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

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.

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!

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…


May 28, 2020

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.

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.
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?

this arrived:
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.


May 20, 2020

there were several times
that i almost wrote about this shawl*

witty posts planned
impressive math moments
thoughts on its construction
and the realization the yarn was felting
as i “purled two on; knit one off”
(perils of the sewn bind off and bfl yarn)
“but look! i made it to the end just inches of left! huzzah!”


it all felt forced.

and now, in the face of the most fun part of knitting—being done—i find
myself unable to cast off. more specifically,
i can’t decide how to cast off.

so of course i’m compelled to write.

my go-to is the sewn bind off, but after taking a day to bind off the bottom edge, i…just can’t face that again so soon. i could do the simple knitted bind off, which is fast and tidy, but then there would be that row of Vs all along the RS of the shawl and that’s just tacky. plus, while this isn’t a lace shawl that would require a hard block, it will need to give quite a bit when i block it the knitted bind off won’t allow it. and before any of you tell me to use jeny’s surprisingly stretchy bind off, i’d like you to go ahead and look in the mirror and ask yourself why you hate yourself, knitting, and me so much that you’d wish that ugly-ass bind off on my hard work. this isn’t some toe up sock abomination.

having set the shawl aside to
do a little research on bind offs since,
after all this time away from knitting,
my memory cannot
be trusted.

(it can’t be trusted ever, really)

it looks like i’m going  with the russian bind off,
which i may or may not have ever done before;

i can’t remember.

*the beauty of this color, bmfa‘s “spruced,”
has proven impossible (for me),
in several bmfa bases,
to photograph

i’m depressed

May 11, 2020

but i think it’s safe to say,
we all are these days
to some degree,

so here are some things that do not suck in my life right now:
shetland tea shawl
by my calculations, i’m just past halfway done with the edging
on the shetland tea shawl i began in 2009.
shetland tea shawl
yeah blurry edging shot!

then there’s this sandness
that i barely recollect beginning at the beginning of 2016.

currently trying to locate my place
as i’m knitting this out of a hand-dyed yarn
that you just can’t get anymore and i don’t want to get close to the end only to discover i should have done one less repeat
to have enough yarn
to cast off.

i picked this up today
yeast from A and J King Bakery
your eyes aren’t deceiving you; that’s a 1lb bag of bakers yeast.
i can bake bread forever! suck on that, pandemic!

seriously, everyone complaining that they can’t find yeast at the grocery store, contact your local bakery. they have flour and yeast to spare.
i got this lil guy from a&j king bakery in salem, ma.

finally, i need your help.
in these uncertain times, as i feel
the pull of knitting-as-addiction, yet again,
i can’t decide if i should cast on this sweater
Christmas Past by Dale Long
which comes in one size (not mine)
using techniques i’ve never done (steaks)
and calls for yarn i do not have (from scotland)


should i just get a bohus stickning kit?
tough call, eh?

what should i do?

so i have this doily,
crocheted by some ancestor,
likely from the wealthy german,
rather than working class irish, stock.

there were a lot of doilies
among the many, many relics that
never quite make it to the curb in my family.
i hung on to this one
great grandmother’s doily
one of the finer examples in the lot.

though i have only the most basic crochet skills,
it seems like this might only be moderately difficult to do.
(how i wish i were as good at crochet as i am at knitting!
i’d write up the pattern from this doily
to preserve it!)

but that stain
is…pretty gnarly.
how should i clean it?
and what about blocking?

normally, i’d feel pretty comfortable with that task,
except it’s cotton not wool. and then there’s this little guy:
great grandmother’s doily
a break in the yarn.

so what do i do, folks?
can i even clean this?
should i risk it?
or let it live

and why do people start of blogs with “in which”, anyway?
where the heck did that begin?

ffwd two years

May 4, 2020

and one pandemic
and i find i’ve knit some things.

socks for Emma
socks for Emma
a good, plain sock (which ravelry tells me i’ve knit six times, now)
in bmfa socks that rock medium weight
colorway: fall on tap
for emma.

juneberry in bmfa targhee worsted in moirae colorway
juneberry in bmfa targhee worsted in moirae colorway
yet another juneberry triangle
in bmfa targhee worsted,
moirae colorway
which is slated for collection tomorrow,
of to its secret recipient!

knitting during the epidemic
or perhaps more accurately
returning to knitting
affected my emotional state.

the initial, palpable effect
was that kind of meditative feeling in my brain
caused, if memory serves, by repetitive action.
a byproduct of this new knitting jaunt
is missing, deeply, the community
i had as a young knitter in
my twenties (fuck i’m old!)

and community, in general, if i’m honest with myself
i thing i’ve found with every move i’ve made
except this latest to boston.

has been
as teflon.
toxic nonstick.

i’ve said so many times
that i never though of michiganders
as friendly
until i moved
to new england.

isn’t mean
it’s simply in different.
people here are superficial
in their interactions with you
nice even, but they forget you
when they leave.

of course it’s not just boston
or even region more generally.
i’m not looking to place blame
only to highlight that
missing people
is something
i’ve been

i have one more year in this city,
(unless fate is particularly cruel
and deen matches at bmc).
wherever i go next
here’s hoping
i do
a better job
finding folks
than have these past few years.

that is,
of course,
if there’s anything left.

is nostapinne-ing a word?

August 22, 2018

that’s what i’m doing.
while listening to “ravi shankar
in san francisco,”

no less.

what will you become, little ball?


June 6, 2018

knitting fam, i need your help.

i got some solid knitting done on my flight

(obligatory knitting on tray table pic)

suddenly, i found myself past
the halfway point
on the lace

buuut. i’m worried
there may be
a problem.

when i stretch out the shawl, it’s…tough.

to stretch that is.

i’m worried this thing is going to be a dud,
and that i won’t know till i’m done.

those of you who’ve made circular shawls, have any of them ended up not blocking flat?? can the center bubble up like some kind of weird alien lace permaboob?

i find myself regretting
talking so much shit
about certain

this karma.

s&m wednesday

May 16, 2018

those estonians must be some freaks in bed
because how else can we explain the existence of the nupp?
it’s the most frustrating stitch.

and yet…here i sit.
knitting away.
working these nupps.
DPP_3320just call me the nupp gimp.