the summit: day 1

July 28, 2011

day one is well under way.
here’s what i’ve done thus far:

picked underwear i thought apropos for meeting frankling habit.
no i won’t tell you what it is, or show you.
(i would show him, though)

met franklin habit.

learned more about photography and my camera in three hours than i have in my whole life. (which is pathetic if i think about it)

kinneared anna zilboorg

thus proving i paid no attention in my photography class.

ate lunch with a baby, then pushed him around in a stroller.
(shocking, i know)

drank a dirtini martini and stood in the longest line i’ve ever seen in my life. (these bitches want their yarn!)

somewhere in all of that,
i took some photos of my mojo shawl.

the light was fighting me,
but i wanted to give it to its recipient.
no i’m not going to tell you who it was for.
(isn’t this just a fascinating read?)

i’m off to the opening night reception.
here’s hoping i (don’t) make a drunken fool of myself!

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?

work, bitch.

July 24, 2011

i’m here.
working behind the scenes.
putting my life in cardboard.
knitting on a sock for the summit.
pretending i know what i’m up to.
(it still might not fit)

for your delight,
until things get kickin’,
i give you this:

a kevin czapiewski exclusive for bitches get stitches.


last night,
i cast on a project.
i knew the answer to my funk lay in a shawl,
but hours on ravelry left me feeling rather hopeless.
nothing inspired me.

then, for whatever reason,
i gave this shawl a second glance,
and bitches, i have found my mojo!
yarn – madelinetosh pashmina in the glazed pecan colorway.
pattern – baltic blossoms lace shawl.

let me tell you,
it feels good to be back!
it’s like that feeling when a cold breaks,
and you can finally take a deep breath again.

i was creatively congested!

then this morning,
i woke up to the following e-mail:

Dear Steven:

Thanks so much for your inspiring blog post. Because of you, we have received over $400 dollars in donations! Thank you for getting yourself tested, and thank you for your amazing support of Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force!

Emma McAfee
Development Associate
Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force
5913 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15206

that was a great way to begin my day.
thank you to everyone who contributed,
not only to pittsburgh aids task force,
but to their local testing centers.
that $400 will pay for 10 tests.

your generosity makes me feel like maybe the effort i put into this blog isn’t a fruitless endeavor, that maybe people are listening.
so thank you.

and congratulations to faye.
the random number generator selected you,
and my skein of handspun is yours.
you better knit with it!

i actually cast on a second shawl.
i’m not sure if i’m allowed to show you it,
but better to ask forgiveness than permission, right?
it’s the beginning of a test knit from westknits book three

that’s all i’ll say.
the cashmere mafia’s listening.

for the past few days,
i’ve been having nightmares.
mostly i don’t remember them, but
in any case,
my lack of sleep means i’m in my “office” early in the morning.

this will be day four
so if there’s a lack of coherence in this post
or an excess of grammatical errors (outside my usual),
you will forgive me.

first, a big merci to all the people who commented on my last post and to all those knitters who helped spread the word on twitter. this is my first go at fundraising, so i’m a little out of my element.

a lot of people made donations, and while it’s a modest sum, i’m inching toward a secret number in head. remember, all you have to do for a chance to win that skein of my handspun is leave a comment on my last post. but i hope you’ll consider making a donation to the pittsburgh aids task force. can you really look at yourself and say you can’t afford to donate just one dollar?
just saying.

(how’s that for catholic guilt?!)

if you’ve made a donation,
but haven’t yet told me how much,
please let me know so i can add it to the grand total.

now on to the meat of this post.

as you may or may not know,
i’m going to the summit at the end of the month.
the irony of my going to a knitting conference about nothing but socks?
i’m not really into knitting socks.

i’ve done it sure,
and i love wearing the socks my friends knit for me.
(i haven’t forgotten you sarah j.r. i will blog your socks!)
i’m just not that into the knitting of them.

but it’s not like i can show up to the summit without a sock on the needles. (though i did consider bringing jenn as my personal sock knitter attaché). the shame would be too great.

so i opened one of my stash,
pulled out a particularly special skein of sock yarn,
and, after several cast ons, i have a little sock action going.
the yarn is silkie socks that rock that i dyed myself at the silk retreat. i’m using stephanie pearl-mcphee’s sock recipe for a good, plain sock from her book knitting rules. i’m even using dpns. it’s a kind of prayerful combination that seems appropriately respectful for the summit.

of course i kidded myself about my gauge when i swatched,
casting on far too few stitches and must either
a. continue on with the understanding that
these socks will be for someone that is not me, or
b. rip.

i bet you can guess which choice i’m going to make.


July 7, 2011

around the beginning of each month,
i go and get an hiv test.

i’m a gay dude in his 20’s.
it’s only practical.

and even though i should be used to it by now,
it’s a surreal experience every time.

as i sit in the little testing room,
making small talk with the lovely tester,
all i can think about is how very lucky i am.
not just because, so far, i always test nonreactive,
but because there exists a place where i can literally walk in off the street, say i want to get tested, and in thirty minutes or less, i walk out with an answer.


free of charge.

i grew up in the era when aids decimated the gay population in america, but i was really too young to be aware of what that would mean for me now.

it destroyed a way of life,
a connection to history,
the chance for the children of today know their elders.
all i have are ghosts stories, and the few “lucky” ones who survived.

it changed everything,
and i find myself mourning
as i imagine someone mourns a parent they never knew.

i get really choked up about it sometimes.

and during the twenty minutes i sit there
waiting to see if there’s one line or two,
i never think about my own results.
i only wonder
why the waiting room isn’t full?
why isn’t there a line out the door?
are people really that scared to know?
or are they so naive as to think they couldn’t test positive?
i think about the millions, millions who had to die
so that i can sit here,
pay nothing,
and know.

it’s not like hiv and aids have gone away.
but i don’t hear people talk about it anymore.

i don’t get it.

there’s a lot of things i don’t understand;
i admit to being slightly ignorant about hiv myself.
but what i do know is,
i’m a lucky guy.
not because i’m negative,
but because i know.

i’m just one small voice among the millions of bloggers.
i don’t command much attention.
i definitely don’t have much money.
still. i’d still like to do something.

right now all i can do is give away this skein of handspun.
fiber: 2oz spinning bunny pixie batt = merino, black and/or blue face leicester, tencel, angelina, angora, silk, and bamboo.
if i did my math right,
there’re 315yds of 2ply lace weight.
hand spun by me.

i just ask that you consider making a donation to the pittsburgh aids task force who provide so much more than just free rapid testing. if you don’t have much money, i’d ask that you considering going and getting tested.

either way,
you only need to leave a comment to enter.
but if you do make a donation, i’d love to know.
it’d be pretty cool if we raised a couple hundred bucks.

i’ll pick a winner in a week.