i began this post
in the middle of the night
in a guest bedroom in scappoose, oregon
with the intention of recounting my day’s activities
and proceeding thusly for the rest of my mini-vacay/retreat from life.

however,
it soon became obvious
that scappoose lacked the bandwidth necessary
to blog on a daily basis, at least if i wanted to show you my pictures.

so now i am home
literally weeks after my return.
and must resort to the recap format for today’s blog

this might take a while.

there was fun with chickens,
DPP_1495DPP_1496DPP_1497DPP_1499DPP_1505DPP_1510which is one of my favorite scappoose-ian past times.

coffee at ristretto roasters
DPP_1513
DPP_1514
DPP_1515which was the only coffee i had in portland that lived up to the hype
DPP_1518(this mocha was not fucking around)

there were a couple trips to grand central bakery
DPP_1520where i was more impressed by their breakfast sandwich and shrimp po boy (scroll down) than their sweet stuff.

in portland proper,
there was the ubiquitous
homeless/punk/beggar with cute animal entourage.
DPP_1524this group was outside powell’s where i had a pretty amazing haul
DPP_1528
the next day,
tina and i went to black sheep gathering
where we saw judith mackenzie judge the fleeces,
a thoroughly delightful and educational experience.
DPP_1532
DPP_1536(note: apparently, shetlands are in this year)
DPP_1539(the aforementioned shrimp sandwich)

we ran into beth hansen of hansen crafts
DPP_1543she is . . . a character. if you meet her,
and it feels like she’s making fun of you,
that’s because she is.
it’s totally normal.

i have strong feelings about the miniSpinner,
but this is all i’m going to say about it: i’m a traditionalist.
if you’re not, and aren’t bothered by the electric component
you should definitely buy it;
it’s a pretty fucking awesome product.
i won’t be buying one because
i am a fuddy duddy.

i will also draw your attention to this:
DPP_1545really beth? really?

there was this monstrosity,
DPP_1546which is apparently a spinning wheel.
it needs to be melted down into something less ugly.

i stopped by black trillium fibre studio‘s booth,
one of the only booths i thought worthy of documenting, really.
DPP_1547the problem with all of these shows,
especially the smaller ones,
is that these people aren’t business people.
sure, i bet 90% of them make an amazing product,
but that doesn’t mean they know shit about how to sell it.
you’ve got to make a booth that makes people want to come in,
or you might as well not even bother to show up.

melanie knows how to work with what she has;
simple set up, a few beautiful samples, wide open
so people can get in and out easily.
good job.

similarly, the men at the clemes & clemes booth knew what was up!
these dudes are professional, know their product, work well together,
have their demonstration down, and there’s something to be said for a uniform. this dude had me wanting a fucking drum carder
something for which i have no use or space in my life.
that, my dears, is a salesman!
DPP_1549(sorry for the shitty photo)

there was this cuteness
DPP_1552
and this cuteness
DPP_1557
and this cuteness.
DPP_1571

then i met some west coast knitters
though i can only remember angela davis (the knitting one)
with her amazing mustard eye shadow (right) and parna
(with the broken hand), both of whom i hope to see again.
DPP_1575(sorry angela, not the best photo, i know, but better than the other one)

as we were leaving we saw this dude with his dog and guitar
DPP_1576very huck finnesque.

the next day,
tina took the misses newton, heidi dog, and me to the beach
DPP_1581
before which we hit up this joint,
DPP_1577pacific way bakery & caféwhich, was fucking amazing…last year.
but made us a but queasy this time around.
and our waitress?
lizlemonrudegif

then we returned for more chicken time, but with a twist.
DPP_1583
DPP_1584
DPP_1585
DPP_1586
DPP_1587
DPP_1588
DPP_1591i don’t know what it is, but i fucking love deer.
maybe it’s from watching bambi as a kid, i don’t know.
but i can not get enough deer.
and i got way close to this guy.

i was then treated to a ________ about which i cannot tell you.
what i can tell you is that it was a moment when i felt
humble, special, and kinda fancy.
because it was fancy.
and more than a little pantsy.
though likely wasted on my middle class ______.

mystery!

the next day i began the tipsy sock
DPP_1622while hanging out with the falcore-esque heidi dog.DPP_1638DPP_1634(she has no fucks to give)

*

the whole tripped was capped off
by an amazing meal at cocotte bar & bistro
a meal totally worth live tweeting. which i did.
DPP_1639DPP_1642
bread with @depraveddyer
old fashioned
chicken liver mousse with inglehoffer stone ground mustard
the biter
poulet en cocotte
la nella moda
thyme flower and farigoule ice cream
(click pics to read descriptions)

then i immediately hopped on a plane and headed home.

this trip was my vacation,
a flight, really, from my incredibly stressful summer.
there were whole swathes of time when i was not seized
by crippling work-related anxiety.

that level of ease is only surpassed
when i escape to my parent’s house,
or as i still think of it,
‘home’.

still,
tina’s guest room
is a close second.
she’s the kindest host.
i even get my own bathroom.
DPP_1600

*there was an undocumented fabulous indian dinner with tina, megan, and deb, friends from three very different epochs of my life, followed by a night out with megan at a former bowling alley dive where, once the lyons’ club bingo night rapped up, we watched the mentally challenged and tone deaf sing karaoke.there’s no picture in the world that can capture that.

a good, plain sock

July 10, 2013

i shouldn’t be up.
to say that it’s late
and that i have a very full, important day tomorrow,
would be to laugh in the face of anything resembling “understatement”.

but i promised you all a sock
and i so rarely finish a knitted thing these days.
(though if you’d prefer, i have more korean food i could share)

anyway,
i give you,
a good, plain sock
(the color is truest in the first two photos):
DPP_1656
DPP_1657
DPP_1677
DPP_1678
DPP_1676
DPP_1670
DPP_1647
yarn – socks that rock lightweight in the new ‘sadie sue tipsy’ colorway
pattern – sock recipe: a good plain sock

i saw this skein
et les membres de sa même famille
during my last visit to portland, oregon.
(i know i know i owe you a post)
the tipsys had just been born
and i kept eyeing this skien.
if you’re lucky to visit the tina newton
and you stare at one of her skeins long enough
and she likes you
she might give it to you.

apparently she likes me.*

i only had the one set of needles with me
and they were already in another sock.
well i’ll tell you what, i ripped the needles right out the sock in progress and cast this puppy on. though it occurs to me now
that i was staying with a woman
who specializes in sock yarn.
i bet she has some needles i could’ve borrowed.

huh.

anyway,
i chose this pattern,
not only because i basically have it memorized at this point,
but because this is a brand new colorway,
and i wanted to see what it would do.

and because the pattern is so easy,
i was able to revel in the color,
how it built in each new round,
seeing what would change
at the heel flap
and gusset.
i am completely enamored of the swirly flashing;
the copious amounts of white make it for me.

and i should have taken a pic of the wrong side.
the reverse stockinette made me want to knit something
>deep breath<
for a baby.

i was actually walking around saying,
"but have you seen the inside? look at the reverse stockinette!"
"someone needs to knit something for a baby in this colorway!"
i said it several times to anyone who'd listen.

luckily, someone else took a pic for me. go ahead, take a look.

now you tell me, don’t you think someone needs to knit something in reverse stockinette for a baby in this colorway?

as i was finishing up this sock
while watching silent hill: revelation on netflix,
it ended up being about an inch longer than i had indented.
(would that i always had such problems)
i wonder who i’ll give this pair to?
how will i decide who gets them?

i’m open to suggestions.

still,
it’ll have to wait.
i owe it to the other sock i left hanging.

*there may or may not have been a chocolate mousse involved in this decision

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.

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.

more tears

September 6, 2011

i promise nothing bad has happened here.
i’m gratefully re-ensconced in my apartment,
keeping the cold at bay with a mixture of down,
french bulldog, and homework.

i took a wee break from reading what i’m supposed to read,
to catch up on those few blogs that make me smile.
but when i came to tina’s blog,
i could feel the cold-wet of tears in my eyes.

truly good blogs are a scarce these days,
blogs that post regularly enough to satisfy
and with quality content to merit their existence.
i try to share as much of myself on here as is safe.
i try not to hold back. (hell i was even naked once)
and it’s rare to find someone brave enough to expose themselves in that way, to let perfect strangers have access to your life
in a genuinely personal way.

and here we have tina,
not only writing a post so raw it moved me,
but sharing her life experiences in the colors she gives us.

a rare gem indeed.
don’t take it for granted.

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?

to those who wait

December 10, 2010

the other day, i got an email.
which lead to one of the loveliest phone calls ever.
the specifics of that phone call are unimportant.
let’s just say there were plenty of laughs.

the result of said conversation arrived yesterday:

with this yarn,
i will knit my first sample garment ever
for blue moon fiber arts.

i literally got all misty just now typing that.
it just feels really special, having someone think your knitting is good enough, worthy enough to represent their company. tina is a busy busy woman, and she has poured her soul into blue moon. i mean, it’s literally her home for christ’s sake.

i just feel really honored to be a part of it,
if only in this small way.

and the extra money and yarn support ain’t too shabby either.
i’m going to do the right thing, listen to suze orman,
and put that money right into savings.
(i read the money book for the young, fabulous & broke, all of which i am. it scared the shit out of me.)

and that brown yarn,

that’s some handspun. my first birthday present of this year.
(tissue! i need a tissue here!)

oh you didn’t know i had a birthday coming up?
on december 18th, one week before christmas,
i will gain another digit.
to celebrate the end of my youth,
i’m headed to new york in six,
count ‘em, six motha fuckin days bitches!
(it’s my first time, new york. please, be gentle)
how can someone as young, fabulous, and broke as i afford such a trip?
no it has nothing at all to do with cramp in my jaw.
simply put, i’m scamming a free bed off a friend.
actually a friend’s boyfriend.
actually it’s his parents.
i have no shame.

i’m hoping it will be as fantastic as i’m imagining,
and i wonder how it will stack up to paris.
in any case,
the best gifts are still the ones you give yourself.

of course birthday gifts from other people still rule,
and in many cases are implicitly mandatory to maintain a friendship.

if you were wondering what to get for your favorite knit-blogger for their birthday or christmas, here are some suggestions
(purely a hypothetical here)

1 – money. nothing says i love you better, or is more personal than cash. a check or money order is also great, but traceable. better to leave no paper trail. (what? i went to school with mob children)
2 – gift card to a LYS. this says i love you enough to let you spend the money as you see fit, but i don’t want you spending it on drugs or alcohol. wool is much safer.
3 – membership in the 2011 rockin’ sock club. this gift says, i know you have a problem with sock yarn, and i’m totally ok with that. it also says you better knit me some damn socks already.
4 – moisturizer. this gift says, you’re looking pretty . . . fucking old. you need to take care of that hot mess you call a face.
(best birthday card ever tina!)

but if your holiday is going to be as tight as so many americans’
nothing warms the heart of a jaded, grinchy blogger,
like a happy birthday comment.

see you in new york, bitches!

stash karma

November 8, 2010

so i drew a winner for my contest on friday,
and i know you’ll join me in congratulating miss. jen
who has selected this lovely skein of socks that rock.

mo approves.

to those of you who didn’t win, thanks for playing.
i hope you’ll still keep me on your blogrolls.

if there was a particular skein that you were hoping for,
drop me a line. we’ll work something out.

however,
stash just doesn’t seem to want to leave!
in fact, as one skein of blue moon leaves my house,
three more have arrived.

does this yarn look familiar?

it should.

it’s luscious silk in the “manly yes, but i like it too” colorway.
a few months ago, i knit a shawl out of this very yarn
for the lovely tina newton
so why the hell do i have three more skeins of it?

here’s the scoop:

even though we’re both pretty busy,
(tina obviously more than i)
every now and then,
she drops me a line.
or i drop her a line.
sometimes,
i drop her a stack of post-it notes.

in our most recent exchange,
it turns out that she lost the shawl.
she was sick about it, and wasn’t sure if she should tell me.

being a knitter, i immediately offered to reknit it.
i mean, she loved it so much. how could i let her feel bad?
i said my finger was poised above “purchase” button on the BMFA website, and i was ready to dig up the pattern.

she wouldn’t hear of it.
she insisted she give me the yarn.

of course her generosity floweth over
since there is no way i’ll need three skeins.
apparently, the only real way to get rid of stash is to knit it.
any idea what i should do with the third one?

the story doesn’t end there though.
after i got the yarn tina wrote:

“I traced my steps that day over and over and realized that it probably dropped off my shoulders when I headed this toddler off at the pass because her mum was too far behind and not gaining the speed her little girl was.

So I went back to the grocery store that this had happened at a couple of days ago and was about to ask after it when I saw that one of the cashiers had it on.

She was showing it to a customer and was obviously in love and well I couldn’t, I just couldn’t.
I thought you’d understand.

You do right?”

can you believe that?
tina is a bigger knitter than i!
i would’ve snatched that shawl off that cashier
faster than a pissed off queen snatching a wig off.

still,
my answer was obvious.
of course i understand!
tina let the cashier keep the shawl
for the same reason i immediately offered to reknit it.
we knit, at least in part, because we love when people love hand knits.
clearly, the knitting gods work in mysterious ways
and that cashier was meant to have shawl number one.

this time around i’m making sure to say all the right prayers,
lighting extra incense, candles, and such
to make sure this one stays on the intended shoulders.
maybe i’ll send a shawl pin to be safe.

oh yeah,
she also hired me to be a test knitter.
can you say, “yarn support”?
can you say, “paid to knit”?!
i’m a lucky lucky man.
stephen houghton of hizKNITS may be the first man on the (blue) moon,
but there were 17 apollo missions, bitches!

an open letter to tina newton

September 15, 2010

dear tina,

today i got my shipping notification,
and my yarn will be here soon.

i think i have a crush on you.
(which is more than a little confusing).

sincerely yours,

steven

p.s. (to the readers) my friend jen is demanding photos of my blocked northern summer shawl. keep your eyes peeled later ok?

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