August 29, 2011

ugh. i will never knit a gift for someone again.
i get too stressed as to whether or not they like it.
from now on, i’m giving my knits to strangers.


as you who read this blog know well,
i am slowly paying for my spinning wheel.
i’m very close to having it paid off,
and in a couple weeks,
it will be mine.

someone has gotten me that much closer;
an unnamed “sugar mama” sent beth some money on my behalf.

beth will not reveal who this is.
i’m supposed to figure it out on my own.
not knowing is kinda killing me a little.
it’s like hearing the best gossip ever,
but not knowing who it’s about.

the irish blood in me makes it difficult to accept such a generous gift, while the poor-ass fiber whore in me says shut up and take it already!

so to whomever it was who paid for a portion of my wheel,
i say thank you. i am truly grateful for your kindness,
and i dedicate this video to you.

(i’m gonna find you!)


August 22, 2011

let’s get cracking.

1. i made a knitter. my student on saturday was amazing, a natural, a joy to teach. she will very soon spread her knitter wings and take off. i shall always remember alejandra, the scrub nurse from colombia and my first real knitting student. (actually, i’ll probably forget which is why i’m writing it down here).

2. today was my first day of t.a. orientation. for some bizarre reason i was really nervous about it and only slept for about three hours last night. but of course when i got there, it felt totally natural and, even though i feel really nervous about teaching, i am clearly more competent/less nervous than a lot of people in that room today. and a lot prettier which is of course a bigger comfort.

3. i saw a girl i went to highschool with at t.a. orientation. she either didn’t recognize me, or purposely ignored me. i’m not sure which is worse.

4. perhaps even more random, i saw the guy i bought my new craigslist couch from. he too either ignored or didn’t recognize me. either way, freaky right?

5. i was the only person in the big lecture hall knitting. this didn’t surprise me, but i was a little disappointed.

6. this week, i have been eating, on average, a half an onion and a clove of garlic per day. i am single, and mo doesn’t seem to mind so i’m going with it.

7. i’m getting really close to getting my wheel. i’m waiting on an email about it.

8. speaking of emails, i sent a bunch out to the knitters of the world, but only one responded. i fear that this is because i am a knitting nobody and do not merit a response. worse still, they could absolutely know who i am and have decided not to respond. it couldn’t possibly that they’re just busy people like me and have yet to respond. never. clearly, they either don’t know, or hate me.

9. i have an insane amount of laundry to do. rather than haul my ass to the laundromat, i just keep opening new suitcases to find clean clothes. or else i “sniff test” clothes i’ve already worn, and wear them again. (more evidence of my transition to manhood) this plan has worked for me for three weeks, but i see the end is near. today i had to go commando to my orientation. i made to sure to wear a belt, but kept obsessively checking my fly after the sexual harassment segment of the day.

11. since this is technically a knitting blog, i better show you a picture of some knittingi have embraced the fact that i am a shawl knitter. if other people can be sock knitters, i can be a shawl knitter. give me a triangle and i’m happy. of course, i’m using smaller yarn and needles meaning i’m going to have to do some maths to make the lace section work, but i’m sure that won’t pose any problems at all later on.

12. my rereading of the yarnharlot’s blog continues to be an inspiration. i’m pretty sure that’s why i’m doing a list post right now.

13. i recieved the awesomest of text messages today from a dear friend of mine:

“i’m knitting! also, loved the ‘sleep with as many people as possible’ note.”

what can i say, i’m part knitter, part scholar, part slut apparently (sorry mom). miss you jenny!

14. i thought rhinebeck was out of reach this year, but i may just have found a way to get there. this of course means i must find a pattern i like, and knit a new rhinebeck sweater.

15. fuck.

16. i’m toying with the idea of getting my knitting mastery. is this a stupid idea? has anyone done it? help a boy out.

17. now that mo and i are reunited, my mother wants to alpacanap steven jr. i think this is some kind of manifestation of her desire for a grandchild. watch out sally.

18. extra large eggs are stupid.

19. mo has let me know in his not so subtle way it is time to be let out or else i’ll have a date later with the paper towel. later, bitches.

first day of school

August 20, 2011

in a way, anyway.

classes and teaching at msu don’t begin until the 31st,
and my need to vomit is diminishing.

today, i teach my first ever knitting class.
the important word there is “my”,
my take on beginning knitting.

i thought about taking the approach i was comfortable with,
the way i was taught or the way things were done at natural stitches.
both are excellent, and get the job done.

instead i’ve stolen a bunch of ideas from other people
and mixed them together to make “my” class.
and in about an hour and a half,
it will make its debut.

all i can do now
is go over how i want to begin,
and prepare in my own way.
breakfast of champions.

wish me luck, bitches!

many things make a post

August 16, 2011

if you decide you want to blog,
there will come a time when you won’t know how the fuck to start.
when this happens to me, i steal an idea from someone else.

today, i’m stealing from adrienne martini
and giving you many things
to make this post.

steven jr. is doing welland apparently likes the ladies already.my man.

i was told i must share the booty from the summit.
i only bought three skeins of sanguine gryphon little traveller.but my most precious possession, a notions bag from splityyarn
has gone missing in the move.

i hope it turns up soon.

i warped my first loom (did i use the terminology correctly?)
and learned the important lesson, “don’t drop the cross!”
you weavers’ll know what i’m talking about.

now, i’m learning to weave.
i will not buy a loom.
i promise.

i got salty, delicious caramels in the mail from stephen a.k.a. hizKNITS
i am doling them out, savoring them.
as opposed to stuffing them all in my face.
thanks stephen; you’re a sweetie.

i think i might really be into these guys

or else, it’s wicked annoying.
maybe both.
i’m fickle.

i am (still) thoroughly jealous of helloyarn’s photostream and all its glory. i shake my jealous fist in your general direction!

another canadian is fighting squirrels. it’s amusing.

and finally, mo is still cute
in case you were wondering.

that is all for now.
thanks, adrienne.

August 9, 2011

i’ve moved around quite a bit in my adult life,
and i’ve found the most important thing to do
is immediately set out into the world
and find some places to call you own.

having done my undergrad at michigan state,
i already have a couple places where i feel comfortable,
places that make me forget for a few hours that
school starts in less than three weeks.
in less than three weeks,
i will be teaching,
shaping the minds of american youth.
this gives me less than three weeks to get all the nervous vomiting out of my system. (pray for my esophagus).

the other day,
to counteract my nausea,
i thought it best to suck in some yarn fumes,
and maybe see what the weaving class schedule was like at woven art.
there are a few other yarn stores in the lansing area,
most of which are closer to me than woven art.
i’ve scoped them out in prior visits,
felt their vibes and,
for all kinds of reasons,
it’s clear this is my new lys.

of course i wasn’t really prepared for the fact that they “know me from the blog”, and nancy welcomed me back to the area with a hug.
i’m very fragile right now, and that kind of gesture meant a lot.
it’s nice a nice feeling to be immediately welcomed,
to know someone wants you to be here.
thanks nancy (and meg!)

then nancy really shocked me by asking me if i’d like to teach.

you have to be kidding me!
of course i wanted to teach!
and so very shortly i’ll be offering classes at woven art,
easing myself in with some beginning knitting until i get my bearings.

they already wrote lovely blurb about me in their most recent newsletter to which you should subscribe.

why look at that!
my nausea is back.

we do what we must . . .

August 6, 2011

a long time ago,
a mason from ireland left
and came to the united states.
he briefly settled in brooklyn, married
a woman who’s name has been lost,
and upon having a son, john,
finally settled in corktown,
detroit’s oldest neighborhood.

this man was named stephen martin,
my great great great grandfather.

upon my birth,
my mother decided to give me his name,
tying me forever to a man without whom
i would never have made it here.

but in what can only be called the metaphor of my existence,
she misspelled it.
and so my ancestor’s name,
already anglicized from the irish,
had now been americanized
in a city once owned by the french.

i’ve often heard that there’s a lot of power in a name.
and this misspelling, i now feel, was a kind of curse.
nothing i seem to do ever follows a proper path;
everything must have an accidental twist,
one based on false certainty.

what this has meant for me is that,
while my life won’t ever be what one’s should,
it has been one that i wouldn’t change anything about.
not one thing.

would i trade finding the “knock” my family left behind in county kerry,
or petting a panda bear while he at an apple in chengdu,
or walking the early morning streets of paris at christmastime,
or burning in the himalayan sunshine outside the potala palace,
or a shockingly thorough olive oil massage from a burly greek woman on the coast of santorini for
a mortgage?
a wedding ring?
financial security?

i can’t say as i would.

but i have often wondered
if marching to the beat of my own disco
means i won’t get the chance to pass along a name,
misspelled or otherwise, if,
in twenty years time,
i’d regret not
being more

sometimes i wonder if passing on a name is important to me,
or important enough to me.
i’m not sure, but
i wonder.

in what can only be considered the craziest of signs,
it turns out that my name will live on,
just not in the usual form.
(bien sur)

and so here we meet little steven ambrose (jr)
a baby alpaca, born on august 5th, 2011.
he’s sure to spend many a happy day with sally of rivendale farms,
who you may recognize from the comments.

that email was a solar flare during a starless moment for me.
you’re timing couldn’t have been more impeccable.
thanks sally.

of course,
i’m allergic to alpacas.

this is my life.

farewell pittsburgh

August 4, 2011

the movers are coming today,
and it’s all i can do to keep from collapsing.
leaving you, pittsburgh, . . . it feels like
. . .i’m dying in a way.

i feel like i do at funerals,
like my legs could buckle at any moment,
like my heart needs to be closer to the earth.

i’ve never been in love before and
it’s crazy that my first time would be you,
a city, the steel city.

you made me laugh constantly,
shared with me all your secrets,
tucked me in on so many nights
with a smooch and a smile.

you were nothing but good to me.
i can never repay all your kindnesses.

at the same time,
it wasn’t enough.
or not fast enough
for me to realize
this is it!
you were the one.

it’s my fault
we didn’t work out.
i should’ve done more
to maintain your affections.
by the time i knew it was you
i wanted, you’d stiffened,
and i was being pulled away.

i could’ve done more to be with you, but i didn’t.
i was disloyal
and untrue.

leaving is the only choice i have left.

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i’ve never been in love before
so i didn’t recognize the signs.
you and yours snuck up on me,
and my only wish is that i could stay

i know we’ll always be friends,
that i’ll see you now and then,
that this isn’t a forever goodbye.
but i’ll never have you like i did before.
we’ll never be as close as we once were.
nothing has ever hurt me more than that.

i love you, buddy.

i’ll miss you.

you were my home.

the summit wrap up

August 2, 2011

my tonsils are currently doing their best to slowly choke me to death.
but before my airway closes off completely,
let me tell you about the summit.

rather than try to describe it all,
a futile effort to be sure,
here are the highlights:

i was asked to sign my first autograph.

carol a.k.a. knitnpurlgirl

which literally floored me.

but not nearly as much as seeing who signed their name next to mine.
that may be the only time i’ll ever see my name next to hers.

i also kinneared the yarn harlot.
for no other reason than it tickled my fancy in the moment.

later on,
it was time to hop,
sock style.

i put on my hotpants,
walked the streets of chinatown,
and road a train to the convention center.
(pretty brave, even for portland, no?)

once there,
a shot of shitty whiskey in my belly
and a coors light in my hand,
tina asked me to dance
let me tell you,
tina newton can dance circles around you.
it was either youth or pride that helped me keep up.

soon after, natalie also enticed me to dance.
she was smokin’ hot on that dance floor,
and more than a little intimidating.
this bitch can work it for sure.
while i don’t have photographic evidence,
there were several witnesseses who can back me up.

i feel like i held my own, in terms of dancing,
(but she clearly outdid me on the sexy)

whereas often hotpants are the most . . . memorable pieces of knitwear at a given event, i don’t think they held a candle to some of the other knitters’ outfits:
(check out that wicked photobomb!)

jc briar had this whole hula hooping nun look going on.

this lady actually knit this bat sleeve sweater in the 80’s!

and stephanie dug out her pogues shirt from the depths her basement.

but perhaps most interesting for a gossip like me,
(other than clara parkes’ epic side ponytail and stephen h’s jheri curl)
is the fact that they were attached at the hip for the whole night.
i am convinced something is going on between them,
something thorn birds-esque.

with six beers and a whiskey in me
i asked the boy to dance.
note that my hands never strayed lower than appropriate
and there was plenty of room left for jesus
so as not to upset any husbands.
or secret lovers.

*cough* *claraparkes* *cough*

the sock hop may have been my favorite part of the summit.
it was a blassst.

luckily, i was not hung over the next day
and did my level best to learn twined knitting from nancy bush.
i hope to grow up to be just like her someday
while somehow remaining completely inappropriate.

after taking my weight in advil and tylenol,
(putting the final nail in my liver’s coffin)
i documented the sock summit flash mob.
(you can see a great video of it youtube)

while i was doing my part for the sake of history,
i got kinneared by cheryl in the process.
i totally caught her though,
and demanded she send me the pic.

not too shabby for someone who felt like crouching tiger, hidden dragon was being filmed in his throat.

the next day,
the final day,
i was feeling really sick.

i got up enough energy to see sheep getting naked.
i will always get out of bed for nudity.any kind of nudity.

the sheep were shorn,
their fleeces skirted,

and ms. clara parkes herself spun the samples
for the fleece to foot contestants.
(she’s got her nimble fingers in all sorts of pies)

then i had to leave.
i have no idea if anyone completed the challenge,
or which team won for their charity.

for me it was all naps and recovery,
spending my last 24 hours with my irish sistah.

now that i have some down time to process it all,
i have to admit my mind is actually kind of blown.
i learned so much, and realized just how much i don’t know.
in terms of knitting, i barely have clue compared to some.
but if that wasn’t enough to shoot my mind into space,
the sheer number of people was a bit overwhelming,
especially for someone as hermit-like as i am.
i felt like my a.d.d. was running rampant,
and my eyes didn’t know where to settle.

there were so. many. knitters.

which i guess is silly to say out loud. i mean, of course there were lots of people there. it’s knitting conference. and there must be just as many people wandering around maryland sheep and wool or rhinebeck. there was just something about all of them being indoors that i found to be . . . intimidating.

i could feel my shy get big.

of course not all the knitters were nice.
in fact i ran into a few who were downright rude.
but for as many off-putting cliques as there were,
or snotty bitches taking themselves way too seriously
(it is a sock knitting conference for the love of pete)
there were at least an equal number of uber friendly peeps.
and those are the ones i like to think of as the real knitters.

to the people who were so nice,
to the readers who said “hi” or
“i love your blog”
i want to say
thank you so much.

this blog is its own reward for me.
i’m no designer or author using a blog for advertising.
i just write because i like to.

still, it sure feels good when people actually tell me they’re reading.
so thanks for giving me some faces to put to names.

and to the people who kinneared me,
and yes, i saw you take my photo,
you are my faves.
i’m just as shy as you.
(but i still want a copy of that pic!)

****a batch of my pictures got deleted so if i took your photo but you don’t see it, i’m sorry! blame my camera.