Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Arrested Knitting

Whoever said knitting socks was quick and easy, and a good way to get the 'Oh, I accomplished something!' feeling, LIED.


Knitting fancy shmancy socks with sock yarn and teeny tiny needles that break is NOT easy NOR quick. In fact, by the time I complete ONE sock, I am exhausted instead of relieved, and DREAD the process of the next sock.

Especially these socks.

Oh, Grumperina.


Why'd you do it?

Pictures forthcoming.

Teeny Tiny Non-Confrontational PostScript: If you write patterns and post them for free, you are automatically cool. However (and this goes for all knitting patterns), please be aware that many of us knitters are new to it, and desperately need very exact instructions, and so I offer this little bit of itty-bitty advice--the same advice my father gave me when it came to writing book reports. "Assume your readers know NOTHING and explain to them in VERY CLEAR INSTRUCTION."
I'm not sayin'. I'm just sayin'.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Dear Knitters

Yes, I've been busy. I've finished two more hats for my dear friend Madge and her boy-toy. This was a 'trade' art project for the lovely photo those lovebirds sent to Michael and I. I am done with hats for awhile. Seriously. Like, done.
Meanwhile! Pod-Cast craziness! Not only was I highlighted on Cast-On.Com, but my dear friend Paige of Red Light Knitting Pod-Cast read an entry from this blog out loud. I must admit, my writing sounds much better when pretty ladies with nice hair read them. Please, go pay homage to Paige and listen to her podcast. It's fun, it's quirky, and it's filled with anecdotes from our Stitch N' Bitch evenings.

Between the cake ordering, dress fitting, hair and makeup appointment making, I've been, well, you know...SWAMPED. And so I greatly appreciated the sleep-over knit night at Liz's house (a fellow SnB'er). We watched two terribly stupid horror movies (compliments of yours truly) and knitted to our hearts' content. Her sister tackled ribbing (bless her) and I got converted. Liz felted.

Ah, felting!

Liz made this ENORMOUS brown and green and blue striped bag. She'd been weaving in ends for about a month now and the Knit Sleepover was the Night of the Great Felt. I couldn't understand how this huge bag that would honestly fit Liz in it would become a laptop bag. But there it went into the washer, right as the girl heroine of 'High Tension' realized she was the antagonist, thanks to her psychosis. Fifteen minutes later, out came this terrific bag--soaking wet, shrunken, and fuzzy. And just the right size for a laptop. That was it--love at first sight.

I am now making a purse for felting.

42 inches of Stockinette Stitch on Size Seven Needles. I figure I'll be done by next Christmas. Wish me luck. Pictures will be forthcoming...probably of Fritz going slowly nuts. The progression should be interesting. I blame Liz. Liz, this is your fault.

Thanks again to Paige and Brenda. Maybe I should start taking this writing thing--real writing, that is--seriously. Meanwhile, I'll be around on the purl side.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Dear Knitters: I'm (semi) Famous

Many thanks to Brenda Dayne of Cast On, the penultimate* podcast for knitters. I submitted this piece to her and received such a positive response that I almost wept. It is really something to be recognized by one of the foremost knitters, writers, and podcasters this internet-world has seen. Go listen to her entire episode at Cast-On dot Com; you can hear my scratchy, melodramatic voice on Episode 32: Gwlana (Woolgathering).

*Commenter EvelynWood was kind enough to tell me the meaning of penultimate: next to last. Clearly, this is not what I thought it meant. I THOUGHT it meant extremely the bestest ever, and I am glad someone had the guts to tell me about my fox paws (faux pas). It is important to remain humbled in these events, and do the best one can to educate herself. Thanks, Miss Wood. I shall remember this word in the future, and use it correctly.

A Sense of Place
For: Brenda Dayne's Cast-On Season Three

The summer has been cruel. The gardens in Atlanta have mopped over in submissive posture, and the daisies I planted a month ago are wilting in the terra cotta pot. There is simply not enough rain this summer; I mourn for the thirst of the flora. The heat is oppressive; it reeks of fossil fuel and Freon. A perpetual haze of industry and traffic hangs about the whole city and even up into the rural hills of North Georgia.

It is this horrid heat that keeps me indoors all day long. I step outside to water my plants or to run to my air conditioned car; otherwise, I am isolating myself from the tangible evidence of destruction humans wreak on the world. As I work from home, and call clients, and do the dishes or email friends, I become more and more alone. The house is quiet except for the whirr of the fan and the unction of the air conditioning unit. Inside my lonely sanctuary, I turn the coffee pot on and sip black brew in freezing air, willing the outdoor heat away. Summers were never meant to be lonely days. Summer used to be a time for swimming, long walks at the park, cocktail parties and cookouts. Now, summer is just a horribly long intermission between the gentler seasons.

And so, I remain trapped in this suburban heat, and surround myself with yarn. No summer weights for me, thank you. I work with fuzzy alpaca, softest wool, even cashmere. I work with the weights of fall and winter, of rosy cheeked children in autumn, snuggled in scarves and hats of warmth. I work these fibers as an incantation to myself: "It shall get cool, it shall get cool." In one summer, I've knitted three woolen hats, one mohair shawl, four or five scarves, and a vest. Of these items, only one is made of bright mercerized cotton. The rest lie about my home in shades of blue, the color of rain on a child's drawing, the color of coolness, and the color of water.

In the early morning, I sip my coffee and listen to the relaxing strings of Samuel Barber. Beneath the fan, I lay my project out on my lap and finger the fibers of the chilled seasons. As my needles click along with an adagio or sonata, I can no longer hear the air conditioning work, or see the haze of pollution hanging over this non-descript suburb of Atlanta. I am transported to a place of tallest oak trees and ochre leaves. I have disappeared into a realm of windy forests and brown landscapes--the landscapes of winter. So convinced of my fancy, I wrap a scarf about my neck and breathe into the knit, remembering the December chill of childhood, of robust laughter and white exhalations, clinging to the molecules of coldness.

I am most productive at knitting in the summer. Knitting is a prayer for the earth, for my town, for my neighbors. Knitting is at the heart of my concern for the environment; without the cold, we are without need for knits. Rather than this place shaping my knitting, I see that knitting shapes my place. It helps me remember this land is worth salvaging, the flora worth watering. So, perhaps, after I finish this row, I'll step outside and face the sun, and tell the still blanket of hot air to dissipate. Fall is on its way, and with fall will come the stockpiled scarves of summer.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Dear Knitters

The Destruction of the Shrug, Accompanied by the Lyrics of The End, composed by Jim Morrison and the Doors.

This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My Only Friend, the End

Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I'll never look into your eyes...again

C'mon baby and take a chance with us
and meet me at the back of the blue bus
Doin' a [sic] blue frog
On a blue bus

kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill
This is the end.

*This is what I get for taking a chance with gauge and sticking all this damn yarn on too small of a needle. Bah. I'm ripping it all out and starting over. This is a first true frogging. I mourned for a little bit, and then plunged back in.
But only after listening to The End while I ripped it all out.

 Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 10, 2006

Dear Knitters

I have got to find another way to display my finished objects without completely making a fool of myself. So far, engineering self-portraits involves me, a mirror, a camera, and a squinty look of self-loathing. Ach.
Regardless, here is the drop stitch vest in its completion. Now, it didn't turn out as nice as the book's picture, but that's okay. I did it. I finished that stockinette and I lived to tell you about it. There are lots of mistakes in this vest, mostly because I have no idea what 'reverse shaping' means.
Thanks to Paige for coming to the rescue on that.

Holy crap my boobs look huge, yes?
Anyway, this wasn't DELIGHFUL to knit, entirely, but I can say that for the very first piece of clothing, I am more than pleased. I might actually pull this knitting thing off believably.

Onward to the shrug. One day, I'm going to put all this stuff on at once: scarves, shawls, vests, shrugs and hats. I'll be the knitted fairy godmother.

And what is knitting without a work station? Here, you can see the lovely needle holder my good friend and fellow SnB'er crafted for me. She is an incredible seamstress, so this needle pouch means so much to me, as it is useful, pretty, and from a friend.

Now: I'm going back to the vest just to tidy up those last few spots....

Cheerios! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Dear Knitters

Clearance Yarn is clearly not a bad thing!

Last week, I went to a very trendy knitting shop in the oh-so-fabulous Buckhead district of Atlanta--tres expensive, tres overrated. The owner was overbearing and unfriendly. While I was knitting a test swatch, she grabbed it from me and asked, "WHAT are you doing?" and tore out all my stitches and did it herself. Because I'm a tight knitter.

After buying sale yarn (the sale yarn price was not disclosed to me until I reached the register, and by then, I was so fearful for my life that I threw the card at her and begged for mercy), I was out $132.

Yes. That was sale price. Mmmhmm. The most expensive shrug known to man, made by me, in 'sale yarn'. I was so disgusted with the entire process of buying yarn at a 'Buckhead Betty' establishment, I was led to...JoAnne's Fabrics for relief.

Ahhhhh. Clearance rack. Say it with me, knitters.

There's nothing wrong with it. It actually feels--liberating! Freeing! Cheap!
For twelve bucks, I got four skeins of funky, chunky, mostly wool-y yarn.

And it became this wonderful scarf for my mother! (Now, of course, my mother DESERVES ultra gorgeous cashmere, silk, mohair, alpaca, beaver, angora...and she'll get all those, one day. For now, however, she shall be the receipient of fun yarn).
Of course, Delilah had to check out the scarf to make sure it was of decent quality. She approved with a sniff.
Even better, this project distracted me from that damn Stockinette drop-stitch vest consuming all of my patience, free time, and hope. I finished this in under four hours. I suppose this means I need to get that vest done, but at least I have something to show you folks.

Please remember: we can be fiber snobs, and we can be knitting snobs. But we cannot forget the worth of a lot of string for a little cash. When you see sale yarn you love, grab it. Have fun. And don't fear acrylic blends. Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 26, 2006

Dear Knitters

Bitchin'! Stitch n' Bitchin'!
Thanks to my dear SnB'er, Miss Paige, I've got myself the front of a vest. A drop stitch vest. Oh, and how lovely it is to have four...FOUR...extra skeins left over after I've completed this thing. Whee! More stash!

Another lovely thing about this vest (well, this half of this vest) is that half of it (perhaps this half?) was purchased by Michael. Yes, that's right. Not only does Michael help me indulge in this passion, but he accompanies me TO YARN STORES and PURCHASES YARN FOR ME.
I've had some women hit on him at these stores, but I'm very territorial of my man. He will not get away.

I realize the idea of this vest if very simple. Drop a stitch. Let it fall. The unravelling of the stitch makes this vest sexy and cool and funky and pretty. The cotton shimmers a bit and inspires me to imagine myself in bows and ribbons and all that is feminine. Again, I'm struck with this knitting magic. I do not really understand any of this. It's just mystical for me; I can't explain decreases, bind-offs, increases, shoulders, reversing (well, that's just a big bungle for me). It just happens as I go. Or, not. But here she is: my first (half) of a real piece of clothing.

I'm excited. Are you? Posted by Picasa