a quilting controversy

January 29, 2012

i’ve recently become addicted to chawne’s blog, completely cauchy.
i have a not-so-secret desire to quilt,
and since i don’t have time for a new craft,
i’ve decided to live vicariously through her.

her humor,
and general attitude
are so bitches get stitches.

you know,
with quilting.

one of the things i love most about her
is how juxtaposes the idea of the ‘wholesomeness’ of crafting
with profanity.

personally, i think it’s genius;
it makes us critical of our assumptions about
‘women’s’ work
self expression
and what one’s allowed to say.

plus she’s hilarious and makes beautiful shit.

she wrote a guest blog post for whipup
that has caused a mini internet shit storm.
she shared some of her quilts that have profanity stitched on,
including one that has a word with a very powerful history in the u.s.
it took a lot of courage to put that out there,
to share sometime very personal,
and she’s taken some hits for it.

after emailing her asking for permission,
i decided to write a post in support.
i applaud her for being vulnerable
and for confronting racism with her art.

those who say
“she shouldn’t use that word” or
“whipup isn’t the place for this” or
“you should have warned me!”
miss the point entirely;
they foreclose the conversation
so they don’t have to deal with the situation.
making any word off limits doesn’t fix the anything;
it just empowers it in a different way.

shawne wrote a follow up post on her own blog
explaining her position.
i encourage you to read both posts
and reflect on what art is supposed to do.

i’d also encourage you to think about how the internet works;
you may only see words on a screen,
and that can make people pretty brave with their comments.
but there are people on the other side
people who deserve respect.

so check yourself, bitches.

***this post reflects my thoughts and opinions only. i speak for no one else’s point of view than my own***

a gift from the magi

January 28, 2012

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i love these chinese money cats.
(at least that’s what i’ve always called them)
for years i’ve only had the one precious money cat.
because of one comment left on christine’s photo
now i have two.

this one came all the way from spain to get here,
and now my money cat has un petit ami.
or should i say un pequeño amigo.

can you believe that?
a perfect stranger sent me a gift
just because i said “i want this”

i love the internets.

¡gracis, christine, por mi gato dorado de españa!

saturdays are for blogging

January 21, 2012

i’ve made a promise to myself
that i must knit at least an hour every day
and i must blog at least once a week
because i love myself,
and i love my blog.

i haven’t been doing so well with the knitting every day promise
but i refuse to fail on the bloging once a week.

so i here i am,
setting aside my huge pile of work
to show you some progress.

for a long time now,
i have been admiring the work of spillyjane.
there’s something about her designs that i just love.
if i had to put my finger on it, i’d say it’s her color combinations.
i feel pretty comfortable saying they aren’t typical, and yet,
they totally work.

it’s been pretty easy for me to resist casting on one of her designs.
for one, i have a terminal case of second sock syndrome,
which can easily evolve into second mitten syndrome.
but also, while i love her designs,
i just didn’t see myself wearing any of them.
i love them and thought they’d look amazing on other people.
just not me.

that is until i saw these bad boys.

one look and i was harassing her to publish the pattern already.
(really. i emailed and tweeted her. i was pushy)

a copy found it’s way into my mailbox
and away i went.

here where they stand:
and here are my thoughts:

1) i love colorwork. i. love. it.

2) i love this pattern. i am thoroughly enchanted with the chart. more than once, i have talked to it with a kind of cutesy voice i use to show affection to mo or other adorable mammals. i am not ashamed.

3) i’m glad i went up a needle size. otherwise the mitten would not fit.

4) this does have me worried about row gauge, however. i hope they don’t end up too long. i refuse to do them math to find out.

5) i have some concerns about the thumb construction. i have very strong feeling about how mitten thumbs should be worked. however, spillyjane makes her living on mittens. i do not. i’m gonna let go and let god on this one.

6) the lighter of the contrasting colors could be little more contrasty. however, i did that on purpose. i love the fact that there’s enough contrast to tell that those are skulls without having my mitten scream, “look here! skulls on a mitten!” sometimes my plans work out.

7) i’m knitting them two at a time (on separate needles) in order to avoid second mitten syndrome. so far, it seems to be working. it has instilled in me a kind of “race” like feeling where i can’t let the other mitten get too far ahead. weird? yes. but it’s working.

8) a while ago, i wrote a post in which i listed my concerns about shelter. i decided it was high time i actually tried it out, and the fact that spillyjane used it to knit these mitts seemed like the perfect excuse. now that i’m knitting with it, i have some opinions:

a) i love how it looks. the color is impeccable and the subtle rustic heatheryness of it speaks to the old school knitter in my heard.

b) however, i’m not a big fan of it’s hand when i’m knitting with it. yes, it’s very light, and while i usually love the feel of a wooly yarn, something about this particular blend . . . well i just don’t care for it.

c) it’s also very easy to break which makes me worry about how it will hold up with wear. it didn’t actually break while i was knitting with it. i don’t cut my yarns to switch colors, i just break them. and shelter breaks with very little effort. i’m hoping the fact that the mittens are knit at a very tight gauge will help with the ware factor.

d) i do like the fabric this pattern creates with this particular yarn. it’s knit on much smaller needles than one would normally use. i think it works because the yarn is so lofty. and quite frankly, i feel like shelter would knit more accurately to a dk gauge than a worsted anyway, another reason i think this pattern/yarn combo works with such small needles.

e) i don’t know if d) can be said to be representative of how the fabric will feel for other projects knitted at the recommended gauge.

f) my hypothesis is this yarn would be great for an old school textured sweater, but i doubt i can afford it at this point. american made ain’t cheap!

g) all that being said, when i try the mittens on, they feel comfy and warm. i plan to use them as my driving mitts. i do not regret buying shelter for this project, i think they’re beautiful, and i recommend other people spend the cash to give it a go at least once. but i just don’t see myself buying it again.

9) do you think jared flood will blacklist me for this?

10) have i mentioned i love these mittens?
(i think the back is my favorite part)

i’ve also got this little lovely going:
pattern: spruce forest by nancy bush
i have a serious love hate thing going on with this shawl.
this is the story:

for about a year now, i’ve wanted to design/knit a lace shawl in marine silk sport in my absolute favorite blue moon color way, ‘spruced’. i wanted it to be a triangular shawl and i wanted it to be a kind of ‘tree’ shaped lace pattern. the fact that i am not a designer and don’t yet intuitively understand how lace works meant that i was seriously struggling to realize this dream. then along comes fucking nancy bush and designs a perfect fucking shawl. (i am not above thinking that somehow she stole the idea using some kind of psychic probe while i was in her sock class). i hate that it’s a bottom up shawl and that, because it is, all the trees will point upward exactly as they should.i hate the nupps that make it so fucking adorable and perfect that i can’t help but be delighted every time i purl 5 together on the ‘resting row’. despite the fact that they totally slow me down and are frustrating, i hate that i love them. (and hate that i would never have thought to put a nupp in shawl, even though they are clearly amazing) i hate that there is a solid garter border because i absolutely believe in a thick garter border and bam! there it is.

and god damn i hate that there’s a perfect looking slip stitch edge so that when i have to pick up stitches for the lace edging, it will be a snap.

god damn nancy bush and her perfect fucking shawl pattern!

i shake my fist at you in gratitude, bitch!

i’m knitting this shawl as a present for someone who i really like and i think deserves to have it. really, i shouldn’t be blogging about it, but shit, i need all the material i can get. i don’t have time for secret knitting!

so that’s what’s on the needles bitches.thoughts?

** ps i am thoroughly annoyed with the fact that i am unable to capture the true color of ‘spruced’. it is much greener than the photo, and has a subtle blue hue in it. my guess is it has to do with the silk and sea cell content being all reflective. any help from my photography peeps?

microblog 10

January 15, 2012

any guesses?

have i mentioned

January 10, 2012

how much i love getting packages?
because i really, really do.

back around my birthday,
when i was in new york turning twenty seven,
a package was sent to my old pittsburgh address.
(this happens when someone moves as often as i do)
it was from blue moon fiber arts.

generally speaking, i know when a package is coming from blue moon
because, generally speaking, i’ve placed an order with them.
not so in this case.

(i think i remember getting a little aroused)

luckily, veronica still lives at the old abode.
i knew it was going to be a while before it was sent on to me,
since, with all the holidays, veronica wasn’t there to forward it.

yesterday, it finally arrived on my stoop. i may have squeed.
(note: can you imagine being me, knowing you have a package, and then having to wait for three whole weeks to get it? brutal)

then i thought of the blog, as i often do.
i thought, this is totally blog worthy; it must be blogged.
(i have so little material these days)
but it was dark out when i got home
and therefore i couldn’t take a good photo.

so i waited.

yes people, i waited until the sun came up so i could properly document the moment and share it with you all.
i believe this shows some growth on my part.

so when the sun shone through my windows,
i went to work.
a skein of twisted in ‘grawk’
and a skein of mopsy in ‘pining for ewe’

(i need to ask frankie for a refresher on how to shoot true colors)

regardless, these colors are perfect.
you can never go wrong giving me a green,
but this deep purpley blue has this acid yellow on the back
that just. kills me.

the crazy thing is i’ve been planning my rhinebeck sweater
(yes i know rhinebeck is in october, but i will not fail this year)
and i wanted to try knitting some mopsy for it.
it seems like it might be meant to be.

but i kinda don’t want to knit this yarn.
it might go into the precious ‘keep forever’ section of the stash.
we shall see.

the card is unsigned,
but the sender has the handwriting of a serial killer.
that can only mean it came from one person.

thanks santina!

edit: i just looked up the description for grawk – raspberries in pond scum drowned in black. loud and just a wee bit obnoxious. attention is what he craves and he will get it. from the primordial ooze, he has risen to wreak a bit of havoc. trickster? definitely! hmmm

går till sverige

January 9, 2012

veronica and i occasionally send each other academic dream thingies.
we sometimes send other types of dream thingies,
like fashion or food thingies.

the most recent thingie she sent me was about a conference in sweden.

when i get an idea in my head,
i often find it difficult to shake it.
it’s not that i’ve always wanted to go to sweden per se,
but the idea of going to hear people in my field give an interesting talk, and maybe sneak out to see some scandanavian knitting stuff, well,
it was an idea i couldn’t shake.

so i did the american thing.
i charged it.

that’s right bitches,
i’m going to stockholm.
in february.

it’s going to be cold, to be sure,
but i’ve got layers.

coincidentally, as part of my “finish it up” impulse,
i finished my green mist bohus hat.you want to see the inside, don’t you?this knit was definitely a challenge
but absolutely worth it.
i made a couple mistakes
(i.e. skipped like 5 rows on accident)
but it fits my head and looks like a hat.
i don’t recommend it as your first color work ever,
but i feel strongly everyone should knit a bohus design at some point.

in fact, go to solsilke
pick your favorite bohus stickning,
and order a kit from solveig gustafsson.

worth. it.

it’ll make you a better person.

i originally wanted to keep this hat for myself,
and it looks damn good on me.
but i felt someone else needed more.
so once i’ve woven in all those ends,
(a task i am not looking forward to)
it will be sent it off to my fibery friend, misa.
she is a color work queen, and her stuff consistently inspires me.
i can think of no one more deserving.

but i think i’ll take it with me to sweden first.
it deserves to see it’s homeland at least once.

so misa, you have to wait six weeks to get it.
it’ll probably take me that long to weave in the ends anyway.

to end, i leave you with this,
which is by far one of my favorite videos of all time (and also swedish).
(ps can anyone confirm if that’s really cher at 4:27?)

i kissed a boy at midnight

January 6, 2012

and the next day i had the mothah fuckin’ plague.
we’re talking bloody swollen tonsils,
fevers, shaking, mild hallucinations/dreams.
it was like i was in some kind of sweat lodge or something.
(go ahead bible thumpers. use it as evidence)

i called my mom to inform her that i planned on staggering to the hospital. i live a couple blocks away from one. i think ahead.

apparently, that was nonsense.
apparently, going to the emergency room for violent shaking due to a high fever and a pain in my throat so severe i thought death had taken up residence in my mouth would not have been covered by insurance.
apparently, if you can live with that kind of misery (which apparently one can), it does not constitute an emergency.

instead, she dispatched my father
who then brought me to her office
where i was promptly jabbed in the ass with a needle.


i then spent about six hours in my childhood bed
where my fever convinced me i had figured out the science/math of pain. (i shit you not. i thought i had solved the formula for how pain worked and was measured. a fever is a powerful thing)

i’m better, now.

i love western medicine.

which allows me to tell you of my recent plan to finish up some projects

it clearly goes without saying
that being a phd student cuts into one’s knitting time.
which means i haven’t had a fo to show in a while.

but as the new semester approaches,
i really felt the need to finish something.

and i did.

i got up first thing to try to take a lovely photo for you all.
ok so it was a bit too early.

so i waited and took a few more later.
when i first moved back to michigan, i was heartbroken.
more than once i found myself weeping,
bracing myself against various lintels and such.

i decided to cast on this shawl as way to work through it.

as things got better, (and they really did)
and i found my happiness here,
i stopped working on it.

i didn’t need this shawl anymore.
pattern: terra yarn: mad tosh pashmina in ‘mare’

i modified the pattern to work with a sport weight yarn. i didn’t write down the math but if you wanted i’m sure you could figure it out.

it’s being sent off to nancy, a loyal reader and sock summit stalker.
(literally, she knew what class i was taking and waited outside the door to meet me. that is dedication i can get behind).
she is taking this lovely shawl in lieu of the socks i owe her.
i think it’s a smart trade; god only knows when those socks will get done. and, really, does a lady in san diego need a pair of wool man socks?

i don’t think so.

it’ll be in the mail later today nance!

i should have another fo soon.
anyone want to guess what oldie i’m working on?

a real year in review

January 1, 2012

my best friend told me that i should write a proper year in review. being that she is my role model, i try to always follow her advice.

frankly, a year in review post is probably something someone should plan in advance to do it real justice. but everything i do is last minute. why should this be any different?

the researcher in me says i should go back, review my posts, and try to create some semblance of order. instead, i’m working from memory. i’m going to lie back in my bed, nurse this hangover, and you’re going to bear with me.

last year i travelled to portland for the summit, new york city for my birthday, rhinebeck for the star power, maryland for the sheep and wool, chicago for the memories, and pittsburgh cuz i couldn’t cut the cord. not too shabby. i now know why i’m always broke.

last year i almost died. for the two weeks i was in the hospital, i couldn’t eat, and i lost about 15+ pounds. i had a very rare second round of appendicitis (don’t even ask, i’m just weird) that required two surgeries to fix. i remember them putting in an ng tube and projectile vomiting green poison from my stomach that made that scene from the exorcist look like a sneeze. i think about that experience and how lucky i was to survive. i’m grateful the surgeries worked or i’d be carrying around a colostomy bag and i’d still have a tube up my nose. my stomach now looks like i was stabbed several times, my cute nose (the only facial feature i liked) has a scar from where the tube rubbed it raw, and if i ever want my lip ring back in, i’ll have to get it repierced. but i guess it was worth it. i’m still here.

last year my dad almost died. he flipped his car and injured his brain to the point where he needed minor surgery to relieve the pressure. he lived, thankfully, and only my mom and i can tell that he’s just a little bit different now than he used to be. luckily he was always a weirdo so no one else will notice.

last year my grandpa almost died. he fell and broke his back. he’s almost 90 so it’s not that big of a surprise, i guess, but i don’t have the words to describe how terrifying it is to see someone in so much pain that they are no longer mentally coherent. i remember my first instinct was to run away, and how ashamed that made me feel. he made it through, and his cranky ass now lives with my parents. the cats like to sleep on his pillow.

last year, somehow, my mom got us through all this. she’s a tough cookie. i like her a lot.

last year i had my first proper boyfriend, i guess. i never really wrote about it, or talked about it with my friends much. he is a good guy. he bought me my favorite ice cream without me asking. he would drive me places because he new i liked not having to drive. it ended. it was my doing.

last year a crazy lovely lady in colorado named an alpaca after me. he’s funny and special. he does me proud.

last year i danced my freakin’ heart out with tina newton. that bitch can boogie!

last year i sent my clockwork out into the world to see where it would go. it’s stopped for a long time with one person. i don’t mind, really. maybe it just wants to live there for a while. i know who she is. i’d probably hang around there too.

last year i moved into my first apartment by myself. it’s kind of nice. i don’t wear clothes often. i remember when i was young, i promised myself that, for the first year in my first apartment, i would put a desk at the window and smoke to my hearts content. i have broken this promise. i’m sure that makes my mom very happy.

last year i was terrified to leave pittsburgh. it was the first place since leaving my childhood home that i felt was home. i was terrified that leaving would be a mistake, that my goal of getting a phd wasn’t what i really wanted, that i’d be trapped, and i’d be leaving all these new people i cared about for no reason. i was wrong. i really love my program at michigan state. i have an amazing cohort who really supports each other. i made the right decision.

i know lots of other stuff went down, but i think that covers the big shit. all that really matters is at the end of 2011 and taking my first steps into 2012

i am happy.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 72,000 times in 2011. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 3 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.