away for the weekend

May 27, 2011

i’m celebrating memorial day weekend
by escaping to the wilds of pennsylvania.
there will be a cabin.
there will be no running water.
there will be a bunch of dudes and, with any luck,
some mild debauchery.

but i couldn’t just abandon you for a long weekend
without sharing one last fibery tidbit.

in my packing frenzy,
a parcel arrived at my doorstep.
i opened the envelope to find these:
fucking hand knit socks!
these socks are perfect,
perfect color, perfect fit.
i heart them so hard.

they’re from julie,
my spoilee in the secret pal swap,
and all around badass bitch.

i wasn’t the best spoiler, in terms of getting things out in a timely fashion. what i lacked in timeliness, i tried to make up for in quality.
the point of these swaps is to bring knitters together,
and, in the case of julie and i,
it certainly did.

it’s lovely to think that,
all the way across the ocean,
on an army base in athens greece,
there’s a lady who likes me enough to knit me socks.

what a crazy-ass world we live in.

have a great weekend, bitches!

spunky clockwork

May 26, 2011

in all the confusion of my life,
i kinda lost track of my traveling clockwork.
last i knew, it was with amy aka boogie aka spunky eclectic.

photo courtesy of amy/spunky eclectic

she passed it on to erica d. in toronto.
other than that, i’ve lost track of it.
erica, if you’re out there,
i hope you’ve taken care of it!

if anyone else has spotted it on the internets,
do let me know, won’t you?
i worry so.

as promised

May 25, 2011

a big bag of yarn.(blogged while driving. that’s dedication)

i’m sitting in a starbucks in royal oak,

a town where i spent many an hour in my youth
watching movies,
eating middle eastern food,
and smoking camel lights.
you know.
kid stuff.

a lot has changed. (camel lights don’t even exist anymore)
i’m not sure if it’s just living in pittburgh for a the past two years,
or the fact that it looks like a bunch of money got poured into this town.
but somehow,
i feel very underdressed.
like someone’s going to ask me to park their car or something.

i miss the dirtier, poorer royal oak of my youth.

i digress.

this is my third trip to michigan in as many weeks,
doing the whole family duty thing.
mowing grass.
chopping up trees.
moving old people around,
both automotively and manually.

i’m hoping to make this my last trip
before i actually move back here.

last week, while driving home,
i wrote a hilarious little blog post on my iphone,
but the wordpress app ate it.

it felt dishonest to try to reconstruct it,
so i’ll just say this: it involved heartfelt comments about my family,
observations about michiganders’ relationship to food a the road,
my current knitting project,
and a cinnabon.

don’t you hate my wordpress app as well?

now, i’m going to eat dinner with this fine lady.

this is mallory (non-knitter),
a good friend from college,
and soon to be doctor.
(i’ve been calling her dr. mally mal since she got into med school)

it’s been almost two years since we’ve been in each other’s company,
but she’s that kind of friend where you pick up right where you left off,
laughing and gossiping like we were 18 all over again.

it feels good to know i have a friend like her in the world.

i hope you do too.

**tomorrow, i’ll show you my big bag o yarn. promise.

oh hi! i didn’t see you there.
how have you been doing?
what have you be up to?

really‽ that sounds awesome.
seriously. good for you.

what have i been up to?
you mean besides heading to michigan again,
doing the whole family duty thing?

well right now i’m reading this absolutely fascinating interview on kim’s blog. really, i don’t know where she finds such interesting people.
you should totally go check it out.
seriously, go.

i’ll wait here.

last year, i went to my first ever fiber festival,
maryland sheep and wool festival ’10.
i knit my hotpants for a lark,
because all the talk of what to make/wear to the festival, well,
i thought people were a little nuts about it.

suddenly it was time for mdsw ’11,
and i had to decide if it was time to iron the hotpants,
or retire them.

i had to ask myself,
am i too old for this shit?
is it time for a little dignity?
or is this a tradition i should embrace?

i said fuck it.
who cares?!

i spent a lot of time on them,
and it hurt my hands to knit them.
(aran weight cotton on 5’s + cables. never again.)
i mean, there are only so many places one can wear handknit hotpants.
as long as my ass isn’t saggy, i’m wearing ’em!
and if nothing else, they’re über comfy.

of course i realize that wearing them will garner some attention,
and people are going to snap a couple surreptitious pics.
these are some of the pics i could get my hands on:

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there was obviously a lot of kinnearing,
and several people stopped me to ask for a photo,
which i am always happy to do if i can get a copy.
but two encounters really stand out.

the first is when a little boy, adam,
came up to me to ask about the hotpants.
apparently, he’s a little knitters, and he recognized me from ravelry.
this little bugger was totally fearless, asking all kinds pertinent questions.
at first i just answered his queries, talking like i would to any knitter,
until i realized that he looked like he was alone.

“where’s your mother?!” i asked, a little worried and incredulous.
that’s when little adam’s entourage rolled up.
really nice family, totally awesome.
and adam kept right on talking the whole time.
(thanks for the pic guys!)

the other is the “in search of hotpants” tee shirt.
meg and her mother, karen, made and wore the shirt (respectively),
and then made it one of their festival goals to find me.
now that is dedication if i ever saw it.

all in all,
the hotpants and i had a lovely time.
i’m still thinking of retiring them,
or perhaps knitting a new pair.
maybe when i’m thirty.

twenty six in hotpants may be acceptable.
i still have a little crazy youth on my side.
but an anonymous bulge at thirty?
not quite so classy.

either way,
i’ll see you next year, bitches!

i feel like everyone who blogs about a fiber festival
covers three basic things:
their haul,
and famous people.
(i saw clara parkes coming out of the bathroom,
and am 99% sure i saw anna zilboorg.
can anyone confirm that one?)

but how many pictures of cute sheep can one look at
before you realize you’re bored out of your skull?
so on sunday, the last day of the festival,
i decided to photograph something different,
something i saw all around the fairgrounds this year:


specifically bearded men.
they seemed to be everywhere,
which is lucky since, at least to me,
facial hair is very sexy.

it took tremendous energy to overcome my shyness,
and ask total strangers if i could take a picture of them.
so for about every five beards i saw,
i asked one for a photo.

and now without further ado,
i give you, the bear(d)s of maryland sheep and wool!

this was my first beard of the day. his wife, a shy raveler, sent him over to ask if i was the infamous “hotpants” from the ravelry forum. he asked to take my photo so i thought it was only right to ask for his.
(his accent was wicked cool as well).
immeditately after, this guy rolled up. you gotta respect a dude who can commit to that kind of length. i could never grow my beard that long. plus, you may notice he is smoking in this photo, which of course makes him extra cool. what? you never knew smoking makes you cool?
well, it does.
then we have kilty mcbeard as i like to call him. i’d seen him the day before, and when i decided to undertake this project, i hoped he’d be there sunday as well. he gets kudos for his whole ensemble, from the leather hat, to the cabled vest, to the utilikilt. there were a lot of guys in utilikilts at the festival, but many of them weren’t flattering. his was the right color and length. seriously guys, your utilikilts are too long! you need to shorten them up or else you look like 6th grade catholic school girls. definitely not hot.
i had this man in mind as well when i decided to shoot some beards, if for no other reason than he is exactly one of my good friend’s type (you know who you are, buster). i’ve forgotten his name, but i believe he is the proprietor of the trawitz sheepskin products booth. while from afar he’s very imposing, he was willing to model his sheepy hat, which is frankly a little hilarious.

he may be able to snap my not-so-little ass in half,but i think that smile deserves a second shot for sure.

i almost missed this beard. i was standing on the main drag, and one of my friends yelled “beard!” i immediately stopped him with my, “excuse me sir” line, only to realize it was my fibery friend tammy‘s husband, who i had just talked to the day before. he accused me of using his image for nefarious reasons. someone help me think of one. i wouldn’t want to disappoint.

here we have a beard in motion. i caught this guy in passing in the main barn. he may have a confederate flag pin on his hat (boo!), but his hat/suspenders/pocket protector combo makes this beard worth noting.

i saw this little guy, walking around with his pretty girl, holding hands, clearly in love. rather than make me vomit, it touched me, and gave me the courage to ask for his photo.apparently, i’m going soft in my old age.

the final beard i captured belongs to the the sanguine gryphon‘s cute male worker bee. i have to admit he was my festival crush, and i made sure i told everyone to hit up their booth to take a peek. to me, he looks like stephen west‘s older, beefier brother, and believe me, this photo doesn’t do him justice. i did ask to take his photo, but even on the last day, he was too busy to strike a pose. so i did what any good knitting blogger would do.i kinneared him.

there is of course my beard,
meager though it may be.

it had a lovely time at the festival.

and because it’s obligatory,

this is my haul:
jennie the potter yarn bowl (victory is mine!),
a crochet hook roll up.
and some bugga!.
nothing too outrageous,
but these four little guys still put me over budget.

see you next year!

**tomorrow, an epilogue or hotpants strikes back.

on the road

May 9, 2011

when some bloggers travel, you get photos and witty banter from the airport. i, on the other hand, am driving home to michigan, and am too tired to be truly witty.

i’ve got no knitting on me so i hope you’ll be content with this picture of my rest stop breakfast.

it’s not much, but it’s what I got.

it’s not easy blogging from an iphone.
give me a little credit.

i promise there’s more maryland sheep and wool fun coming soon. just cut me some slack, ok?


mdsw preview

May 7, 2011

i’m still a little weak,
and my knitting mojo is m.i.a.
but this weekend, i’m shedding my invalid shell,
and heading out into the world for real real.

that’s right bitches.
this shut-in is at the maryland sheep and wool festival.i packed light. i’m very proud.

i’m traveling with my fibery pal, andrea,
yarn rep and all around hilarious lady.
we had so much fun together at rhinebeck,
that is only made sense to come to maryland together.

the best part about this particular trip
is the fact that andrea is working the festival.
this meant i got to go in today with the rest of the vendors,
and have a peek around before anyone else.

while she was setting up,
i took a stroll around the fairgrounds.
i remember last year was so hot and awful,
i never got a good look at the different sheepsees.
so i made a point, with so few people around,
to take in some of their epic wooly cuteness.

there were sleepy sheeps

horny sheeps

devil sheeps

regal sheeps

ghost sheeps

and a whole lot of naked sheepses.

i also previewed all the vendors booths (jealous?)
here are my notes on some of my faves.

the fold needs no introduction. it is where the epic line begins to get your hands on the highly coveted socks that rock. while i too get hard for the socks that rock, i go to the fold for fiber optic yarns and fiber. there’s just something extra special about fiber optic’s stuff. i am drawn to them, their fiber especially. they have a quality.

miss babs was a mob scene last year, and rightly so. their yarn was wicked awesome. this year, peering into their clean looking booth, i didn’t feel the same pull. i’m sure when i see the hordes shoving each other to get the last skein of a given color, i’ll feel it again. and then cut a bitch for the skein.

seeing harriet of autumn house farm brought a smile to my heart. i remember last year, seeing her swamped, sweat pouring off her forehead, a booth full of hot, cranky customers. that woman held it together with a degree of poise i’ll never have. and i challenge anyone to display and communicate the level of passion that woman has for the fiber arts. she’s on another level that one.
and her setup is kick ass, too

spirit trail fiber works has some of the most beautiful yarn, both in color and base, that i have ever seen. but honestly, their booth is a straight up mess. it’s far to cramped. with no one else there, i don’t think i could have fit in their booth. buy their yarn, but be prepared for some claustrophobia (and to throw some elbows).

oh jennie the potter. i’ve tried for a year now, both at maryland and rhinebeck, to get my hands on one of your yarn bowls. today, i saw a variety sitting there in all their glory. one will be mine tomorrow. or else.

and finally, the sanguine gryphon. a late addition to the festival. you will be my first stop. not only because i must have more bugga!, but because i must flirt with the ginger bear(d) i saw helping you set up. seriously ladies. he’s wicked cute. nice touch.

there is another vendor i want to talk about,
a vendor that i met for the first time,
and i left pleasantly surprised.
i’m not really one for needle cases, mostly because they’re either too soft to hold up/protect my needles, or are just straight up poorly made. however! the cases and bags at the crippen works booth are both unique in look, but unique in the fact that they look like they could hold up to the type of abuse we knitters put our notions through.go there. say hi to katharyn.
buy some needle cases.
tell her i sent you.

it won’t get you a discount or anything.
i just told her i’d blog her.

it was sort of surreal, being back here. i can’t believe it’s been a year already. last year at maryland was my first fiber festival, and even through the extreme heat and otherworldly sunburn, i had an amazing time. coming back a year later and under such different conditions . . . it’s an uncanny feeling. everything is so familiar. i remember where everything is, even when vendors are in a different place. and yet, you can feel the passage of time in the place. it’s like seeing someone you haven’t in a while, and you can’t quite put your finger on what’s changed.

all i know is i’ve met an old friend again.
and i can’t wait to spend two more days with her.

see you tomorrow bitches!
look for the guy in the stolen/borrowed/gifted sunglasses

do you think it’ll be warm enough for shorts?

i hope so!

part of what makes maintaining my blog so difficult
is the fact that most of my knitting is secret knitting.
i rarely knit for myself, and when i knit for other people,
i usually want it to be a surprise.

i like surprising people,
i like making them happy.
the shock/smile is the face i live for.

i also generally prefer to knit for knitters
since, let’s be honest, they’re the only ones who truly get it.
finding a non knitter who actually appreciates the work that goes into a hand knit item, well, it’s like petting a unicorn.

let’s take a sweater for example.
i can knock out a sweater in about month, which is fairly quick i think.
but that’s still a lot of my free time dedicated to just one item.
i spend that time thinking about the person it’s for,
if they’ll like it, what they mean to me,
why i’m knitting it in the first place.
for me, it’s about making something beautiful,
something i can really be proud of, so the person it’s for knows they’re important to me, that i’m happy they’re in my life.

so i’m not going to waste hours upon hours of my time,
(not to mention a good chunk of my yarn money)
if the person for whom i’m knitting
isn’t gonna give a shit.

that’s just stupid.

which is why i decided to undertake this super secret knitting.
i was talking to my good friend bill about knitting one night.
he doesn’t knit himself, but i like him nonetheless.
i can’t remember what he said, precisely,
or how exactly it came up.
i just remember i’d never heard a non knitter put into words so well how special it is to have someone knit them a garment. it was simple, and to the point. and i just remember thinking,
this is a man who gets it.
and in that moment,
i knew i had to knit him a sweater.

luckily, i had the perfect opportunity;
his birthday was six weeks away,
plenty of time to knit a sweater.

so, i cast on.
nothing fancy,
just a top-down raglan.
(elizabeth zimmerman would be proud)

everything was going well until the night before his birthday party.
i was finishing a sleeve, and planned to get up early to knit the collar.
(i cannot explain to you how many times i ripped out that fucking collar.
no matter what i did, it would not come out right. tears were shed)
but something was slowing me down,
a nagging pain in my stomach.
was it something i ate?
was i just overly tired?

well no, actually,
it was the appendix stump rotting in my gut.
it’d laid in wait, a few days shy of a decade,
(i had my appendix out in april 2001)
wrapped itself up in gangrene,
ruining my sweater’s reveal.


when i was feeling better,
i tried knitting on the sweater in the hospital.
but apparently, having at least three tubes in your body,
one of which putting mega doses of narcotics directly in my bloodstream, made trying to knit kinda laughable.
i think i did laugh, actually.

when i got out, i tried again.
apparently, extra strength vicodin also makes trying to knit with any skill somewhat impossible, at least for me.

so i picked a day,
skipped my meds,
powered through the pain,
and knit the shit out of that sleeve and collar.

after giving it a nice bath,
i was left with a beautiful sweater.
and most important of all,
the fucker fits!

**some notes on the sweater: i chose a top-down raglan because, while i prefer the look of a seamed sweater, it’s just a faster, easier construction. but i did think a raglan would look best on bill. i also chose a v-neck because it think it enhances the sexiness of any man. clearly, i was right. i used cascade 220 superwash because bill is a non knitter, and while i trust him to handwash a garment, accidents happen. nothing worse than a felted sweater.