i had an emotion

March 20, 2011

we’ve a lot of ground to cover,
and not a lot of time in which to do it.

i. i’ve had a really rough couple days. very personal life stuff that’s not appropriate to go into. i will, however, give you an idea of the “level” of roughness i’m talking about. i warn you now this is most likely an overshare; i’ve probably consumed that same amount of calories in the past 72 hours that i usually do in 24. i have no urge to knit. i have the sex drive of a 95 year old man. (told ya. overshare). and, after a very long time not smoking, i smoked three cigarettes at my parents’ house. sometimes, emotions suck.

ii. i am much better know, and want absolutely no comments about item i. on this blog, i am god. i will delete all comments on item i.

iii. today was day one of “knitting for speed and efficiency” with stephanie pearl-mcphee. setting aside my feelings for her as a fan, i have to say she’s pretty fucking sweet in the classroom. it’s a totally pressure free environment, and she has this was of blowing your mind with the simplest statement. she’s also really patient when you get frustrated (which we all are at one point or another). her knitting proficiency and comedic timing may be the qualities that she’s known for, but it’s those moments of kindness with a discouraged student that i’ll hang on to.

iv. that was sappy, and i don’t care. item v. will be sappy too.

v. i met someone cool in class today. she’s one of those people who you meet, and you can immediately sense that they’re special. i can count on one hand the times that’s happened to me. i know of her from the blogosphere, and you probably do too. it’s weird how, because you’ve read about someone on the internet, you think you know them; it’s like that false sense of intimacy you can have with a character in a novel. we get excited to see fiber celebrities, and feel the need to accost them, introducing ourselves like some friend we haven’t seen in a while. people seem to forget that, while you know details about their life, they know nothing about you.

so, when i meet a fiber-famous person in an intimate setting like a class or a retreat, i try (keyword) to just behave as i do when i meet any new person, basing our interaction whatever happens organically instead of the facts i know about them from online. i also try to let them make the first move. luckily, i am inherently shy so that part is easy. i talk a lot of trash, but it takes a lot to overcome my inner awkward and talk to new people. (evidence: i sat alone at lunch. there were open chairs with knitters at the restaurant, but i didn’t have the courage to invite myself). of course at a fiber festival, or if i’ve been drinking at all, this method goes right out the fucking window. today, though, i was fairly well behaved.

luckily for me, i picked a seat at the right table in the classroom, and denny introduced herself right away. it’s hard to put into words what she’s actually like. she has mad energy about her, she radiates it. she’s obviously mischievous, but in a completely unmalicious was. she is quick to smile and as soon as she does, you want to smile too.
it was exactly the type of energy i needed after no sleep, an hour and a half drive, and only the bad coffee shitty bagel combo to fuel me.

vii. in the interest of full disclosure, i must admit that i saw denny before class at the coffee shop across the street and i totally kinneared her. i have no shame.

viii. thanks to everyone who commented in support of keeping my super secret project super secret. i love you guys.

ix. i have to be up in less that five hours. perhaps it’s time to post this bitch and hit the hay.

this entry is dedicated to my good friend in yarn, anna.
i couldn’t have done it without you babe.

today is labor day.
today i rest.
i will not knit.
i need not knit,
not today.
for yesterday,
i tasted victory.

the summer has been a battle.
a knitting battle of wit and stamina.
the battle known as socks and lace.

toward the end it became clear
that my only competition was anna;
my friend,
my coworker,
my sworn enemy.

the competition was fierce.
some might even say we lost our minds.
to them i say, you didn’t want it bad enough.

we did.

the speed with which anna finished projects was staggering, even scary.
she churned out socks and shawls like the yarn harlot on crack.
never before had i met an opponent as worthy as she,
one who forced me to be a better competitor,
someone who craved victory as much as i.

but i had something that she did not,
something that intensified my already sick need for glory.

it was a certain sweater,
a supreme public mocking,
and the thousands of calls to “man up and knit real lace.”
i admit that i asked for it. i invited scrutiny,
and was taught the lesson of post midnight emails.

the people of the knitting world spoke,
and commanded me to follow the rules,
to stay inside the box.

so i did.

i made the rules my own.
i owned those rules.
i followed the letter of the law, and in doing so,
eviscerated its spirit.

so today i rest,
allow my fingers to recover,
and i wear my stole of victory*.
for in knitting it,
i secured my win.

(i recognize that i may have a problem. i’m at peace with it.)

*the “stole of victory” was my ace in the hole. i held cascade 220 quadrupled knit on size 15’s (10mm) lengthwise. i bought the yarn at natural stitches so it then counted double, and threw in a lace chevron that i messed up somehow. but it doesn’t have to be good lace to count.

because if you do,

you will end up with a full bag that in no way adds up to a meal.

all the worker bees who look like 70’s gay porn stars,
riot grrl wannabes, or ysolda teague on meth,
will make you feel bad about yourself.

you will return to the produce section at least two times,
only to emerge with a sad shallot from some mexican hothouse.

you will leave with at least three fall fashion magazines
filled with beautiful things you’ll never fit into much less afford,
and you will feel bad about yourself.

you will try to walk away from the grumpy cashier
without paying for your groceries,
and then say something dumb like,
“it’s just been one of those days!”
and feel worse about yourself.

when you finally get home, crack your last red stripe, and prepare to treat yourself to that cup of shrimp bisque you just couldn’t pass up,
you will notice that you grabbed the whole wheat baguette.
you detest whole wheat baguettes.

the only recourse is to drink that beer real fast,
hug on your french bulldog,
and remember;

never go to whole foods angry.

in knitting news,
the northern summer shawl continues.

the designer, jo kelly, has been furiously charting the pattern.
and apparently triple checking all the stitch counts.
she was good enough to email me the changes
without me even asking.

that is a designer!

i also have a f.o.

my second juneberry triangle.
it’s been done for a while,
but there were blocking issues.
(humidity’s a bitch, no?)
i’ve sent it off to its recipient, but i won’t say who.
they may read the blog, and i want this to be a surprise.

any guesses?

i’m also hoping for another another installment of project ten by the end of the month. fingers crossed that the mitten lady will write back soon.

for the blog

July 27, 2010

in the back of mind, there is a voice.
it is the voice of the blog.
at any given moment,
it will speak up and say,
“maybe you should blog that.”
“have you written anything today?”
“that’s interesting, but is it blogworthy?”

today, while i was trying to block out the sound of the howler monkeys children “playing” next door, the voice in my head screamed,
“you have to tell them about the hole!”

i contemplated the irony that the voice in my head might have gone off the deep end when i figured out it was talking about yesterday’s incident with the stóra dímun.

as promised,
i wielded my tapestry needle like a pro,
and handed it to my friend yvonne to fix
while i went into the fetal position.

she unleashed her kung fu on its ass,
and it came out beautifully.

the plan was to take an artistic bush photo.
by which i mean,
i would put the stóra dímun in the front hedge,
and take it’s picture, you know, to make it interesting.

the neighbor demons children made that idea impossible.

then i thought,
i’ll throw it on veronica!
that’ll make it interesting.
i tried to put it on her on her way out the door,
and she threw me the look.
the look that says,

“i tolerate this whole knitting obsession of yours because i love you, but if you put that shawl on me and take my picture, i’ll eviscerate you in your sleep.”

sometimes, it’s about not pushing the boundaries of friendship for the sake of the blog. (this lesson in cohabitation brought to you by bitches get stitches) so what does one do when one can’t use nature or feminine beauty to make your knitting look interesting?

shamelessly pimp out your dog, that’s what.

i find that sometimes i get writers’ block.
and for days i worry that the few people who actually read what i write on here, will forget me and delete me from their rss feed.
if i’m truly honest with myself,
i know that’s what i’d do.

so i scour ravelry for inspiration.
read a bunch of seriously terrible knitting blogs,
and say to myself, “shit! someone’s got to write something more interesting than that!” (let’s be real. not everyone who knits can write)
then i feel bad, and worry that i’m one of those people.

so i move on, and continue my summer re-reading of stephanie’s blog,
(currently in september of ’04. i’m a bit behind)
and really start feeling bad about my writing.
then i feel blasphemous that,
after only a couple meetings,
i’ve dropped her rightful title,
and i’m referring to her as stephanie.
or worse yet (gods protect me)

the brazen familiarity horrifies me and my sense of knitterly decorum.

then i realize that it’s 3 bloody am and i need to get a grip.
(i blame an overdose of lasagna)

and suddenly it dawns on me i have too much in the way of knitterly things to write about currently, and i’ll just have to do my best to cover it all.


you may remember my boast of starting a blog project called “project ten” where i pose ten questions to what i call the ravelry generation.
it’s basically those fibery people who inspire me, who i want to meet, or i’m jealous of.

that kind of thing.

i’m happy to announce that the first installment comes out this week.
i am thoroughly stoked.

back in early may,
i undertook a stupid challenge.
two of my fellow worker bees started a knit along;
the stora dimun knit along.

as someone who generally wants to fit in,
i thought about joining in the supposed “fun”
but with a shawl that begins with 449 stitches,
i knew i couldn’t afford the yarn,
and couldn’t think who would want the finished item.

my dear friend kelli, whom i love,
said she wanted it but would never knit it.
at least not in a timely manner.
kelli is my mother-sister-auntie,
from day one she’s been like family in a state where i have no kin,
there was no question that i would knit this for her.
plus she was springing for the yarn.

but this shawl is epic.
and mostly plain garter stitch.

(that’s one wing or half the shawl. just to give an idea of scale)

so i’ve been unbelievably unfaithful to it.
i’ve worked on it off and on, but with little joy.
i cast it aside heartlessly for the juneberry for stephanie,
and knit only one row when i was on my retreat.

i decided when i got home,
a meer seven days ago,
i’d work on it furiously,
to honor my love for the kelli,
and to get the fucker off my needles.
it’s all i am going to knit till it’s done.

three days ago i cast on another juneberry triangle.
another gift for a semi-secret recipient.
my roomie will attest that i have declared my personal motto of this summer to be, “i have no shame.”

this is a case in point.
(stats – blue moon luscious silk in the “manly yes, but i like it too” colorway, size 7 (4.5mm) needle)

i think i’ll go knit a row on kelli’s shawl.

but before i go, i want to leave you with a tid bit of gossip.
you may remember that several people have complained about the second chart of the juneberry triangle, i being one of the loudest. the chief complaint is i paid a ton of money for this little canadian magazine, and i deserve a fullly charted pattern, not “work the established pattern into the shawl as new stitches become available remembering that you can only work the yarn over if there are enough stiches to do it’s corresponding decreases.”

don’t even get me started on yarn overs and corresponding decreases!

however! floating around the internets is a copy of the complete second chart, a document supposedly elimnated by the st-denis magazine’s tech editor.

i may or may not have it in my possesion
and i may or may not be able to tell you where to get it.

all i can say is,
if you want to knit this pattern without tears,
find yourself a copy.

à bientôt bitches

in the chicago airport

June 23, 2010

today begins a week of vacation here at bitches get stitches.
i’m off to portland to begin a west coast road trip with two great friends.
i hope to have many adventures to share with you all,
but right now. . .

i’m a little sleepy.
i have nothing blogworthy to report,
except that i brought my stora dimum with me to knit on.
some people like to bring small, portable projects on vacation.
i prefer large ones.

there are so many extra hours,
both on planes and in airport terminals.
if i’m going to put that much time into knitting,
it might as well be on something big.

and believe you me,
the stora dimun is on huge mothah fuckah.
for those who don’t know,
you cast on 449 stithces.
just sayin’.

but i’m unprepared.
there’s no picture of the glorious yarn,
or the progress i’ve made.
(2 more lace rows!)

so here’s a picture to amuse you.
this is what i look like with an hour’s sleep,
living through the six o’clock hour for the second time:

yup! still youthful and fresh looking.
practically perfect in every way,
just like mary poppins.

it took my ten days.
only ten days and a xanax.
by the end, my hand was cramping.
and i’m pretty sure if there had been any more edging,
i’d have developed “the claw.”

it took just under one skein,
(since i stupidly knit it with a size 6 needle)
but i’m confident that it will be the perfect size blocked.

what am i talking about?
why jared flood’s most recent masterpiece, the juneberry triangle.

it was definitely the most difficult knit i’ve done thus far

and yet,

once i got going,
things made sense.
and i got to thinking,
i meet so many knitters and too many of them say things like,
“was that an easy knit?”
“i could never knit that.”
“is it hard?”

when did knitting something easy become a badge of honor?
why wouldn’t you want to knit something that was challenging,
that took you to the edge of your abilities?
sure i like mindless knitting sometimes,
but knitting is like a puzzle to me;
it’s the figuring out part i love.

so no this wasn’t an easy knit.
i had to think
and pay attention.
in doing so, i figured it out.
and i conquered this mothah f*ckah!

tonight, it soaks.
tomorrow, the blocking begins.

in other news,
the travels of the girasole continues.
shara has been toting it all over the uk,
carrying it with her to historical sites,
and showing it off at yarn stores.

here it is at the wool clip

castlelrigg stone circle

(that’s shara on the right. not sure who she’s with but she looks cool. must be a knitter.)

she then took it to hadrian’s wall

and to see the angel of the north

my mom wrote me an email about the girasole.
she wondered if i was jealous that my knitting is traveling more than i am.
(because apparently she is)

i told her it’s the complete opposite.
i’m thrilled something that i made is traveling all over the uk.
i should start sending more knitting out into the world.
like a chain letter.
and people send a picture.

i feel a new project coming on.

whips and chains

June 10, 2010

i’m in an s&m relationship with jared flood.
or, to be more precise, his juneberry triangle.
initially, it destroyed my self esteem,
and seemed impossible to conquer.

i dried my eyes, dug down deep,
and countered with my own instruments of pain:
a mechanical pencil, graph paper, and a calculator.
and beat that mother into submission.

(the yarn is madelinetosh “pashmina” in copper penney)

the reason it was so difficult (at first) was because of the second chart.
if you look at people’s notes on ravelry,
all their trouble was chart 2 related.

the reason?
chart 2 doesn’t display a repeat per se.
rather, as the shawl grows
(from the yo’s at the sides and center spine)
one works the pattern into the new stitches if there are enough to do so.
remember, if you have enough stitches to do a decrease, you must do it’s corresponding increase. and vice versa. and you never do a double yo. that tip is key.

when you have completed the eight offending rows,
and are ready to work them all over again, there’s a twist:
the first stitch of the chart doesn’t correspond to the the first stitch on the shawl. instead, you continue working in the established pattern (and death death to all designers who use the phrase “work in patt”), stacking the diamonds on top of each other, and “growing” that pattern outward as more and more stitches are created. this coupled with the fact that there is patterning on both sides made me want to die a little.
here’s a closer look:

see how the diamonds “stack”?
that concept really helped me get over the hump.

i soon got into the grove of it.
since, actually, it’s a fairly easy pattern.
and banged out the second chart in an evening.

go me right?
not so much.

as i was finishing the second to last row of the section,
i saw a little “4” flashing in front of my eyes.
a closer look revealed it to read 4mm.
that would be a u.s. size 6 needle.
not the 7 the pattern calls far.


i am fairly sure that i started with a 7.
but must have needed them for a second.
(i use addi clicks so i probably clicked them off)
and then replaced them with 6’s for who knows why.
once again, the juneberry made me it’s bottom bitch.


my main point is this;
contrary to my original feeling,
this pattern is definitely doable.
it was just written in a way that isn’t standard,
at least when it comes to lace/charts i’ve encountered.

in my mind, it’s another example of a of a blight in our community: designers writing patterns, but not writing them for the dumbest possible knitter. if you’re good enough to design something like this, and then have one of your friends test knit it, of course they’ll get it. they’re probably good knitters, and they have you there to ask little questions. you need to have strangers test knit things, people who aren’t as comfortable with their knitting skills so that their problems will aid you in clarifying patterns.

and please, pay the extra money and write out a complete chart!
they’re already tiny so why not nix one photo of the shawl,
and put a chart there?

i’m done ranting.
something happy?
how about a couple of fo’s:

that’s anna’s february lady sweater,

and plain green socks for mitch,
a.k.a. lisa b.

(isn’t she a great foot model?)

it’s the fo’s that keep me going.
and photos like these remind me why i knit;
i knit because i love the feeling of making something beautiful with my own two hands.

so keep ’em coming jared.
i’ll knit whatever you can throw at me!.

i’ve been a both a busy bee and a lazy bum.
i feel like i’ve been working (in various forms) constantly;
then i look around me,
and i’ve gotten so little done.

since i’ve been away from the blog for almost a week,
let’s play catch up, shall we?

there have also been some minor plagues upon my house,
like an e-mail coup,
and bicycle theft.

but then came a ray of sunshine in the form of yarn:

a few months ago,
my dear friend nancy went to a sheep shearing event.
we decided that if it wasn’t to expensive,
we’d go in on a fleece together.

(she’s thrifty and i tend toward the broke side of the financial spectrum depending on how far i am from pay day)

nancy picked out the fine coat of isis,
a particularly handsome shetland sheep.
she’s no expert on fleeces,
but since her quick purchase garnered many jealous looks from her fellow shearers and pickers, she knew she hit the jackpot.

since, at the time, neither of could spin,
we sent it off to a mill in michigan (my beloved homeland),
stone hedge fiber mill
i love their shepherd’s wool, (so should all of you)
and when i found out they will process a fleece not only into roving,
but into yarn, i knew where i was sending our beloved isis wool.

a few months later, and here it is,
1250 yards of a beautiful aran yarn.
i don’t know how they managed it,
but they made a shetland fleece feel like merino.
seriously, it’s softer than cascade 220.

since splitting the yarn meant neither of us would have enough,
we made a deal: i get to knit the yarn, she gets the garment.
come fall, this will become a lovely cabled vest for nancy.
and suggestions for a pattern?

in other news,
i have begun working on the juneberry triangle.
it is by far the most difficult thing i have ever knit,
and i am not ashamed to say that it brought me as close to crying i have ever come over knitting. i’ll have more details about it later, but suffice it say, my love/hate of jared flood burns ever stronger.

speaking of providing further details, here’s an update on project 10.
my first “interview” is with melynda of french press knits
and i’m totally stoked that my first participant will be a fellow michigander. we’re both working hard on this one bitches.

since i want this to be as much about the community as it is about me,
i’d love it if at least one of the 10 questions came from you all.
if there’s anything you’re dying to know about melynda,
leave your question in the comments.

and keep an eye on the blog folks,
i’m hoping to get it out before the end of june.

à bientôt mes petites chiennes.

p.s. lately, i’ve been doing most of my writing at the quiet storm
it’s an independently (queer/women?) owned vegetarian diner,
and my favorite place in pittsburgh.

i thought i’d give them a shout out since they take such good care of me and my insatiable need for cheese, broccoli, tofu, and iced coffee:

if you’re passing through the burgh,
you need to try the home fries.

if you live here already,
why aren’t you sitting across from me right now?

newton’s third law states that for every action,
there is an equal an opposite reaction.

for me that has meant that everything good i have done today,
has been met with something not so good.

for instance,
i have much administrative stuff to do.
working two weeks straight at the shop has impeded my progress.
so i set the alarm on my phone so i would get up bright and early;
go me right?

of course turning the ringer on would have helped.
needless to say, i woke up late.

i then decided to go to my favorite spot in pittsburgh, the quiet storm,
to catch up on some correspondence, and knock out a blog post.
luckily, i charged my camera battery last night, and remembered to grab my camera on my way out so i could take a photo of second sock:

of course i never put the battery in the camera,
thus the low quality computer cam pic.

(margaret cho looks pissed at the low quality photo of second sock, no?)

you’ll also notice how little progress has been made on second sock.
that would be because i am practicing my spinning,
which means i’m not knitting,
which means i’m probably going to lose the summer of socks and lace and my small life of fiber artistry will have no meaning!

i’ve regained my grip.
which brings me to the real topic of this post:

i’ve had this idea to do a series of short interviews with what could be called the up and coming/newly famous/should be famous people in the fiber arts world. i’m calling the project 10 questions for the ravelry generation. or just project 10. i haven’t decided.

the gist is that i pose ten random questions to knitters/crocheters/spinners/bloggers/designers that inspire me, and the rest of us. i have a short list of people i’m pretty sure will take my call so to speak, and a dream list of people who are probably too important to get back to me.

now, i’m no journalist.
i have no idea what i’m doing really.
i just thought it would be cool to create a record of this moment while it’s still going on.

i feel like we’ve all had ideas, creative ideas, and for whatever reason we haven’t followed through. a year later we find ourselves saying, “i thought of that!” or “i could do that!” and my friend lisa will promptly say,

“but you didn’t.”

the truth of the statement can be devastating.
and i figure if i say i’m going to do this thing on the blog,
i’ll be accountable to some one.

so after this,
i’m sending out my first request for an interview.

keep your fingers crossed bitches!!

(what the #$&@* am i getting myself into)