the glory

December 29, 2010

my knitting life has narrowed.
it’s been nothing but round after round of brioche rib.
with lace weight.
on 5’s.

my progress has been glacially slow:
about an inch a day.

all this monogamy feels necessary;
it is after all my first commission.
but i found my mind wandering
and a familiar twitch in my right eye.

i was having visions of an isolated ski lodge,
a typewriter,
and chasing shelley duvall with an axe.

rather than going postal, i thought it best to cheat.

one night locked in my room with netflix
and a shawl was born.
or finished rather.

nothing, nothing feels better than casting off that last stitch in the wee hours of the night. this must be what shooting up heroin feels like.

it’s not really cheating on tina’s sweater,
if the shawl’s for her.


December 25, 2010

anytime i go on some kind of adventure,
i have a difficult time writing about what happened.
writing about my first trip to new york might be the hardest.

i mean, how do you put new york into words?
it is truly unlike any city i’ve ever been to.
i felt like i could fall into some hole,
and no one would ever find me,
or even notice.

my brief time in the n.y.c. taught me a few things,
lessons i’ll take with me when i move there in the summertime.
here are but a few:

1. new york city is big. obvious i know, but having never been there, i didn’t understand what “big” actually meant. other cities may be larger in actual size, but i challenge you to name one that can make you feel as small as new york can.

2. people in new york are prettier. they dress better,
and are possibly genetically superior.
take for example my strawberry blonde friend sarah s. gorgeous right? (and she only lives in brooklyn!)
this of course means, when i move there,
i too will be prettier.

3. cool people work in new york city
like kim. no one is cooler than kim.
after a little galavant in soho, she bought me a birthday lunch,
very cool.

4. at sant ambroeus in the west village
they’ll let you breathe the same air as celebrities and aristocrats,
diamond-studded trophy wives and their cheating husbands,
and eat the best birthday chocolate cake ever. ever!
i mean there’s gold on for christ’s sake!
thanks for the recommendation rocco dispirito.

5. little bits of history are all around you
and if you aren’t careful,
they’ll bring you to tears.
(you didn’t really think i’d let that photo get out, did you?)

6. a fabulous birthday dinner at buddhakan
is best shared with good friends.
if only to help eat all the food when you over order.

7. sometimes, a costume change is necessary
before heading to the next location.

8. you can find a yarn store anywhere, even brooklyn.

9. unless you’re rich,
you’re going to spend hours each day in the subway.

10. and finally, i learned 26 ain’t so bad,
especially in new york city with my soul twin.

after all,
she’ll always be older than me.

merry christmas bitches,
and a fucking fabulous new year!

birthday news

December 18, 2010

well folks, today is my birthday.
i am twenty six years old.
to me, that seems very old,
but i’ve been told i have a problem with aging.
(my face would agree)

rather than dwell on my fine lines and wrinkles,
how about i tell you my news?

at 161 6th ave in manhattan,
soho publishing puts out vogue knitting,
knit simple, yarn market news, and debbie bliss magazine.
this summer, i will be their lowly unpaid intern.

this will mean a move to new york city for at least three months.
right now, the only thing keeping my excitement under control
is this terrible urge to vomit all over myself.

moving to new york is a kind of mythical adventure;
it’s one of those things “other” people do,
not some corn-fed michigan boy.

the mind reels.

being a lowly unpaid intern means i’ll also need a real job in the city.
so, my new york friends,
wanna see my resumé?

it occurred to me that i haven’t done an actual knitting post in a while.
i feel like i haven’t been as prolific as i was over the summer,
but i think i really burned out on the rhinebeck sweater.

so this is what’s been going on;
for the longest time, i’ve wanted a stephen west stripy neck accessory.
i specifically bought some yarn in rhinebeck for one,
but i couldn’t choose which i most needed in my life.

i finally decided on clockwork and i am in love with it.
the rows have gotten epicly long so i doubt it will be done for nyc.

oh well.

tina’s juneberry triangle is still on the needles,

mostly because i misplaced the pattern for a time.
i had apparently decided it belonged with all of my phd application paperwork. makes total sense.

i’ve turned the corner on the edging,
so i still have hope it’ll be done before 2011.

and of course, there’s the sample i’m knitting for blue moon.

anyone recognize what it is?

i was a little daunted when i saw which pattern i was supposed to knit.
i’ve never done a brioche stitch before,
and every other row is knit with laceweight.
that is some serious pressure.
but i’m a knitter. i can knit anything.
so after some practice, i got the body started.

yes that is the body of the sweater,
and before you say that i am in some crazy place of denial,
here are some important facts you need to consider.
this it the small size, with only 136 stitches cast on.
and it’s a brioche rib so it’s all sucked in.
when stretched, i’m getting gauge.

the fabric is slightly looser than i would normally like,
if i were knitting it for someone, i’d go down a needle size
and knit the next size up to have a denser material.
but i’m already working on 5’s.
there’s no freakin’ way i’m moving down to a 4.
it’s already taken a few days to get 5″ of sweater in.

still, sometimes when i look at it,
i get the fear.

feel free to jump in and validate me at any moment.

in other news, i’m may have something exciting to share in a couple days. hopefully. if things go well. if they don’t forget i ever said this.
in fact go ahead and forget i said anything.
i don’t want to jinx it.


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!

still livid

December 8, 2010

i got home today and found that sarah had left me an interesting comment on my fuel for the fire post:

Just wanted to chime in to say that while I agree the gross generalizations are incorrect and possibly offensive, when read in addition to the stories included in the book (a woman getting upset that the fancy cabled and colorwork sweater was going to goodwill, and that the simple dressy sweater was used to rake leaves), there is a bit of “tongue-in-cheek” humor to go along with it. However, that is a difficult thing to get across in writing.

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the beautiful and wonderfully produced patterns in this book get overshadowed by the commentary and writing around it, that seem to upset some people.

I found the little anecdotes of men using cashmere hats to wipe up cat vomit humorous, and I plan on knitting more than a few of the patterns, because I like that I can choose my yarn, choose my gauge, and all the math and guesswork is done for me. And I choose not to get offended by generalizations, because really, everyone does it…all the time…and if that’s what got someone’s pattern published so I can use it, then so what.

i personally found no humor in any of the anecdotes.
i didn’t find any humor in men being portrayed as oblivious, unfeeling, neanderthals.

at first i thought,
“maybe it’s a gay thing?”
maybe it’s because i know so many queer folk who have suffered because they were unable to fit into these stereotypes that makes me extra sensitive.

maybe things like rampant anorexia and gay kids offing themselves left an right has nothing at all to do with being bombarded by messages about gender.

maybe i’m overreacting,
and men really can’t change
and women must do the changing in order to be happy with them
and with their knitting.

maybe sarah is right and everyone generalizes so there’s no point in getting worked up even when those generalizations cause me and people i care about pain.

she is right that the patterns were good.
but the book is marketed as a guide for women to understand men so they can tailor their knitting to them.

there had to be other,
more effective ways to market those patterns.

this is my blog,
my little corner of the internet.
if i’m offended, i’m probably going to write about it.
and while i still encourage people to ask their lys to remove that book from their shelves, it’s just my opinion.

thanks for sharing yours with me sarah.
you have an interesting worldview.

edit: i took down sarah’s email on the advice of my friend, the editor of the world. *sigh* maturity sucks.


December 6, 2010

a customer said i needed to wear a button that read:
“sexy men knit”

first time in my life i’ve been objectified
and didn’t know how to respond.

project ten: take five

December 3, 2010

“I talk to ghosts and furniture, and I think bugs have feelings.

My first babysitter almost broke the world’s record for seeing star wars in the theatre the most, but was just beaten out. She did however drag me with her every time, and so sometimes I recite the movie while I am sleeping.

I sing on stages & ride in buses for a living.

I knit every spare second I have.

You’ll find me on tour,
knitting little white mice and batting them around,
chatting up hamsters, or somewhere near the magic tree.”

know who this is? no?
well, you know that anyone who writes that about themselves,
has got to be on interesting bitch!

thankfully, miss spillyjane turned me on to this designer,
and she graciously agreed to an interview.

so today kiddies,
i give you stephanie dosen of tiny owl knits.

hi steph, thanks for being here.

happy to be!

ready to get started?

lets go for it.

1 – we begin with the inevitable first question: english or continental?

i started continental because i am a crochet bird from birth, but i switched to english when i started teaching. people seem to pick it up faster for some reason. now i go back and forth like a vacillating maniac because i get bored easily. you should see my handwriting; it’s just as inconsistent.

2 – you’re an american citizen right? so how did you come to be living in britain?

about four years ago i met my record producer online. after we made an album, i came over to do the mastering. after that i started touring and working with other bands and buying tiny antique books at flea markets. i guess one thing led to another and seems i just never made it back to the states!

3 – looking at your designs, it’s easy to see that you have a love of the fantastical side of things. where did this love come from?

i think its one part snow white, one part tinkerbell and one part dorothy from the wizard of oz. they were really my best companions when i was very little, add the fact that i grew up literally in the woods with no other little girls around me, just makes me a bit of a reclusive fairy head in the clouds type it think? i spend my days making up songs to my cats and hanging up twinkle lights. i wish i wasn’t such a twee nerd but i cant help it in any way. i’ve tried to be hermione but i cant. im luna lovegood from tip to toe.

4 – i have to ask, do you actually believe in gnomes and such? or is it merely part of the tiny owl persona?

there is literally no end to what i believe in because i don’t really believe in anything and yet believe in everything all at once. it is all so insane isn’t it? the fact that we are stuck to a giant hot and cold spinning ball in space, and we care about each other, and we care about our cars and toys. and we die, and babies come flying out of our bottoms! its preposterous really, how we survive here, how we made cheerios and tacos, cars and escalators. gnomes just seem obvious and a lot easier to imagine existing than an ice cube maker don’t they?

lol, i guess that makes sense.

5 – if you had to label your personal aesthetic in three words, what would they be?

earthy, ethereal, pale

6 – how much of your design aesthetic is organic and how much is cultivated? by which i mean how much (if at all) of your new designs are confined within “the look” you’ve already established?

ah that’s a really interesting question, i think maybe i really just design what i want to have for myself, and so far it kind of goes together. i am pretty intense about what colors i have around me. all of my knickers match, all of my plates match. if my book covers don’t match my other book covers, i cover them with fabric. i’m hyper organized since toddlerhood, is toddlerhood a word? anyway, i like my shit to match. and if it doesn’t i get anxiety, so that might be part of why everything blends as i go through phases.

7 – i feel like these days, anyone who knows how to knit thinks they can design. what do you think of the proliferation of “designers?” and what effect do you think it has on knitting as an art form/craft?

i love the fact that everyone is designing, because everyone always has! it’s just that we never got to see it. sometimes, i think of the victorian genius that we never got to witness because it was created by little girls confined to attics, and thrown away before it ever hit the light. what fantastical magical dolls and trinkets did the hope chests of yesterday hold!? what needlework, quilts and clothing were thrown away and lost in war and fire. now the internet is a big glass window and we can peek in to see what everyone is making! It’s so exciting and inspirational every day there is something new. it’s like going into everyone’s secret under-bed boxes, and looking at their creations. and it compounds and folds over upon itself so we get multiple versions of things. it’s all free too, inspiration is free and creation is free. it’s part of human nature to invent and make things, that why we have so much crap around that doesn’t grow on tress. there will always be enough shoppers to go around, there will always be enough. i also love that something interesting is happening. it is so much fun to be in the middle of an arts and crafts, homey, re-use, re-fashion, whimsical, vintage loving, rose and magic filled, plush-tastic wave of creative madness brought on by economical and technological changes. yeah, some of it is low-standard but i don’t really care. i cant imagine how many times other peoples creations given me a heart-rush and actually made my day better for seeing them. the only negative it has i think is that it can be overwhelming, and can make a person feel like they aren’t doing something as good as doris in norway or something. but that’s a personal battle for each person to overcome i suppose.

8 – for some reason, i’m tickled by the fact that you’re in a band, that you express yourself artistically in different media. can you tell us a little bit about your band, snowbird, what your sound is like, who your influences are?

i put out a few solo records and had some amazingly talented hot girls in my band, but after i started working with massive attack i put my solo stuff on hold, only to lose my solo-mojo and my hot girls to other projects. after the dust settled simon raymonde (from cocteau twins) and i just decided to do a laid back project. we’ve done a bit of touring and are still working on the finishing touches of our first record. there will be some really talented people making guest appearances such as robin pecknold from fleet foxes. also, phil selway and ed o’brien from radiohead are also going to sprinkle some magic on a few tracks.

9 – as you know, it was spillyjane who nominated you for this interview. in her interview she said, “i’d like to know how she takes such simple knitted objects and imbues them with so much beauty.” care to take a crack at that one?

oh god for some reason my first thought was “lots of mayonnaise” but that doesn’t make sense does it. i do love mayonnaise though. for a long time i didn’t know that it was just eggs. i try not to think about it. ah thanks spillyjane! she and i have become friends and she is so creative! i love seeing what she comes up with… as for me… aw shucks.. ya really think so? heh heh thanks! all i can say is its like decorating a cake, you gotta know when to stop and eat it.

10 – and finally, if you could interview anyone for project ten, who would it be and what would you ask them?

i’d interview cirilia rose (“skrillaknits” on ravelry) and ask her what she feeds the pixie army in her head to create her gorgeous arsenal of fantastic designs.

thanks steph for being here.
it was great to meet you, if only virtually.

thanks! great questions! it was so fun i didn’t realize i never left home.

*stephanie dosen (ageless) is an american singer living in london. when she is not on tour with her band snowbird, she spends her time designing knitwear, and publishing
knitting patterns under the name tiny owl knits. she also spends quite a bit of time with the gnomes. they play “catch the frog” and “hopscotch.” though, they tend to leave out the hop bit and concentrate more on the scotch. you can find tiny owl knits knitting patterns for sale on her blog, on etsy, & on ravelry.