just checking in

June 26, 2010

so much has happened on this trip;
i couldn’t possibly articulate it all.
i’ll catch you bitches up later.


for now,
a knitting sunset:

hopefully that can hold you over.

in the chicago airport

June 23, 2010

today begins a week of vacation here at bitches get stitches.
i’m off to portland to begin a west coast road trip with two great friends.
i hope to have many adventures to share with you all,
but right now. . .

i’m a little sleepy.
i have nothing blogworthy to report,
except that i brought my stora dimum with me to knit on.
some people like to bring small, portable projects on vacation.
i prefer large ones.

there are so many extra hours,
both on planes and in airport terminals.
if i’m going to put that much time into knitting,
it might as well be on something big.

and believe you me,
the stora dimun is on huge mothah fuckah.
for those who don’t know,
you cast on 449 stithces.
just sayin’.

but i’m unprepared.
there’s no picture of the glorious yarn,
or the progress i’ve made.
(2 more lace rows!)

so here’s a picture to amuse you.
this is what i look like with an hour’s sleep,
living through the six o’clock hour for the second time:

yup! still youthful and fresh looking.
practically perfect in every way,
just like mary poppins.

a quickie

June 19, 2010

i’m pretty beat so i’ll make this quick.
i blocked my juneberry triangle, and it turned out lovely.

i was a bit nervous about blocking this puppy,
since i’d never done it before.

i mean, we all understand the basic principles:
soak, then pin in place. (threading blocking wires through the edges is optional really, but holy god do i recommend them)

but trust me, if you’ve never blocked lace, there’s a bit of a gap between theory and practice. no one tells you through which stitches exactly one is supposed thread the blocking wires, or how ‘hard’ to stretch the lace. no one tells you precisely how to use the pins to hold the wires in place (fyi, pin at a sharp angle to hold them down). nor does anyone mention how uncomfortable it is to lie on the floor at 1 a.m. repositioning pins again and again to get that sucker into just the right shape, especially if your dog decides that is the perfect time to take an interest in your tush. (dog people, you understand. the rest of you, don’t ask)

i swear, we don’t give bitches enough credit for good blocking.
(maybe i should start a blocking business to supplement my habit)

it took my ten days.
only ten days and a xanax.
by the end, my hand was cramping.
and i’m pretty sure if there had been any more edging,
i’d have developed “the claw.”

it took just under one skein,
(since i stupidly knit it with a size 6 needle)
but i’m confident that it will be the perfect size blocked.

what am i talking about?
why jared flood’s most recent masterpiece, the juneberry triangle.

it was definitely the most difficult knit i’ve done thus far

and yet,

once i got going,
things made sense.
and i got to thinking,
i meet so many knitters and too many of them say things like,
“was that an easy knit?”
“i could never knit that.”
“is it hard?”

when did knitting something easy become a badge of honor?
why wouldn’t you want to knit something that was challenging,
that took you to the edge of your abilities?
sure i like mindless knitting sometimes,
but knitting is like a puzzle to me;
it’s the figuring out part i love.

so no this wasn’t an easy knit.
i had to think
and pay attention.
in doing so, i figured it out.
and i conquered this mothah f*ckah!

tonight, it soaks.
tomorrow, the blocking begins.

in other news,
the travels of the girasole continues.
shara has been toting it all over the uk,
carrying it with her to historical sites,
and showing it off at yarn stores.

here it is at the wool clip

castlelrigg stone circle

(that’s shara on the right. not sure who she’s with but she looks cool. must be a knitter.)

she then took it to hadrian’s wall

and to see the angel of the north

my mom wrote me an email about the girasole.
she wondered if i was jealous that my knitting is traveling more than i am.
(because apparently she is)

i told her it’s the complete opposite.
i’m thrilled something that i made is traveling all over the uk.
i should start sending more knitting out into the world.
like a chain letter.
and people send a picture.

i feel a new project coming on.

this just in:
girasole, last spotted in trafalgar square,
has recently be sighted on the west side england.
the following photo, obtained from a reliable source,
clearly shows the girasole at the castlerigg stone circle

we’ll keep you updated on any developments as they become available.

i’ve been pretty cranky this week.
most likely because i haven’t had a good night’s sleep in a while.

but if anything can cheer me up,
it’s a nice package.
and this week,
i got two.

the first was great surprise:

ms. sally of rivendale farms,
(a professional commenter here at bitchesgetstiches)
sent me a lovely skein of hand painted alpaca and silk.
the fleece is from her very own alpaca, tianna.

the skein is seriously lovely.
it’s a perfect addition to my recent silk obsession.

thanks sally!

the second was less of a surprise,
since technically, i knew it was coming.
but it still gave me a happy:

my (most recent) diploma.

those of you who’ve been paying attention
may remember that i missed my graduation.
it was a little bittersweet, but the decision was easy;
my family needed me so i headed home.

but the joy of the day was only delayed.
because when i saw that giant envelope,
i felt a tension release in my chest.

it was one of those experiences of real happiness that seem to get rarer and rarer now that i’m a full fledged grown up. i literally had to show someone, and ran to veronica’s room with a stupid grin on my face like a kid bringing home an “a” to mom.

too bad we don’t have a magnet big enough to hold this bitch to the fridge.

whips and chains

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.

the reason?
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?

i’m done ranting.
something happy?
how about a couple of fo’s:

that’s anna’s february lady sweater,

and plain green socks for mitch,
a.k.a. lisa b.

(isn’t she a great foot model?)

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!.

i’ve been a both a busy bee and a lazy bum.
i feel like i’ve been working (in various forms) constantly;
then i look around me,
and i’ve gotten so little done.

since i’ve been away from the blog for almost a week,
let’s play catch up, shall we?

there have also been some minor plagues upon my house,
like an e-mail coup,
and bicycle theft.

but then came a ray of sunshine in the form of yarn:

a few months ago,
my dear friend nancy went to a sheep shearing event.
we decided that if it wasn’t to expensive,
we’d go in on a fleece together.

(she’s thrifty and i tend toward the broke side of the financial spectrum depending on how far i am from pay day)

nancy picked out the fine coat of isis,
a particularly handsome shetland sheep.
she’s no expert on fleeces,
but since her quick purchase garnered many jealous looks from her fellow shearers and pickers, she knew she hit the jackpot.

since, at the time, neither of could spin,
we sent it off to a mill in michigan (my beloved homeland),
stone hedge fiber mill
i love their shepherd’s wool, (so should all of you)
and when i found out they will process a fleece not only into roving,
but into yarn, i knew where i was sending our beloved isis wool.

a few months later, and here it is,
1250 yards of a beautiful aran yarn.
i don’t know how they managed it,
but they made a shetland fleece feel like merino.
seriously, it’s softer than cascade 220.

since splitting the yarn meant neither of us would have enough,
we made a deal: i get to knit the yarn, she gets the garment.
come fall, this will become a lovely cabled vest for nancy.
and suggestions for a pattern?

in other news,
i have begun working on the juneberry triangle.
it is by far the most difficult thing i have ever knit,
and i am not ashamed to say that it brought me as close to crying i have ever come over knitting. i’ll have more details about it later, but suffice it say, my love/hate of jared flood burns ever stronger.

speaking of providing further details, here’s an update on project 10.
my first “interview” is with melynda of french press knits
and i’m totally stoked that my first participant will be a fellow michigander. we’re both working hard on this one bitches.

since i want this to be as much about the community as it is about me,
i’d love it if at least one of the 10 questions came from you all.
if there’s anything you’re dying to know about melynda,
leave your question in the comments.

and keep an eye on the blog folks,
i’m hoping to get it out before the end of june.

à bientôt mes petites chiennes.

p.s. lately, i’ve been doing most of my writing at the quiet storm
it’s an independently (queer/women?) owned vegetarian diner,
and my favorite place in pittsburgh.

i thought i’d give them a shout out since they take such good care of me and my insatiable need for cheese, broccoli, tofu, and iced coffee:

if you’re passing through the burgh,
you need to try the home fries.

if you live here already,
why aren’t you sitting across from me right now?

newton’s third law states that for every action,
there is an equal an opposite reaction.

for me that has meant that everything good i have done today,
has been met with something not so good.

for instance,
i have much administrative stuff to do.
working two weeks straight at the shop has impeded my progress.
so i set the alarm on my phone so i would get up bright and early;
go me right?

of course turning the ringer on would have helped.
needless to say, i woke up late.

i then decided to go to my favorite spot in pittsburgh, the quiet storm,
to catch up on some correspondence, and knock out a blog post.
luckily, i charged my camera battery last night, and remembered to grab my camera on my way out so i could take a photo of second sock:

of course i never put the battery in the camera,
thus the low quality computer cam pic.

(margaret cho looks pissed at the low quality photo of second sock, no?)

you’ll also notice how little progress has been made on second sock.
that would be because i am practicing my spinning,
which means i’m not knitting,
which means i’m probably going to lose the summer of socks and lace and my small life of fiber artistry will have no meaning!

i’ve regained my grip.
which brings me to the real topic of this post:

i’ve had this idea to do a series of short interviews with what could be called the up and coming/newly famous/should be famous people in the fiber arts world. i’m calling the project 10 questions for the ravelry generation. or just project 10. i haven’t decided.

the gist is that i pose ten random questions to knitters/crocheters/spinners/bloggers/designers that inspire me, and the rest of us. i have a short list of people i’m pretty sure will take my call so to speak, and a dream list of people who are probably too important to get back to me.

now, i’m no journalist.
i have no idea what i’m doing really.
i just thought it would be cool to create a record of this moment while it’s still going on.

i feel like we’ve all had ideas, creative ideas, and for whatever reason we haven’t followed through. a year later we find ourselves saying, “i thought of that!” or “i could do that!” and my friend lisa will promptly say,

“but you didn’t.”

the truth of the statement can be devastating.
and i figure if i say i’m going to do this thing on the blog,
i’ll be accountable to some one.

so after this,
i’m sending out my first request for an interview.

keep your fingers crossed bitches!!

(what the #$&@* am i getting myself into)