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.
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?*
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.
and 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?
**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’.
March 14, 2013
i returned from spring break this week
where several chicago men propositioned me in various capacities.
being the lady that i am
i of course bedded
none of them.
my ego sufficiently inflated, i returned
and entered what can only be called the three days of hell,
all of it connected to the real job (as cauchy calls it).
phase one of a particular project is done
and my colleagues and i are moving into phase deux.
(if any of you want to take a look, feel free)
phase one nearly did us in,
and phase deux is fixing to finish the job.
any of you who have ever tried to combine
and literary analysis,
may have an inkling of our difficulties.*
as the harlot always says,
the universe seeks balance.
after three days of
setback after setback
bad news after bad news
i received a little gifty in the mail.
any of you who’ve followed my blog
will know how much i adore gifts.
you could have knocked me over with a feather
when i got to my office mailbox to find a package
from ms. hello yarn herself.
can you believe it?
for absolutely no reason at all,
i got a gifty when i most needed it.
home made jams and over 1200yds of yarn?
almost enough to make a believer outta ya, right?
after a month with no books in sight,
i explained the situation to kate
and she sent me two new ones at no charge.
they arrived without a hitch in about week.
what happened to the other two to delay them?
were they trapped in customs?
lost in that black hole with which we knitters are so familiar?
nothing so simple.
what had happened was, it was
missent to mother fucking australia?
how on earth did the british postal system of all people
missend my package to australia?
they literally sent it across the wrong ocean!
since i hardly need four copies of the book
i’m giving away the other two.
if you want to win one,
just share this post somehow,
(there should be a little ‘share’ button at the bottom)
and leave me a comment.
the random number generator will pick a winner.
stay tuned to see what i’m knitting.
*any experts in any of those areas who’d like to help, especially people conversant in arcgis 10.1, hit me up! lol
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.
- the harlot is a
- oldest child
- mother of three
- in her forties
- and i’m a
- only child
- 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
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)
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!
this 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.
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,
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,
mo upped the level of difficulty
by finding the one spot to curl up
that made any movement in the night impossible.
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.
May 9, 2012
after turning in my final papers on monday,
a combination of
lack of sleep,
and caffeine overdose
reduced me to a bedridden shell of a man.
so of course i got up at the crack of dawn on tuesday
and drove forty minutes for a knitting class
with the yarn harlot.
i knew my knitter buddy melynda was going to be there
and that she was bringing friends.
so i re-upped my starbucks dosage,
hid my raccoon eyes with sunglasses,
and headed to howell.
while i learned all about color knitting techniques
(fair isle, stranded, intastia, slipped stitches etc.)
my favorite piece of info was how colors are put together
and how we are instinctively drawn to put certain colors together
unless, of course, one is color blind*.
(can you guess which block belongs to me?)
as usual, beth harassed me,
telling me how i needed to be a better spinner and knitteri retaliated with my camera.
our one table mate, kelly, is actually a reader!
(i never, ever get used to the fact that people read my blog)
she called us the “knitterati”, and had us pose for a photo.(photo courtesy of knitterella)
while i would never put myself on their level
it was flattering of kelly to include me.
memorable quotes from the heathers’ table
that are probably only funny if you were there:
“it’s a different green!”
“i’m just going to make it done”
“sucking on a scone”
“something’s sucking something”
“i blew the blue”
as you can see, there was an . . . oral theme at our table.
*no, i’m not colorblind
July 27, 2011
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
*pant* *pant* *pant*
i’m ok now.
in any case,
this is my class schedule:
9:00am photographing your fiber – franklin habit
7:00pm opening night reception
9:00am knitted tessellation: playful and powerful patterns in practice – franklin habit
3:00pm hizsocks: making socks manly – stephen houghton
10:30pm sock hop
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
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?
March 24, 2011
so in my frenzy to make my life into a list,
i forgot a couple of things that i wanted to write.
that and day two of my class should be enough for a post, right?
so let the randomness continue!
x. on friday, when i was still pretty bummed out, kristen, a.k.a. @carcosa, tweeted at me: My #FF crown this week is awarded too… @Faiche_Stiabhna for his unique combination of humor, fiber knowlege, and fierce glasses. that totally made my day. (are my glasses really fierce?)
xi. i apparently inspired one of my most loyal commenters and internet friends, miss sally of rivendale farms. or maybe more accurately, this photo of mo did. after seeing it, she went on a cowl binge. she wrote about it here.
xii. another besty from the internet, kim, is a nice person. she wants to help the people in japan. she asked me to spread the word, so do me a favor, and click here to read her post. go ahead. do the right thing. i dare you.
xiii. in my last post, i mentioned that i felt that, when you meet a knitting celebrity, maybe you should keep your cool and not act like you’re old friends reunited. this is how i try to operate. (don’t ask me about my success rate). PrincessFee left me the following comment:
You don’t know me, but I do feel as though I know you. Thank you for your humour, wit, & frankness. If we ever get to meet, I will act as though I don’t know you.
first of all, that is sweet. second, i’m so far from being a knitting celebrity that the sentiment is almost laughable. third, if you do read this blog with any kind of regularity, i imagine you’ve a certain amount of shamelessness in you. i would never expect you to show such restraint if you see me out in the real world. just don’t be disappointed if the dude you run into is actually pretty shy.
xiv. however, i find it ironic that i spent all of day one quietly sitting next to the lovely natatlie who, as it turns out, reads my blog. small world, eh? of course, she didn’t say anything until day two (class act, right?). we spent the first day like any other kids on the first day of school, making idle chit chat and nervous eye contact. but i’m totally glad she told me. it was great way to start what turn out to be a really hard day of class.
xv. i think that, while she doesn’t say it, stephanie doesn’t like to have her photo taken. i think this because almost every single photo i took of her is kinda terrible. she’s making a face in or blinking or possibly about to sneeze. somehow, i think this is done on purpose as a way of fucking with our heads. luckily, i snapped this one.yeah she’s a little blurry in this photo, but at least she doesn’t look like she’s in the middle of a seizure.
xvi. day one of “knitting for speed and efficiency” with stephanie pearl-mcphee was all about learning a brief history of knitting, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of english and continental knitting, and learning ways to improve our own personal styles of knitting. the most interesting concept for me was the idea that we get too comfortable with our own styles, and try to apply them to every type of knitting when altering our personal style, or using another method might make it easier for a given project. according to stephanie, we as knitters seem to resist using all the tools at our disposal to make it easier on ourselves. for instance, if you’re an english knitter (like me) why wouldn’t you use continental knitting to knit miles of stockinette in the round when it is so clearly the superior technique for that particular project? or if you’re a continental knitter, and have a project with lots of texture and decorative purl stitches why wouldn’t you use the method best suited to purling (english knitting)? it’s a good point. why not expand our personal abilities to improve ourselves as knitters? unless of course excellence doesn’t matter to you.
day two was dedicated to learning “lever knitting” (sometimes called irish cottage knitting) which is the method used by the people who knitted for their livelihood. it also happens to be the style the harlot learned from her bitch of a grandmother. rather than go into a long description of the method, here’s a video. because we all have a certain amount of knitting knowledge burned into our minds, changing our techniques is kinda hard. everyone’s hands were freaking out, fingers moving of their own accord as if our brains no longer had anything to say about what they did. natalie’s pinky finger kept trying to get involved to the point where stephanie had to immobilize itwhen stephanie asked how i was doing, i told her i sucked. the moment that followed involved a joke about my “sucking”. it must have pretty embarrassing since i can’t for the life of me remember the details (if you do, feel free to leave it in the comments. i’d like to remember that one) but whenever my face stopped being pink, i eventually got the hang of it.
even though i posted a link to the video, i wouldn’t recommend copying her technique from it; you really need to have it explained in person. it’s just too easy to think you’re doing it correctly when in fact you’re doing it very very wrong. i mean, we had an expert in the room, and each of us found a way to fuck it up to some degree. sometimes, you just need someone to hold your pinky.
February 14, 2011
i made a pretty thing.
just in case you wondered if i’m still into the whole knitting business.
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.
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,
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
do it yourself.
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,
June 10, 2010
i’m in an s&m relationship with jared flood.
or, to be more precise, his juneberry triangle.
initially, it destroyed my self esteem,
and seemed impossible to conquer.
i dried my eyes, dug down deep,
and countered with my own instruments of pain:
a mechanical pencil, graph paper, and a calculator.
and beat that mother into submission.
(the yarn is madelinetosh “pashmina” in copper penney)
the reason it was so difficult (at first) was because of the second chart.
if you look at people’s notes on ravelry,
all their trouble was chart 2 related.
chart 2 doesn’t display a repeat per se.
rather, as the shawl grows
(from the yo’s at the sides and center spine)
one works the pattern into the new stitches if there are enough to do so.
remember, if you have enough stitches to do a decrease, you must do it’s corresponding increase. and vice versa. and you never do a double yo. that tip is key.
when you have completed the eight offending rows,
and are ready to work them all over again, there’s a twist:
the first stitch of the chart doesn’t correspond to the the first stitch on the shawl. instead, you continue working in the established pattern (and death death to all designers who use the phrase “work in patt”), stacking the diamonds on top of each other, and “growing” that pattern outward as more and more stitches are created. this coupled with the fact that there is patterning on both sides made me want to die a little.
here’s a closer look:
see how the diamonds “stack”?
that concept really helped me get over the hump.
i soon got into the grove of it.
since, actually, it’s a fairly easy pattern.
and banged out the second chart in an evening.
go me right?
not so much.
as i was finishing the second to last row of the section,
i saw a little “4″ flashing in front of my eyes.
a closer look revealed it to read 4mm.
that would be a u.s. size 6 needle.
not the 7 the pattern calls far.
i am fairly sure that i started with a 7.
but must have needed them for a second.
(i use addi clicks so i probably clicked them off)
and then replaced them with 6′s for who knows why.
once again, the juneberry made me it’s bottom bitch.
my main point is this;
contrary to my original feeling,
this pattern is definitely doable.
it was just written in a way that isn’t standard,
at least when it comes to lace/charts i’ve encountered.
in my mind, it’s another example of a of a blight in our community: designers writing patterns, but not writing them for the dumbest possible knitter. if you’re good enough to design something like this, and then have one of your friends test knit it, of course they’ll get it. they’re probably good knitters, and they have you there to ask little questions. you need to have strangers test knit things, people who aren’t as comfortable with their knitting skills so that their problems will aid you in clarifying patterns.
and please, pay the extra money and write out a complete chart!
they’re already tiny so why not nix one photo of the shawl,
and put a chart there?
it’s the fo’s that keep me going.
and photos like these remind me why i knit;
i knit because i love the feeling of making something beautiful with my own two hands.
so keep ‘em coming jared.
i’ll knit whatever you can throw at me!.