge me,
i enjoy for their cheapness, lack of flavor,
and because you can dance with one in your hand without
some flailing drunk-ass soaking you in your hard-earned pin money)
while a room full of gays and gay adjacent folks all sing—in tune!—to any number of pop songs from the 80’s – now (in tune) that i find to be
. . . rejuvenating.

on this particular evening,
i was helping a boy ‘celebrate life’.
he’d passed through a rough patch and found himself in a good mood.

can you honestly think of a better reason to celebrate?

and so i danced. hard.
and though today i find i’m a bit sore,
which is likely more a combination of
pretty-but-useless footwear
liquor toxins
age
and crashing in not my bed,
it was very worth it.

why am i telling you all this?
why should you care?

sure, if you’re reading this, you likely like me
(though it’s possible you’re just waiting to see if you won a book.
no worries. we’ll get there. keep reading)
and, since you like me, you like
when i’m happy.

still,
maybe you’d like more.
since, really, i can’t even provide a picture to entertain you.
blurrexcept this one i accidentally took while dancing.

you see, the reason why this story is important is because
last night, i took my first steps toward accepting the aging process.

i’ve had a problem with getting older basically since i turned twenty three. and while i realize that this is an irrational issue and that, in the scheme of things, many people would consider me to still be young, i’m confident that every single person who reads this post also has his or her own “thing” with which s/he obsesses, irrationally.
(do tell me you do so i feel better about myself)

last night, however, two things happened that made me glad i was older (relatively)

1) i ‘pre-gamed’ briefly a the boy celebrating life’s friends house. on average, i was the oldest person in the room by about six years. sitting there on a broken couch, eliciting laughter that was grossly disproportional to the effort i was putting into my repartee, there was a moment in which i left my body and thought, “thank christ i am not this silly”, and then smiled to myself, sitting in blissful ignorance while they talked about the import of something called snapchat.

2) later, in the middle of the dance floor, i ran into a friend from college i haven’t seen since i graduated. i literally screamed multiple times in the highest pitch of which i am physically capable. in that moment, the past six years flashed before my mind’s eye. i’ve been around the world, gotten two masters degrees, kissed all the boys, got mo, fallen in love, kept up a blog (mostly) for nearly four years, almost died, moved four times, lived abroad, taught at a big ten university, and learned to fucking knit, to name only the big things i can think of at 1:30am.

my only real goal in life
is to live a life i can be proud of.
all i want to do is be able to look back on my life when i’m old old
and be able to say that i wasn’t boring.
so far, i’m not doing too badly.
and i guess my progressively sagging skin and longer recovery time isn’t that high a price to pay to maximize fabulosity.

still, i’ll totally blow you for some botox.

***********************************************************

the random number generator has spoken
and the following people have won one of my extra copies of colours of shetland:

2 – cauchy09
9 – stepahnie
12 – ashely

you can now all glare at them in jealousy.
however! i will be giving away a handspun and knit fo in the next day or so, so stay tuned, bitches!

green thumb

December 6, 2012

i always credit the yarn harlot for getting me into knitting,
and i suppose she’s part of the reason i got into blogging.
though really i think the only similarities between our blogs
is that they’re both humorous (mostly) and center on knitting.
after that, we pretty much have nothing in common.

let’s compare:

  • the harlot is a
  • short
  • thin
  • canadian
  • oldest child
  • married
  • straight
  • vegetarian
  • mother of three
  • in her forties
  • and i’m a
  • tall
  • chubby
  • american
  • only child
  • single
  • gay
  • everythingavore
  • dog owner
  • in his twenties

and yet somehow, despite all that difference,
i find her blog and life to be thoroughly compelling.
very rarely do i ever ‘not like’ what she writes.
one of the rare exceptions is her annual gifts for knitters.
i find the hole thing to be irritating,
not because the information she provides isn’t useful or accurate,
but because it is completely ridiculous that anyone should have to go to an outside source to find out what to get for a friend or loved one. you either know him or her well enough to get them what they want, or else you should be able to be a grown up and just ask. this whole need to ‘surprise’ someone with the perfect gift is, frankly, asinine and too much pressure. what people want is a gift they’ll enjoy. so why not ask them?

but more importantly,
no one seems inclined to buy me anything. maybe it’s because i’m a december baby (my birthday is exactly one week before christmas); i’m highly sensitive to gift giving at december time. it just seems like, if one doesn’t have a family of one’s own, after the age of 21,
no one is inclined to get one (me) a gift.

all of my friends are too new to my life
to feel inclined to get me anything.
they’re also grad students,
so they have no money.

and my parents,
my dear dear parents,
they get me things throughout the year that i need,
things like food,
or a new phone,
or my gas bill in the winter.
making them exempt from any familial obligation to get me a gift.

that just leaves mo, and frankly,
he can’t be bothered.

i’m an only child,
which means i have deeply ingrained belief
that i deserve a gift a christmastime.
no amount of rationalization
or lies about the joys of giving
or reflection on how much i have compared to others
will ever wipe away the feeling that i’m getting jipped at the holidays.

and so in the spirit of ‘the secret’
(which has inexplicably been working for me this year
even though i’ve never actually read the book)
i’ve decided to ask, believe, and receive some gifts i want.
nothing unreasonable or outrageous, mind you,
just some shit to make my life
a little brighter.

gifts for steven 2012
days 1-6.

a starbucks card. perhaps you think that making this the gift for days 1 through 6 is a cop out, and i’m just doing it to catch up on the days of december. you would be wrong. the amount of time and more importantly money i spend at starbucks is obscene. i go every day, sometimes multiple times a day. i write at the starbucks on grand river, and i frequent the starbucks in my building at least five days a week. it’s eating a whole in my budget, and size orman specifically told me not to buy coffee in her book young fabulous and broke, but since i’m beyond addicted, it’s up to you to solve my willpower problem.

stay tuned as i tell you more things you can get me for this,
my birthday and christmas season.
(i also happily welcome channukah and solstice gifts)

oh yeah!
i almost forgot the whole point of this post.
after less than one year in the pot,
not only is my christmas cactus thriving,
it’s fucking blooming, bitches!
DPP_1358this is the very first house plant i have every kept alive. ever.
while i grew up gardening in the country,
and can easily cultivate flora out of doors,
that skill has never translated indoors;
i’m absolute rubbish with potted plants.
but this, this christmas cactus,
one of my favorite plants,
it’s fucking blooming!

i’m telling you, bitches;
ask, believe, receive.
oprah wasn’t lying.

frustration 2012

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?)

anyway.

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.

regardless,
i need to decide soon if i have any hope of finishing by rhinebeck.

suggestions??
i could use the advice.

knitting archaeology

August 3, 2012

we all have skeletons in our closets.
as dude who grew up with pack rats,
mine is perpetually at capacity.

my recent retirement at my parents house*
allowed me to wade through and eliminate some of the actual crap
that my room has accumulated over the past twenty-seven years.
in the depths of my closet i discovered, among other things**,
a horrifying treasure from my knitting past.

that’s right.

i found my first knitting/yarn.
i thought it long lost, cast off and out of my life.
i should’ve*** known this yarn would haunt me for all of my days.

if you dig around my blog somewhere at the beginning,
you can find the story of how i first learned to knit.
i won’t reiterate that (awesome) story, now.
iet’s just say it was two in the morning,
i had a limited selection from which to choose,
and i like green.

because i love you, blog, so very much, and maybe because no amount of sin can ever wash the catholic completely from my blood, i feel compelled to confess my most grievous of knitterly sins to you. i just hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive me for buying this yarn.
t’was ignorance, the folly of youth.

however, i refuse to post a photo of that yarn on this blog.
that shame would be too great to endure.
rather,
i’ll link you to it;
follow at your own risk!
post continues after the jump. nsfw!

>exhales<

i think i'll be ok now.
i needed to get that off my chest.

seriously, though, i was totally happy to unearth this yarn.
how many people have the first thing they've ever knit?
(don't burst my bubble and tell me it's a totally common occurrence)
and while the idea of finishing the project is beyond appalling,
i'm happy to keep this fun fur on their size 10½ boyes
rather than quietly disposing of the evidence.

just know that my time on the dark side was short lived,
and i quickly purchased some much better yarn.
(angry cat mug from danmade. totally ripping off cauchy’s style)

that’s right.
i found my second piece of knitting/yarn, too!
the seed of a stash that never grew.

there’s no ball band for this yarn,
but the receipt says its an alpaca/silk/cashmere blend.
(talk about going from yarn zero to sixty, right?)
though, the astute observer can still tell this is the work of newbie.
notice the yarn is still in a hank and i’m knitting directly from the skein!

i can’t tell you the number of times i’ve warned new knitters never to do this unless they want tangles and heartbreak,
and yet, somehow, it worked out for me.
i guess when you don’t know any better,
you just go for it.

go figure.

sadly,
shortly after knitting that patch of garter,
i stopped knitting.

there were a lot of reasons, really;
the yarn was wicked pricey, and i thought if this is what real yarn cost, i was in trouble (i didnt realize of course, there was a range of yarns from which to choose) more than that, i didn’t have a positive experience with the store from which i bought it.

but if i’m honest, all of that didn’t matter.

it was the purl stitch.

this was back before you could google anything and learn how to do it from watching a video online. (i think it’s important to remember such times) i don’t know how i was learning to purl, but it wasn’t working. years later i would realize the crucial information that was missing was to move the yarn forward.

constantly doubling one’s stitch count
whilst knitting green fun fur
would make anyone quit.

i’m just glad it was only a temporary condition.

à demain, mes amis!

*i always write ‘home’ and mean ‘my parents house’, but it confuses people. i makes me sad to have to make a distinction.

**like my louis vuitton shoes, bitches!! i miss the old economy. *sigh*

***for all you fellow grammar nazis, i’ve noticed a trend among my students. they write could’ve/should’ve etc. thusly: could of. i remember one student being shocked when i corrected them. makes me want to die.

on my table

June 21, 2012

in case any of you worried about my week-long silence,

fear not!

i was fulfilling the familial duty required of all sons:
i helped clean out the garage.

now while for most people,
that would be a job for one person
and could be completed in half a day,
our garage is larger than most apartments.
it’s really more of a huge barn where the cars live
(it has a second floor)

my mother and i spent a few days
lifting,
cleaning,
sorting,
swearing,
sweating,
bickering,
and tossing aside with reckless abandon a couple decades worth of all things found in a country garage. a dumpster that could house an elephant was our ally.

a weekend of generally manliness,
where my y chromosome shone with pride,
left little time to blog about my life of fiber.

this evening,
i’ll catch you up.
let’s see what’s on my table, shall we?

first, a f.o.
yarn – socks that rock medium weight
colorway – rare gem dyed by yours truly

this cowl has been done for ages but honestly, i’ve felt a little ambivalent about sharing it. this is my first go at a design (sort of). i learned a whole lot while i knit it, but it didn’t come out as i envisioned it. some things exceeded my expectations, others,
i couldn’t get to do what i wanted.

still,
with a few tweaks,
i can imagine it being something i could be proud of.
time will tell.

next, another f.o.
yarn – luscious silk
colorway – copperline

now this, i’m proud of!
it’s a simply-woven scarf, true,
but there’s something beautiful about perfecting simplicity.
think about how long it took you to master your knitting gauge
and how lovely a flawlessly executed stockinette sweater is!
that’s what this scarf is about to me. (check out that sexy fringe)

i was really worried about the evenness of this scarf.
i’ve never woven with silk before
and it was difficult to manage;
it lacks wool’s forgiving nature.
it was especially difficult to maintain the selvages.
but for once in my fibery existence,
that shit blocked right out!

just in time to give it to its intended recipient.

and look!
i still have a whole other skein!
note that this is an older skein of luscious silk, over 300 yards.
newer ones only have 218 yards

this weekend,
i’m headed to the knot hysteria gourmet retreat (jealous?)
whenever i go to a fiber event,
i check my stock of business cards.
i use them to promote the blog (bien sur)
and make it easy for people to friend me on ravelry.
since i was running low,
i placed an order.
i may have over done it.
i don’t remember ordering this many.
i bet it was after midnight.
(the box is full too)

as you can see,
the loom is re-warped.
(the color in that photo is so off as to be laughable)
this is supposed to be a gift for this weekend.
i haven’t started weaving or anything,
but i can finish,
right?

so i’m a little out of touch with reality. big whoop.
i mean, it’s not like i think i can finish this sweater.
but i am going to try to pull it off for rhinebeck.
let’s check the facts:
yarn weight – sport
needle size – u.s. 2 & 4
size – fuck that shit!
like i’m telling you my size.
let’s just say,
it’ll be dude-sized.

this will be an extreme test of my knitterly endurance.
but hey, it’s rhinebeck.

and it’s not like i’m the only delusional knitting blogger around.

compelled

June 9, 2012

i have a f.o. to show you,
and another one is soon to follow.
tonight, however, none of that matters.
all that matters is this yarn.
this is this month’s sock club. the color is called ‘wavelength’

normally,
i shy away from this level of variegation,
(though part of why i enjoy being in sock club
is challenging myself to experience color differently)
but i think that’s because i never look at a skein like this:
why do i never open the skeins to look at them?
it changes everything!

looking at the skein thusly
it was if it spoke to me:
“you must knit socks”

now,
i never want to knit socks. ever.
i find them to be fiddly and tedious
and if i’m going to knit that many stitches,
i want a sweater out of it.

every now and then
i do get the urge to knit socks
but i’m easily able to fight it off
because i can never find a pattern i like.
most of the time, i think sock patterns are really tacky.
sorry sock knitters. it’s just how i feel.

so there really was no harm in winding the skein.
in fact,
i found it less tempting as a cake.
i knew that i needed to make something with this
but luckily, in wound form, it couldn’t tempt me to make socks.

little did i know,
this skein is a clever little fucker.
it combined forces with this pattern
and the only thing i could think was
i must.
knit.
socks.

a few episodes of deadliest catch and boom!
a sock is born.

nothing else seems to matter.
i must make these socks.
i’m obsessed.

is this how you sock knitters feel all the time?

copper lines

June 2, 2012

(this was my attempt to take a weaving photo à la the daily purl)

i say it all the time:
almost everything i make is for someone else.
i’ve made a few things for someone in particular,
but the last couple knits didn’t seem to impress.
it wasn’t that s/he didn’t like them
or didn’t appreciate them.
they just didn’t wow,
which is,
of course,
the goal;
i want the person to love what i’ve made.
so i’m thinking perhaps weaving is the way to go,
just a plain scarf in one of his/her favorite colors.
i even have some luscious silk in my stash that will work nicely.
it’s going to be fucking gorgeous, regardless.

hey weavers:
any tips for weaving silk?
i’ve only woven with wool before
which i know is a much more forgiving fiber.

speaking of making things for people i like,
i cast this little buddy on the other day:
this is going to be for debra m.
we’ve only met a couple of times
but she’s always been so kind to me,
especially at times when i felt a little vulnerable.
frankly, if you met debra and didn’t like her,
i’d question whether or not you were human.

so when she expressed interest in this particular rare gem,
i decided immediately that i would knit something for her.
unfortunately, nothing i found the ravelry machine was right.
(god bless ravelry, but it does fail us now and then)

frustrated, i decided i would take this opportunity to try to design something. i’ve had exactly two design ideas in my entire life and, as we all know, nancy bush stole my other one. this cowl isn’t going exactly as planned, but i still think i like it. if the next part goes well, i’ll be home free. maybe i’ll even publish the pattern.

maybe.

wordpress ate this post

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?

it’s moot.
i’m not rewriting it.

instead,
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.
i swear,
just once,
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.

now,
that skein has some generous yardage.
so i realized my winder wouldn’t be able to take it.

all.

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
in pieces!

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.

then it came to me
a garter scarf knit lengthwise.
nothing could be easier, right?
and i’ve never knit one.

perfect.

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.

sorry bitches.

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.
thanks jen!

there you have it, folks.
a shadow of it’s former glory,
perhaps,
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!

here’s a mitten anyway.

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