May 30, 2012
knitting is obviously my spouse.
and i believe i’ve said in the past that
spinning is my mister (or whatever the male equivalent of mistress is)
so i guess that would make weaving, what?
my bit on the side?
my baby mama?
my fuck buddy?
weaving is my fuck buddy.
i knew i wanted a ‘shawl’ or ‘blanket’,
something a bit longer than normal to maximize coverage.
i also wanted to take advantage of the full width of my loom,
so i used every single slot for this project.
i knew i wanted color blocks in ‘neutrals’,
and i wanted the stripes to dominate.
i also wanted to create fabric with serious drape
where it was woven loosely enough for a bit light to show through.
both of these goals were accomplished by way of 1) an imbalanced weave, meaning i placed my weft so that the warp was about 2x longer than the weft width. (say that three times fast! weft width weft width weft width) and 2) by choosing a true neutral for my weft.
(any weavers wanna tell me the technical terms for this process?)
i have to say that i met all of my goals.
as a new weaver, that made me extremely happy.
knitting has a totally different feel to it;
i like the feeling of intellectual engagement
and the sense of release when you cast off/block.
knitting is like being able to picture an actor in your mind, but you can’t for the life of you remember his or her name. knitting is that sense of being bottled up and casting off that sense of relief when is you finally remember. that’s what knitting is like; a mental orgasm.
for me, it’s all about that feeling.
even when i’m in the meditative groove
there’s still the tension of working on something, however happily.
and whereas knitting is really all about the knitting
(as opposed to the casting off and blocking etc.)
to my mind, weaving has four distinct stages
each requiring it’s own metal state.
there’s the warping which takes a lot of planning and attention to detail. it’s laborious and meticulous; for me it’s the most stressful step. it’s like taking a test. the weaving is the zen state that’s very different than the zen of knitting. there’s definitely the joy/meditative property of perfecting a repetitive motion, but i unlike with knitting, i can never look up. every shot (right? that’s the right word?) requires i attend to where the weft is placed and if my selvage edge is even (i’ve figured out a great trick for a clean selvage for rigid heddle weaving. go me). i like that the weaving isn’t hard, per se, but still requires that i’m always present. i love the weaving. the ‘freeing from the loom‘ as i call it is the best step; this step is all joy because you get to indulge in the taboo of cutting yarn and finally see if your work has paid off (you don’t really know until it’s off the loom). this is the “i did it! i did it!” moment which is, of course, short-lived. soon you realize there’s the finishing. the finishing is the living hell that follows soon after the joy of the ‘freeing from the loom’ where you realize you now have 200 ends to deal with because a plain yarn fringe will turn this beautiful handmade textile into a shitty rag and so you spend hours attending to each end by putting extra twist in it, twisting its neighbor, then plying them together while watching alien resurrection until your wrist hurst.
then you do the other end.
with all my projects,
i have an idea of who will get a given item when it’s done.
if i don’t have someone specific in mind, i at least have a few.
this time, however, i think i’m keeping it.
i just like it too damn much.
besides, i think someone’s already claimed it for himself.
lil fucker’s got good taste!
May 28, 2012
almost three years ago,
when i was but a novice knitter,
i cast on my very first lace project.
inexperience kept me from finishing;
i didn’t have the fortitude for the epic rounds.
i didn’t have the knowledge to correct mistakes in complicated lace,
nor did i have the skill to catch mistakes before they needed fixing.
basically, i just didn’t know enough about lace
to tackle this level of project.
my yarn choice should be evidence enough of my ignorance.
i feel it’s time to wrap this bitch up.
i can no longer allow this project to go unknit.
and i finally, finally am on the lace edging!of course, this edging is completely counterintuitive,
by which i mean,
it goes against all my previous lace edging experience.
ignoring the fact that the pattern tells you you’ll need to fudge the end,
a fact i find beyond infuriating
the fucking thing goes backwards!
every single lace edging i’ve ever knit moves counterclockwise;
this means you knit your row with the last stitch of the edging knit together with a stitch from the shawl. in this edging, you move clockwise which requires you to slip a stitch from the shawl from the right hand needle to the left, then you knit it together with the first stitch of the edging, and then complete that row of the edging.
this is perhaps a confusing unhelpful explanation,
and i don’t have the inclination to make a video.
suffice it to say it’s a stupid way to attach a lace edging;
it just. doesn’t. flow.
p.s. stay tuned for a weaving f.o.
May 26, 2012
my original goal was to blog every day
while i was in the greater portland area.
i also promise myself i’m going to eat better and exercise.
let’s get real for a moment,
and see if i can tell you about my trip.
hmm . . .
day one was a beach adventure/excursion/extravaganza,
a sunny day of photography, sandy toes, and general irreverence.
and of course what day at the beach is complete
without a dead sea lion in a front loader?(sea corpse has a very distinct scent)
i spent the day with tina and her two lovely daughters
who reminded me that teenagers are really just adults
with fewer miles under their belt.
(is that a mixed metaphor?)
the rest of my days were a blur of
i managed to finish up my spruce forest shawl,
and the rain gave way just long enough for a photoshoot.
i even found a couple models to zhoosh up the shot.
the yarn is marine silk sport in the ‘spruced’ color way.
i’ve given up trying to photograph the true color of this yarn;
the silk content and sea cell make it impossible for an amateur like me.
what i love about this color way is that the dye breaks at some point in the process, leaving patches of blue and yellow in the yarn. this process is apparently unpredictable, and therefore the color way has been discontinued. blue moon will, of course, make it upon request. i highly recommend it, especially in this yarn. just make sure to get it all at once if you want your skeins to be at all similar.
this shawl is beautiful when finished,
but the beauty is matched by it’s fussiness.
i do not care for nupp-knitting,
or the bottom up construction.
it was, however, worth it;
the results speak for themselves.
with one shawl completed,
i decided to dust off my shetland tea shawl.
it was the first lace project i ever cast on
and will soon celebrate its third birthday!
i can’t abide its w.i.p. status any longer.
so i grabbed a cat and got to work.
the cat was really there for moral support.
she’s not good for much else.
but even with the support of a cat
i could barely complete a round a day.
those last few rounds have so. many. stitches!
knitting all those stitches
i became hyper aware of the silence,
the sound of the rain falling on the deck,
heck, i could even hear the humming birds at the bird feeder!
apparently, i must’ve had a crazed look in my eye or something
because tina could tell i was getting a little stir crazy.
so she put me to work in the barn.
i learned a heck of a lot in there,
most of which i can’t tell you.
what i can tell you is
it’s fucking hard work.
i can almost guarantee none of you realize how much work actually goes into the whole process, unless maybe you’ve worked in a factory. i worked about a half shift and i was pooped.
it’s basically a yarny sweatshop in there.
(literally. it’s hot in the barn)
that little bit of work really helped me to appreciate just how special hand painted yarns are. we’re lucky to knit in a time when we have easy access to such beautiful yarns. i would much rather give my money to people who are working their asses off to make something unique and special. i know exactly where my money’s going and, to me, it’s worth the cost. but that’s just me.
we ended my visit with a binge at gino’s.
if you live in or around portland,
you must go to gino’s
the tiramisu alone is worth it.
we chose gino’s because deb accuardi owns it and also works at blue moon.
she’s an amazing cook, knows a heck of a lot about gardening,
and had been cracking my ass up all week.
if you meet her,
ask her about her salamander story.
i almost peed in the car when she told it.
(i want that tiramisu recipe deb. stat!)
i think that just about covers it.
. . .asking myself why i don’t live in portland.
May 18, 2012
first, allow me to clarify my last post:
my dad had some surgery.
it went well.
he’s home now.
it may have been a little mean
casually mentioning i was in a hospital
but wasn’t it a good suspense builder?
currently, i’m headed off to a reclusive week in oregon;
my exact whereabouts are known by a select few.
more on that later as things develop.
but i can’t go off on one trip
before i fill you in on my last one.
one of my dearest friends in the world, caroline,
got married last weekend on the outskirts of chicago.
frankly, weddings and marriage aren’t really my thing,
but she’s one of those friends where not attending was unthinkable.
there are few people in my life that i can say i have been friends with for more than a decade; caroline is one of them.
veronica went as my date,
and i’m really glad i brought her along.
because as soon as i saw caroline in the church,
standing in her wedding gown, ready to walk down that aisle,
i fucking lost it.
it was a quiet, dignified cry,
but i cried in public nevertheless.
it didn’t help that care was crying as well,
but i really can’t explain why, exactly, i cried.
i couldn’t tell you why if my life depended on it.
but it did.
luckily the priest started talking,
and his spiel about god and love
turned my tears to a frown.
it’s odd that,
however uncatholic i’ve become,
i remain catholic nonetheless.
even though i thought most everything the priest said was some strightup bullshit, i was totally pissed at the people in front of me who were chewing gum, irritated by the fact that we don’t kneel anymore apparently, and baffled by the new ‘version’ of the mass.
how can i care about stuff like that
when i find the content of the situation to be . . . unpalatable?
the important thing
is that there was something special about being there to witness an event that was meaningful to one of my best friends.
i feel really lucky to have been there.
plus i looked totally fly.
May 16, 2012
May 11, 2012
May 9, 2012
after turning in my final papers on monday,
a combination of
lack of sleep,
and caffeine overdose
reduced me to a bedridden shell of a man.
so of course i got up at the crack of dawn on tuesday
and drove forty minutes for a knitting class
with the yarn harlot.
i knew my knitter buddy melynda was going to be there
and that she was bringing friends.
so i re-upped my starbucks dosage,
hid my raccoon eyes with sunglasses,
and headed to howell.
while i learned all about color knitting techniques
(fair isle, stranded, intastia, slipped stitches etc.)
my favorite piece of info was how colors are put together
and how we are instinctively drawn to put certain colors together
unless, of course, one is color blind*.
(can you guess which block belongs to me?)
as usual, beth harassed me,
telling me how i needed to be a better spinner and knitteri retaliated with my camera.
our one table mate, kelly, is actually a reader!
(i never, ever get used to the fact that people read my blog)
she called us the “knitterati”, and had us pose for a photo.(photo courtesy of knitterella)
while i would never put myself on their level
it was flattering of kelly to include me.
memorable quotes from the heathers’ table
that are probably only funny if you were there:
“it’s a different green!”
“i’m just going to make it done”
“sucking on a scone”
“something’s sucking something”
“i blew the blue”
as you can see, there was an . . . oral theme at our table.
*no, i’m not colorblind
May 6, 2012
as you all well know,
academia has limited my knitting time.
the cruelest iteration of this limitation
is that the weekend of maryland sheep and wool
falls during the final push of the end of my semester.
so while all of you, my yarny friends,
frolic in with sheep, yarn, and bearded men in utilikilts,
i’m still here in my office trying to finish two papers
and my hot pants remain sadly folded in a drawer.
it’s good to know as much as i miss mdsw
my absence has not gone unnoticed.
i received this blurry image via text message.
the text reads, “a beard in a kilt for you!”
and while it came from an number i don’t recognize,
and therefore it’s possible some knitter stalker has gotten ahold my number, the gesture was just the shot in the arm i needed to wrap this shit up so i can knit again.
gotta get back to it.
p.s. stay tuned for what i hope will be a summer of knitterly overcompensation for the yarny dearth of the past 9 months.