one sad sock

April 14, 2013

on my way to paris,
i decided to knit a sock.
sock knitting is perfect for airplanes, and
i was drawn to the colorway from the last month of last year’s sock club.

since school timing makes going to maryland sheep and wool impossible,
i decided i would treat myself to a knot hysteria retreat this summer.
and since it’s my tradition to always knit something for the harlot when i see her, the sock would be perfect.
her pattern.
tina’s yarn.
tiny feet.
perfect.

and then, the bomb drops while i’m in paris:
tina and stephanie broke up.
no more sock summits.
no more knot hysteria retreats.

frankly, i’m shocked,
and i know a lot of people are.
within 20 minutes of the post, texts were flying between knitters
asking who knew what? how did this happen?*

all i knew,
DPP_1468was i was knitting a sock for an event that would not happen.

never would i participate in yarn-dying melée.
never would i learn more about fiber in a day than i have in the past 3 years. never would i get the chance to spin and knit and make friends and steal my favorite soap that looks like a rock from the port ludlow resort’s maid’s cart. (and i’m on my last fucking bar!)

i made some life-long friends at my first retreat
i learned to spin, just so i could go, and now i’m a spinner.
and now it’s all over.

DPP_1470and there’s this sock
that has no mate, as of yet,
and i can’t seem to bring myself to cast on the next one.
it’s really pretty, and i love this pattern,
but the intension that bore it
can never be fulfilled.

so what should i do?

leave the pair unfinished, in honor of the loss of knot hysteria?
quit whining, knit the second one, and give them away?

you decide.

i can’t.

**my personal hypothesis is that knot hysteria dissolved because tina and stephanie were sick of dealing with the same whackos that showed up to every single event. i mean, there were some awesome folks who went, people that i love. but some of those regulars . . . if you saw them on the bus, you’d get off and wait for the next one to come. just sayin’.

aCute angle

August 17, 2012

i have a confession to make about my last post.
it was what you might call, not entirely honest.
true, that photo was takes in the nest i’d made on the floor,
but i didn’t actually stay there.

it wasn’t for lack fo trying, mind.
it’s just that,
apparently,
27 is the age at which
one is no longer able to sleep on the floor.
it’s frankly quite sad since my childhood was filled with instances of my curling up in unlikely spaces to rest. my favorite was the floor of the passenger side of my dad’s red chevey pickup.

adulthood is filled with sad milestones.

so where did i end up sleeping you ask?
well, while i couldn’t sleep on the hardwood,
i was able to channel my childhood talent for contortion,
and curled myself around the item on the bed,
covering the ends of the blocking wires
to avoid being impaled in the night.

which i suppose would be more impressive
if the item in question were bigger.
it was still, nonetheless,
a challenge.
mo upped the level of difficulty
by finding the one spot to curl up
that made any movement in the night impossible.

so here it is, the first knit i’ve ever slept with:
pattern – aCute angle yarn – luscious silk in the ‘ghillie dhu’ colorway

frankly, this item has been nothing but trouble from the start.
before i went to the knot hysteria gourmet retreat,
i suggested to my fellow retreaters
that we all do a knitalong.
i chose the aCute angle
because it had just been released
and seemed easy enough for us to complete in a weekend.

several people finished theirs in the blink of an eye,
but mine refused to even get started.
the first time, i twisted the join,
and didn’t notice for at least an inch.
the second time i cast on a number of stitches
that had absolutely nothing to do with the pattern.
(i think it was off by something like 12 stitches?)
once i’d finally got myself together,
it was the end of the second day
and my modifications* meant
i’d never finish that weekend.

i know i finished knitting it at some point,
but it sat for ages waiting to have its ends woven in.
then i let it have a nice soak and promptly forgot about it.
i don’t think silk is meant to soak for three days.
there’s something about the texture that feels . . . different now.

even this post has been needlessly delayed.
it’s been written for at least three days;
all it wanted was a final edit.
regardless, it came out beautifully,
and i thoroughly recommend this pattern.
it really is a snap for anyone whose mojo isn’t on the fritz,
(though blocking lace in the round presents its own unique challenge)
and this is one pattern where i think the yarn is perfectly matched.
(just note that, on ravelry, it’s currently misspelled as ‘a cute angle
losing all the fun wordplay in the title!)

now i just need to figure out who it’s for.
though, it might be perfect for mo.
tomorrow, the most irrelvant post i’ve ever written.
>glares at certain portland-based blogger<

à demain, bitches!

*aCute angle modifications: i added one pattern repeat and did seed stitch for the border rather than garter stitch.

retreat

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.

i was in group three,
which meant i spent my first day of class with the depraved dyer herself, tina newton.

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,
silkmo,
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)

later in the day, the dying continued.
we all got to paint silk scarves with tina and stephanie,

and dye silk noil skeins in indigo with judith.

some people even dyed their hair.

day two was spent with judith mackenzie.

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.

*sigh*

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.

just sayin’

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.

i mean,
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.

for instance!
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.

lies!

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.

the test?
do it yourself.

seriously, it’s true.
this is the face of experience

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,
hungry,
broke,
tired.

and i haven’t been this happy in forever.

i’ll miss you port ludlow.

the travels continue

July 8, 2010

in roughly sixteen hours, i’ll again be on a plane headed west.

where am i off to you ask?
why to washington state of course
(port ludlow to be specific) for the knot hysteria silk retreat
a long weekend of knitting, spinning, and dying classes,
taught by some very cool people.
sounds nice right?

once there, i’ll part ways with my juneberry triangle

and its semi-secret recipient will be revealed.

until then

care to take a guess?

for those bitches who already know,
don’t ruin the surprise!

it’s been a day

May 14, 2010

this post was supposed to go out yesterday.
but my family lives in the land of dial up.
things take time here.

it’s been day.

or two really.

i wasn’t sure if this was the proper place to write about it,
or if it’s even appropriate to share this kind of thing with the world.
but life isn’t just amusing anecdotes and knitterly antics.

my grandma is ill.
her body and mind have mostly given up the fight, and my mom is her last line of defense. she went into the hospital two weeks ago and it became clear that, while she may get well enough to the leave the hospital, she’d never be able to go home again. my mom found a great nursing home (if that isn’t a contradiction in terms. she assured me that is passed my requirement that it didn’t smell like death) where people seem to care and can handle residents with dementia. only a couple of days after she was settled into her new home, a fever spiked, and i got an early morning wake up call from home.

switched shifts.

cap and gown unclaimed.

diploma in the mail.

5 highways and i’m back in the great lakes state.

there were many hugs exchanged back at the homestead, reunited with parents and pup under midnight clouds. but a good night sleep in my childhood bed did little to prepare me to see my grandma this morning.

i came with the sole intention of supporting my mom; i wasn’t thinking about how i’d react. i definitely ate my tears to make it through the day.

the change from the last time i saw her is stark.
it’s hard to see in this frail, confused woman the grandma who played “farm stand” and “kick the sponge” with me when i was a toe-headed boy.

she may have forgotten,

but i haven’t.

and i’ll gladly remind her of what day it is, what time it is, where she put her purse, and any other question whose answer she’ll forget the moment i give it.

it’s the least i owe the woman.

while all this is going on, i get some crazy awesome news:
i got into the yarn harlot/knot hysteria’s silk retreat

(stolen from the harlot's blog)


i received the email confirmation yesterday,
and a call from stephanie pearl-mcphee today to go over the details.
(i promptly saved the number in my cell and did a gleeful jig)

i absolutely cannot afford to go to this retreat.
(and will unashamedly accept any donations you’re willing to give)
but why have I worked for ten years to build an excellent credit score if i can’t throw caution to the wind and melt my visa card every once in a while?

i don’t think it’s healthy having this level of emotional stimulation coming from two very different places.

or fair for that matter.

all I can do is form a plan of attack;
a strategy for coping so to speak.
so far, the list includes an obscene amount of diet coke, thai food, spindling, and casting on with impunity.

i cast on this sock:

and this february lady sweater without a second thought.

i’ve got a long weekend in front of me.
i’ll see you in pittsburgh on monday.

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