and sloe gin fizz

May 26, 2012

my original goal was to blog every day
while i was in the greater portland area.

i also promise myself i’m going to eat better and exercise.

let’s get real for a moment,
and see if i can tell you about my trip.

hmm . . .

day one was a beach adventure/excursion/extravaganza,
a sunny day of photography, sandy toes, and general irreverence.
and of course what day at the beach is complete
without a dead sea lion in a front loader?(sea corpse has a very distinct scent)

i spent the day with tina and her two lovely daughters
who reminded me that teenagers are really just adults
with fewer miles under their belt.
(is that a mixed metaphor?)

when we returned,
i met tina’s other children:
apparently, chickens love to eat kale.
who knew?

the rest of my days were a blur of
cats
rain
cheese
wildlife
gardening
cozy fires
and knitting.

i managed to finish up my spruce forest shawl,
and the rain gave way just long enough for a photoshoot.
i even found a couple models to zhoosh up the shot.
the yarn is marine silk sport in the ‘spruced’ color way.
i’ve given up trying to photograph the true color of this yarn;
the silk content and sea cell make it impossible for an amateur like me.
what i love about this color way is that the dye breaks at some point in the process, leaving patches of blue and yellow in the yarn. this process is apparently unpredictable, and therefore the color way has been discontinued. blue moon will, of course, make it upon request. i highly recommend it, especially in this yarn. just make sure to get it all at once if you want your skeins to be at all similar.

this shawl is beautiful when finished,
but the beauty is matched by it’s fussiness.
i do not care for nupp-knitting,
or the bottom up construction.
it was, however, worth it;
the results speak for themselves.

with one shawl completed,
i decided to dust off my shetland tea shawl.
it was the first lace project i ever cast on
and will soon celebrate its third birthday!
i can’t abide its w.i.p. status any longer.
so i grabbed a cat and got to work.
the cat was really there for moral support.
she’s not good for much else.

but even with the support of a cat
i could barely complete a round a day.
those last few rounds have so. many. stitches!

knitting all those stitches
i became hyper aware of the silence,
the sound of the rain falling on the deck,
heck, i could even hear the humming birds at the bird feeder!
apparently, i must’ve had a crazed look in my eye or something
because tina could tell i was getting a little stir crazy.
so she put me to work in the barn.

i learned a heck of a lot in there,
most of which i can’t tell you.
what i can tell you is
it’s fucking hard work.
i can almost guarantee none of you realize how much work actually goes into the whole process, unless maybe you’ve worked in a factory. i worked about a half shift and i was pooped.
it’s basically a yarny sweatshop in there.
(literally. it’s hot in the barn)

that little bit of work really helped me to appreciate just how special hand painted yarns are. we’re lucky to knit in a time when we have easy access to such beautiful yarns. i would much rather give my money to people who are working their asses off to make something unique and special. i know exactly where my money’s going and, to me, it’s worth the cost. but that’s just me.

luckily,
the next day
i got to play instead of work
and dyed all these rare gems.
it pays to know the lady with a barn.

we ended my visit with a binge at gino’s.
if you live in or around portland,
you must go to gino’s
the tiramisu alone is worth it.
we chose gino’s because deb accuardi owns it and also works at blue moon.
she’s an amazing cook, knows a heck of a lot about gardening,
and had been cracking my ass up all week.
seriously,
if you meet her,
ask her about her salamander story.
i almost peed in the car when she told it.
(i want that tiramisu recipe deb. stat!)

i think that just about covers it.

i survived an epically turbulent flight,
swung by my parents house to pick up mr. mo,
and am thoroughly ensconced in my apartment . . .

. . .asking myself why i don’t live in portland.

saturdays are for blogging

January 21, 2012

i’ve made a promise to myself
that i must knit at least an hour every day
and i must blog at least once a week
because i love myself,
and i love my blog.

i haven’t been doing so well with the knitting every day promise
but i refuse to fail on the bloging once a week.

so i here i am,
setting aside my huge pile of work
to show you some progress.

for a long time now,
i have been admiring the work of spillyjane.
there’s something about her designs that i just love.
if i had to put my finger on it, i’d say it’s her color combinations.
i feel pretty comfortable saying they aren’t typical, and yet,
they totally work.

however,
it’s been pretty easy for me to resist casting on one of her designs.
for one, i have a terminal case of second sock syndrome,
which can easily evolve into second mitten syndrome.
but also, while i love her designs,
i just didn’t see myself wearing any of them.
i love them and thought they’d look amazing on other people.
just not me.

that is until i saw these bad boys.

one look and i was harassing her to publish the pattern already.
(really. i emailed and tweeted her. i was pushy)

a copy found it’s way into my mailbox
and away i went.

here where they stand:
and here are my thoughts:

1) i love colorwork. i. love. it.

2) i love this pattern. i am thoroughly enchanted with the chart. more than once, i have talked to it with a kind of cutesy voice i use to show affection to mo or other adorable mammals. i am not ashamed.

3) i’m glad i went up a needle size. otherwise the mitten would not fit.

4) this does have me worried about row gauge, however. i hope they don’t end up too long. i refuse to do them math to find out.

5) i have some concerns about the thumb construction. i have very strong feeling about how mitten thumbs should be worked. however, spillyjane makes her living on mittens. i do not. i’m gonna let go and let god on this one.

6) the lighter of the contrasting colors could be little more contrasty. however, i did that on purpose. i love the fact that there’s enough contrast to tell that those are skulls without having my mitten scream, “look here! skulls on a mitten!” sometimes my plans work out.

7) i’m knitting them two at a time (on separate needles) in order to avoid second mitten syndrome. so far, it seems to be working. it has instilled in me a kind of “race” like feeling where i can’t let the other mitten get too far ahead. weird? yes. but it’s working.

8) a while ago, i wrote a post in which i listed my concerns about shelter. i decided it was high time i actually tried it out, and the fact that spillyjane used it to knit these mitts seemed like the perfect excuse. now that i’m knitting with it, i have some opinions:

a) i love how it looks. the color is impeccable and the subtle rustic heatheryness of it speaks to the old school knitter in my heard.

b) however, i’m not a big fan of it’s hand when i’m knitting with it. yes, it’s very light, and while i usually love the feel of a wooly yarn, something about this particular blend . . . well i just don’t care for it.

c) it’s also very easy to break which makes me worry about how it will hold up with wear. it didn’t actually break while i was knitting with it. i don’t cut my yarns to switch colors, i just break them. and shelter breaks with very little effort. i’m hoping the fact that the mittens are knit at a very tight gauge will help with the ware factor.

d) i do like the fabric this pattern creates with this particular yarn. it’s knit on much smaller needles than one would normally use. i think it works because the yarn is so lofty. and quite frankly, i feel like shelter would knit more accurately to a dk gauge than a worsted anyway, another reason i think this pattern/yarn combo works with such small needles.

e) i don’t know if d) can be said to be representative of how the fabric will feel for other projects knitted at the recommended gauge.

f) my hypothesis is this yarn would be great for an old school textured sweater, but i doubt i can afford it at this point. american made ain’t cheap!

g) all that being said, when i try the mittens on, they feel comfy and warm. i plan to use them as my driving mitts. i do not regret buying shelter for this project, i think they’re beautiful, and i recommend other people spend the cash to give it a go at least once. but i just don’t see myself buying it again.

9) do you think jared flood will blacklist me for this?

10) have i mentioned i love these mittens?
(i think the back is my favorite part)

i’ve also got this little lovely going:
pattern: spruce forest by nancy bush
i have a serious love hate thing going on with this shawl.
this is the story:

for about a year now, i’ve wanted to design/knit a lace shawl in marine silk sport in my absolute favorite blue moon color way, ‘spruced’. i wanted it to be a triangular shawl and i wanted it to be a kind of ‘tree’ shaped lace pattern. the fact that i am not a designer and don’t yet intuitively understand how lace works meant that i was seriously struggling to realize this dream. then along comes fucking nancy bush and designs a perfect fucking shawl. (i am not above thinking that somehow she stole the idea using some kind of psychic probe while i was in her sock class). i hate that it’s a bottom up shawl and that, because it is, all the trees will point upward exactly as they should.i hate the nupps that make it so fucking adorable and perfect that i can’t help but be delighted every time i purl 5 together on the ‘resting row’. despite the fact that they totally slow me down and are frustrating, i hate that i love them. (and hate that i would never have thought to put a nupp in shawl, even though they are clearly amazing) i hate that there is a solid garter border because i absolutely believe in a thick garter border and bam! there it is.

and god damn i hate that there’s a perfect looking slip stitch edge so that when i have to pick up stitches for the lace edging, it will be a snap.

god damn nancy bush and her perfect fucking shawl pattern!

i shake my fist at you in gratitude, bitch!

i’m knitting this shawl as a present for someone who i really like and i think deserves to have it. really, i shouldn’t be blogging about it, but shit, i need all the material i can get. i don’t have time for secret knitting!

so that’s what’s on the needles bitches.thoughts?

** ps i am thoroughly annoyed with the fact that i am unable to capture the true color of ‘spruced’. it is much greener than the photo, and has a subtle blue hue in it. my guess is it has to do with the silk and sea cell content being all reflective. any help from my photography peeps?

tomorrow evening, i’m on a plane to portland.
i am going to the summit.

tonight i’m knitting my little wrist off.
like many a student before me
i didn’t do my homework.
i’m cheating a little,
making it work,
using sport weight yarn on 2.75mm needles
rather than fingering weight on 2.25mm needles.
it’s just like that old trick of adjusting your margins
in order to meet the minimum page number.

(like you never changed your margins and watched the sun come up)

i promise, mr. habit,
it’ll be ready in time for class.
i usually take better pictures than this.
it’s just . . .
my iphone was handy
and i need to finish this homework
and my summit sock probably won’t fit
and i have a shawl to finish by august 1st
and i’ve been packing for days
and i leave pittsburgh in a week

WHOAREYOUTOJUDGEME!?!

*pant* *pant* *pant*

alright.
i’m ok now.

in any case,
this is my class schedule:

7/28
9:00am photographing your fiber – franklin habit
7:00pm opening night reception
7/29
9:00am knitted tessellation: playful and powerful patterns in practice – franklin habit
3:00pm hizsocks: making socks manly – stephen houghton
10:30pm sock hop
7/30
9:00am tvaandsstickning/twined knitting – nancy bush
5:15pm this. but only to document, not participate. as if!
7:00pm this is your brain on knitting – stephanie pearl-mcphee
7/31
9:00 am fleece on your feet – judith mackenzie

so if you see me in class,
or wandering around the convention center,
you bitches better say hello!

(do you think the harlot ever cheated on her sock homework?

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