on my table

June 21, 2012

in case any of you worried about my week-long silence,

fear not!

i was fulfilling the familial duty required of all sons:
i helped clean out the garage.

now while for most people,
that would be a job for one person
and could be completed in half a day,
our garage is larger than most apartments.
it’s really more of a huge barn where the cars live
(it has a second floor)

my mother and i spent a few days
and tossing aside with reckless abandon a couple decades worth of all things found in a country garage. a dumpster that could house an elephant was our ally.

a weekend of generally manliness,
where my y chromosome shone with pride,
left little time to blog about my life of fiber.

this evening,
i’ll catch you up.
let’s see what’s on my table, shall we?

first, a f.o.
yarn – socks that rock medium weight
colorway – rare gem dyed by yours truly

this cowl has been done for ages but honestly, i’ve felt a little ambivalent about sharing it. this is my first go at a design (sort of). i learned a whole lot while i knit it, but it didn’t come out as i envisioned it. some things exceeded my expectations, others,
i couldn’t get to do what i wanted.

with a few tweaks,
i can imagine it being something i could be proud of.
time will tell.

next, another f.o.
yarn – luscious silk
colorway – copperline

now this, i’m proud of!
it’s a simply-woven scarf, true,
but there’s something beautiful about perfecting simplicity.
think about how long it took you to master your knitting gauge
and how lovely a flawlessly executed stockinette sweater is!
that’s what this scarf is about to me. (check out that sexy fringe)

i was really worried about the evenness of this scarf.
i’ve never woven with silk before
and it was difficult to manage;
it lacks wool’s forgiving nature.
it was especially difficult to maintain the selvages.
but for once in my fibery existence,
that shit blocked right out!

just in time to give it to its intended recipient.

and look!
i still have a whole other skein!
note that this is an older skein of luscious silk, over 300 yards.
newer ones only have 218 yards

this weekend,
i’m headed to the knot hysteria gourmet retreat (jealous?)
whenever i go to a fiber event,
i check my stock of business cards.
i use them to promote the blog (bien sur)
and make it easy for people to friend me on ravelry.
since i was running low,
i placed an order.
i may have over done it.
i don’t remember ordering this many.
i bet it was after midnight.
(the box is full too)

as you can see,
the loom is re-warped.
(the color in that photo is so off as to be laughable)
this is supposed to be a gift for this weekend.
i haven’t started weaving or anything,
but i can finish,

so i’m a little out of touch with reality. big whoop.
i mean, it’s not like i think i can finish this sweater.
but i am going to try to pull it off for rhinebeck.
let’s check the facts:
yarn weight – sport
needle size – u.s. 2 & 4
size – fuck that shit!
like i’m telling you my size.
let’s just say,
it’ll be dude-sized.

this will be an extreme test of my knitterly endurance.
but hey, it’s rhinebeck.

and it’s not like i’m the only delusional knitting blogger around.

je tisse

June 4, 2012

donc je suis.

copper lines

June 2, 2012

(this was my attempt to take a weaving photo à la the daily purl)

i say it all the time:
almost everything i make is for someone else.
i’ve made a few things for someone in particular,
but the last couple knits didn’t seem to impress.
it wasn’t that s/he didn’t like them
or didn’t appreciate them.
they just didn’t wow,
which is,
of course,
the goal;
i want the person to love what i’ve made.
so i’m thinking perhaps weaving is the way to go,
just a plain scarf in one of his/her favorite colors.
i even have some luscious silk in my stash that will work nicely.
it’s going to be fucking gorgeous, regardless.

hey weavers:
any tips for weaving silk?
i’ve only woven with wool before
which i know is a much more forgiving fiber.

speaking of making things for people i like,
i cast this little buddy on the other day:
this is going to be for debra m.
we’ve only met a couple of times
but she’s always been so kind to me,
especially at times when i felt a little vulnerable.
frankly, if you met debra and didn’t like her,
i’d question whether or not you were human.

so when she expressed interest in this particular rare gem,
i decided immediately that i would knit something for her.
unfortunately, nothing i found the ravelry machine was right.
(god bless ravelry, but it does fail us now and then)

frustrated, i decided i would take this opportunity to try to design something. i’ve had exactly two design ideas in my entire life and, as we all know, nancy bush stole my other one. this cowl isn’t going exactly as planned, but i still think i like it. if the next part goes well, i’ll be home free. maybe i’ll even publish the pattern.


new weave

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.
metaphorically speaking
of course.

and i have to say,
this most recent encounter was amazing!
i absolutely adore this project
(my second, i’ll have you note)
because it came out exactly as i had envisioned.

my vision:
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 mean, can you even tell me what color the weft is in this photo?
(it’s gray)

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!

color up

May 9, 2012

after turning in my final papers on monday,
a combination of
poor diet,
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?)

more than anything,
i was happy to hang with melynda

and make new knitterly friends.(erica is an excellent colorer)
(and knitterella can put away more burrito than you think she can!)

as usual, beth harassed me,
telling me how i needed to be a better spinner and knitteri retaliated with my camera.

most of the day, we all laughed hysterically;
i had the best table mates!
i have dubbed us
the heathers.

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”
“owl pellets”

as you can see, there was an . . . oral theme at our table.

after all the color hilarity and stress bombs,
i returned home to some neutral heaven.

*no, i’m not colorblind

a good son

November 20, 2011

the contest preparations are well under way.
i have a good batch of stuff to give away.
i know you’re are telling everyone you know
because you want this fundraiser to be successful.

today, however,
amid the end of the semester push,
i decided to take care of my family.

you see,
my mom is a pretty amazing lady;
she’s the cornerstone of our family,
our matriarch.

she very rarely gets to do anything fun for herself
and so i decided she needed a little diversion.
i had her come up to east lansing to see me.
i made her get in my car
and i drove. . .

about mile to woven art for a rigid heddle loom class.

my mom isn’t the craftiest lady.
it’s not that she doesn’t have an artistic sensibility;
my childhood is filled memories of arizona deserts,
navajo rugs, and pottery from various indigenous folk.

it’s just,
my mom’s a busy lady.
she takes care of everyone in our family, and i seriously doubt any of our ability to function at the level we do without her assistance.
she’s just never had the time to explore this side of herself.

i thought it was high time.

and so i gave her a little push
into this world of fiber arts
to see if she could swim.

she did.

her color choice was superb
(better than mine. >jealous<)
and warped she her first loom.
(look at the focus)

while we warped,
our lovely teacher, kathy popoff, wound our weft yarn
kathy was great.
she’s the perfect no pressure teacher,
exactly what i need for weaving.

with everything warped,
my mom and i sat
side by side
and wove.

in a couple of months, i’ll be twenty seven.
that’s the same age my mom was when she had me.
i don’t think there’s been a day in these 27 years
when she hasn’t totally had my back.
of course there were time when we fought.
some would say my teenage attitude was fucking insane epic.
(i maintain it was merely my not yet untempered wit)
but i can’t think of a time when i ever felt unsafe or unloved.
some moms get hope to get out on parol.
mine chose the life sentence.
i love her for it.

it was a good day.
(and yes, she bought her loom)

i wove something

October 9, 2011

it’s just a sampler, and it’s pretty wonky.
but it’ll make a nice mini-runner for my writing desk.

i have to say that weaving is pretty intriguing.
it’s not as intuitive as knitting is for me
but it still accesses that . . . thing
that creative part of me that needs to get out.
weaving feels like a lot more work than knitting ever has,
but the finished product was definitely worth the effort.

maybe i’ll get a loom, since,
you know,
i have all this time on my hands.

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.