i’ve given it some thought,
and i’ve decided that, though
i’m very attached, i’m going to give away
my newly-completed shetland tea shawl.

but because it is so special to me—
what with beginning it when i was twenty four
and completing it in my thirties (ugh)—
i don’t want it to go to just anyone.
i want it to live with a knitter,
artist, aesthete, etc. who has
a good soul.
as such,
i’ll be using my shawl to raise funds
for a place i believe in,
the ruth ellis center.

the rules
1. make a donation to the ruth ellis center; to be as inclusive as possible, any amount you can afford will count. i’d like to raise $500, so if you’re a person who can afford more, please donate accordingly.

2. after making a donation, leave a comment on this post.

as a bonus, if you share this post on twitter or instagram and tag me (@faiche_stiabhna on both), i’ll enter you a second time.

that’s it! just make a donation, leave a comment, and you’re entered to win! you can increase your chances by letting other people know about this giveaway and helping me raise more money for the ruth ellis center.

a winner will be announced on July 10
which i’m hoping is enough time
to reach my goal of $500.

fingers crossed!


shetland tea shawl

June 27, 2020

the satisfaction of finishing this shawl
is difficult to articulate. and as with
so very many things in my life—
degrees, jobs, opening an ira—
it also feels somewhat like
an anticlimax.

still, here she is

shetland tea shawl

blocking this thing was a nightmare;
i would not have been able to do it
without the stellarly generous aid
of one ms. stacie d.

shetland tea shawl

(by which i of course mean she did 90% of the work
and i tried to not fuck it up, after which
i was fed amazing hot dogs)

shetland tea shawl

that said, i’m not going to do another circular shawl
until i can bribe a large group of people to do it together.
pinning on the floor is the way to do it, trust.

shetland tea shawl

the only question remains is, as always,
who is going to get this shawl?
i’m thinking using it
to raise money
for the ruth ellis center.

would you make a small donation to enter to win this shawl?

shetland tea shawl

behind on my normal goal of finishing a clue
within 24 hours of its release,
today, i completed clue 4.

ttl mystery shawl 2020
ttl mystery shawl 2020

that said, i’m having some concerns.
having now complete four of the six clues,
i wonder: what will the finished dimensions be?
because it’s looking very….short?
and, as always, who will wear this when i’m done?
would anyone want it if i were to give it away?

because, while it’s incredibly fun to knit,
it is…a lot. in terms of color and design,
it looks like something an art teacher
might wear à la advanced style.

it’s definitely a process knit,
stimulating with just the right amount
of challenge and variety to keep one enthralled.
but what of the product? what will it be post-blocking?

i guess we’ll know in a few weeks!

are you making one?

in life news,
i recently escaped the city
(and, unknowingly, the specter of father’s day)
and got out into nature, evoking my ever-present
desire to abandon capitalism, grow my own food,
and read braiding sweetgrass on repeat.

how are you escaping?
can you, even?

road tripping

June 21, 2020

a rare sunday off means

boneyard 2.0

simple knitting on the road with bae.

iii’m dooone!

June 18, 2020

my first lace project.
started june 21, 2009

shetland tea shawl

finished june 18, 2020,
just shy of it’s 11th birthday.

so many years in hibernation.
so many mistakes:
twisted cast on
wrong yarn
wrong gauge
some quirky design decisions that made it difficult to knit.
*shakes fist at dale long in purgatory*

but the knitting,
she is done.

now what the fuck am i gonna do?

the mystery continues

June 15, 2020

writing about knitting right now seems…
extra frivolous? or irrelevant?

so i’ll leave my progress photos here for you
and encourage you to donate, as i just did,
to the ruth ellis center,
a detroit org for queer youth of color.

ttl mystery shawl 2020
ttl mystery shawl 2020
ttl mystery shawl 2020

i’m 100% obsessed with the ttl mystery shawl 2020.
i received a notification around 11pm last night
that the new clue was available.
exhaustion after a very long day
and a happily full evening at home with bae
meant that, of course, i stayed up
until around 4 a.m. determined
to finish the second clue.
i came pretty close,
but stopped
just ten rows shy.

this morning,
i awoke to coffee and
leftover cake for breakfast,
the exact fuel necessary for knitting.

my brain is, what can only be described as,
starved for the kind of calm knitting brings.
working on this neck accessory
felt akin to taking
a xanax;
the focus required, the repetition,
the interplay of highly contrasting colors
(shout-out to tina for picking them!)
were a perfect storm of
chemically-induced
tranquility.

some thoughts on the pattern:

i would characterize the difficulty level as intermediate; i definitely needed to clear away some cobwebs to remember how to effectively execute less-than-standard knitting techniques. though i’m arrogant enough to feel like, even out of practice, i didn’t need them, i appreciate the very obvious effort put into this pattern to anticipate common pitfalls knitters will encounter. the overall thoroughness of the pattern is impressive, including:

1. charts and written instruction
(though, come on people; learn to read charts already)
2. helpful notes for the section you’re working on the page, itself
3. stitch counts for every row (this is really above and beyond, imo)

there’s enough variation to keep one (me) stimulated,
while being simple enough to get into the groove
of the pattern rather easily. memorizing
a pattern repeat is a distinct pleasure,
one of the reasons i love knitting
lace shawls so much.

also: shout-out the ravelry KAL forum.
people have been so nice and legit helpful;
i mentioned i’d trouble cabling sans cable needle and boom:
two complete strangers linked to helpful videos, refreshing my memory.

i think that’s just about enough rambling for today.
here are the money shots of clue two, completed:

TTL Mystery Shawl 2020, clue 2

TTL Mystery Shawl 2020, clue 2

thanks, kirsten!
but what the fuck
am i supposed to knit, now?

knitting along

June 3, 2020

*just a quick note that there are #TTLMysteryShawl2020 spoilers below

i’ve been heard to say,
on more than one occasion,
that the world is a dumpster fire;
more and more, that perhaps too-casual statement looks to be
less and less
figurative.

i cannot articulate my response to the past few days
in any kind of accurate or nuanced way; what i will say is this:
bless the protestors for their bravery.
donate to your local bail fund.
then, get your mind right.
fuck the police.

returning to knitting seems has felt
well timed. it’s been a notable boon to my mental health.
i remember going to a talk ages ago by stephanie pearl-mcphee
in which i believe she said the repetitive action of knitting changed
our brain’s alpha waves in a similar way as meditation — the details of that
souvenir may be inaccurate, but the spirit remains true.

coffee.
knitting.
t.h.c. gummies.
these have been my mental salvation since march.

on june 1, i quickly cast on for the Through The Loops Mystery Shawl 2020
using blue moon fiber arts bfl sport (discontinued) in the “spawn of scum” colorway and, what i believe is, an over-dyed rare gem.

TTL Mystery Shawl 2020
(please note the center-pull balls lovingly wound by hand)

since i am going up a yarn weight, thereby making the listed gauge
moot—though of course i wouldn’t have ever made a gauge swatch for a shawl, anyway—not knowing if the fabric i’m creating will be comparable
or if i’ll have enough yarn only adds to the mystery.

i do wish the fabric were a little looser, but when i used the next size needle, the fabric was crazy loose. the color, however, is everything.

having never done a mystery shawl, i have to confess i’m thoroughly delighted. and i’m not mad at some delight right now,
even if it’s only for a few hours out of the week.


so that’s clue one down; excited for clue two!

oh.
you want to know who’s getting the shawl?
well…here’s the thing. no one seems to want it.
which suggests, to me, three possibilities:

1. no one reads this blog anymore so no one knew about it (accurate)
2. it’s coming on summer and no one is the shawl market (accurate)
3. people think it’s ugly (lies)

now, i know it’s not ugly. it’s my beautiful child that i cannot photograph to save my life. any failing is not the shawls, but my own. still. disheartening.
sadly, though, i have no use or place for a shawl in my home.
so i guess there’s only one place left for it…

sandness

May 28, 2020

welp.
the russian lace cast off worked,
and the mother fucker blocked beautifully.

sandness in bmfa bfl sport, spruced colorway

trying to photograph it, however,

sandness in bmfa bfl sport, spruced colorway

is impossible.

not having a space big enough to take it’s photo,
i used the old tried and true “stick it in a bush” technique.

sandness in bmfa bfl sport, spruced colorway

i stuck it in just about every shrub or tree i could find on my street.
but i cannot
for the life of me
get the color right; the green always washes out.
nevertheless, i love this shawl. the drape and softness of this yarn
is everything. and i wonder, to whom should it go?

i prefer to give away most of the things i knit
and most of the time, i have an intended recipient.
this time… i just started it because i liked the pattern
and wanted to use this yarn.

so i thought to myself,
“self,” i thought,
“why not go old school
and do an actual giveaway?
might that work??”

i guess we’ll find out!

so if you’d like to have this shawl simply:

1. first, share this post on social media (tagging me would be nice too,
@faiche_stiabhna on both twitter and the gram)
2. then leave a comment

on monday, june 1, i’ll have a computer choose an owner.
(just what everyone will want for summer:
a wool fucking shawl. brilliant, steven!)


returning to knitting has been
a bit of a shock.

a lot has changed.
ravelry seems…dated.
or at least a bit of a ghost town
based on my friends’ and groups’ activity.
the antidote to this trauma, is clinging, desperately, to the familiar.
thus far, this has meant knitting on ancient wips
and beginning something i had
always wanted to try:
a mystery shawl.

in this case,
the deeply cool kirsten kapur‘s
through the loops mystery shawl 2020.
though it make seem mercenary, or perhaps,
at the very least, not organic,
a knit along seems
to me,
a good way to tap into
community, which was, for me,
the most vital component of what made knitting so fulfilling.

plus it meant i got to buy some yarn.

i, of course, began shopping at jill draper,
as ansel is the recommended yarn, and i’ve stolen enjoyed
far too many deviled eggs from her rhinebeck weekend
open houses over the years.

however, it would seem that,
when kirsten kapur recommends a yarn for her knit along,
the internet listens. for it was slip pickinswhen i went to the website.

still,
i persevered,
and chose two yarns
i was sure would meet the criterion of “high contrast.”
the yarn arrived…and they’re basically identical.
beautiful, sororal twins.

i had, of course, looked for a backup option
and came upon yet more change:
blue moon no longer trades in
my favorite yarn: bfl sport.
undeterred,
i sent an email.
because if life has taught me anything its this:
trust in matthew 7:7 (a.k.a. the secret)*

the next day, tina rings to say that yes they have some bfl in the back, but it’s all already dyed. i said “send me any two, high contrast skeins. i trust you.” who better than the depraved dyer to choose contrasting yarn?

today,
this arrived:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/photofairyfreeagent/49925252017
leave it to tina, one of the most generous people i’ve ever met,
to send options.

surprising no one,
i’m going with the green duo.

now what should i knit with skein three?

*i am in no way religious any more, but i grew up catholic and an only child. asking for things, often shamelessly, has, often, worked out for me,
often enough to keep it up, anyway.