Jun 21, 2012

the rug has been pulled out

I really respect and adore the Yarn Harlot. I enjoy reading her blog and books, I think she is intelligent, witty, insightful and a damn fine knitter. However, her response to the ravelympics vs. Olympics dramalama left me fuming.

I agree with her on most points, and respect the points I don’t necessarily agree with. I recognize the reason and the rationality of her thoughts. I think the tone is a little patronizing (the deep breaths were pretty unneccessary), but whatever. So what on earth could I be pissed about? It took me the whole drive home from work to figure out what it was: she missed the point.

Why are we so very angry at the USOC? It really boils down to this paragraph:

“We believe using the name “Ravelympics” for a competition that involves an afhan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games. In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work.”

I don’t think any knitter truly believes that the USOC or athletes are offended or feel disrespected by our knitting or even our event. I also don't believe that knitters think that Ravelympics is equal to the Olympics in prestige. What I do think is that this paragraph expresses what many ravelers perceive non-knitters think about how we spend our time. (Note that I say ravelers and not knitters. I'm talking about the people who spend a good deal of time on the internet, in an online community about fiber arts.) From the chuckles, head shakes and little quips and jokes of our significant others/friends/family, to the total inability of non-knitters to understand what it is we do on Ravelry, to our own insecurities that people look at the time and passion we put into a knitting website and think we are being silly, many ravelers are convinced the outside world thinks our doings on Ravelry are a waste of time, or at the very least not a worthwhile endeavor.

It’s never nice to have something really meaningful to you, something you are passionate about and spend quite a bit of time and energy on treated like a “silly little hobby.” Within Ravelry, we don’t have to defend our choices. We don’t have to explain how it’s “not just a website.” We don’t have to spell out what a KAL is, why we participate and what it means to us to be part of a community (online). We don’t have to pretend that we care less than we really do. It is a safe place, a haven. We don't have to defend the joy and meaning we get out of an online knitting community. Sometimes, though, we have to interact with non-knitters and/or non-ravelers. It is then that stereotypes of crafting, “women’s activities,” knitting, social networks, online forums and online communities chip away at our confidence in the worthiness of the time and energy we spend on Ravelry. And this is where the USOC form-letter C&D comes in.

The paragraph above can be translated to read: “Look, the Olympics is a serious event filled with serious athletes. Your little game is silly and probably fun, but absolutely not serious. In fact, it is so silly, that you are essentially mocking the serious Olympics. The time and energy the athletes put in to the Olympics is important. The time and energy you put into Ravelympics is not.” Regardless of whether or not the Olympics actually are more serious than Ravelympics, what the USOC is saying is exactly what we perceive the rest of the world to be saying (and what we may have internalized): the way you spend your time, energy and passion is silly and unimportant; there are better things to do with your time and energy; grow up.

The USOC gave us an opportunity to tell the world “NO. This is NOT OK. You need to understand that Ravelry and what we do there is important to us. It is worthwhile and meaningful in our lives, and not to be insulted or put down.” The USOC provided a platform. It provided a legitimate, public and non-knitting forum for us to band together (strength in numbers) and face our insecurities to attempt to redefine how non-knitters see us. It is not about the USOC; it is a defense of our priorities.

So Yarn Harlot, in providing the reasonable response and telling us that we've gone batshit crazy and to take deep breaths, has essentially told us that our response to is childish and silly. At least, that’s the way she portrays us, and that’s the way she talks to us. It takes a special kind of arrogance to treat us and our insecurities that way; one usually reserved for 1950s husbands and head cheerleaders. She has patted us on the head and told us "ok, you've had your tantrum, now see reason." In doing so, she has shamed us and made us feel like silly children (in a similar way that we perceive non-knitters to treat us), and has essentially become part of the problem by enforcing our insecurities.

Yarn Harlot, in attempting to get us to put down our pitchforks, you have essentially told us to sit down, be quiet, go back to our safe place and to leave interactions with the outside world to the adults. I don't think that this is at all what you intended, but it kind of smarts.

I realized this morning that there has been another time that I have felt similarly, and actually the "finally a level-headed response!" or "finally the voice of reason" adorations in comments and tweets about Yarn Harlot's blog post are making me feel this much more than the post itself: Has this ever happened to you? Your boyfriend/husband (or girlfriend/wife, but I've read studies that men are far more likely to treat women this way than vice versa) does something to upset you. You get upset, and you voice that you are angry. You get the response of "you're really acting irrational right now" or "you're being overly sensitive" or some other awesome sentence that essentially says that your feelings are not legitimate, but are just a symptom of being a typical, irrational, overly-sensitive, hysterical *gasp* WOMAN. THAT'S how I feel.

Regardless, saying or implying that people who have been expressing their hurt/angry feelings are being irrational, crazy or hysterical is not keeping it classy. (and again, this has way more to do with the comments on Yarn Harlot's post than her post, although there is a bit of that in there as well)

Apology. Look it up.

So, the USOC has issued an "apology" - read it here - for The Letter. Not exactly what I'd call a big fucking apology. More of an "oooh, sorry you're upset honey, would it make you feel better to knit me something?"

My favorite part:

"To show our support of the Ravelry community, we would welcome any handmade items that you would like to create to travel with, and motivate, our team at the 2012 Games."

You support us by allowing us to create and send you handmade items?! Your apology and show of support consists of ASKING FOR FREE SHIT?! Are you fucking high?!

My second favorite part: the claim that the C&D is "standard-form." Either they are lying (which makes the most sense to me, given that the rather specific details regarding Ravelympics and the rather specific insult of us denigrating the games and disrespecting the athletes) which makes them patronizing, lying piles of shit, or they are telling the truth, and are actually that arrogant and stupid to use such an incredibly poorly-worded and offensive "standard-form C&D." I'm not really sure which is worse.

Third favorite part: "We embrace hand-crafted American goods..." which equates to "We don't hate knitters, seriously, some of our best friends are crafters!"

Needless to say, I'm still waiting for my big fucking apology. Boycott continues.

Jun 20, 2012

You done pissed off the knitters

If you have not heard, the US Olympic Committee thinks knitters (or at least those participating in Ravelympics) are scum. Here is my response (ok, my initial response was to fly off the handle on twitter, but this is my measured response):

Dear US Olympic Committee

I am a knitter. I am a participant and team captain in Ravelympics. I am also a huge fan of the Olympics. I look forward to both the Summer and Winter Games with eager anticipation, and I watch as much of the games as I possibly can (and nowadays DVR the parts I can’t, to be enjoyed later). I cry at the opening and closing ceremonies, not to mention countless medal ceremonies in between. I scare the bejeezus out of my cats by jumping up and down and cheering athletes on rather loudly. Safe to say, I love the Olympics and what it stands for. Your recent cease and desist letter to Ravelry makes me question your love for these games though.

I’ll be honest, I have been questioning your commitment to the principles and ideals of the games for a while now. Every time I see a McDonald’s or Coke commercial showing athletes eating and drinking the shit that is directly linked to our national obesity crisis, I have to question whether perhaps you as a committee supporting our athletes care more about the money than about the message you are sending. Still, it wasn’t until this C&D letter that I realized that my suspicions were true.

Beyond the point that 1. Ravelympics does not attempt to compete with the Olympics and 2. Ravelympics does not seek to profit from the Olympics, there is this:

“We believe using the name “Ravelympics” for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games. In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work.”

Let me back up.

I knit whenever I watch TV, from football games to movies to Judge Judy reruns. I cannot just sit and watch TV. So I will be knitting to the Olympics no matter what. As far as I can tell, simply watching and cheering on the athletes, while I knit, is pretty damned respectful, not to mention appreciative of their work. I certainly don’t need to be sitting on my hands to respect their work and achievements. Ravelympics, in case you weren’t aware (which you clearly are not), was set up by knitters for knitters to take up the gauntlet thrown down by our athletes. I don’t run, swim, cycle, jump, hurdle or ride. I knit. Knitting is my passion and my craft. So when I see someone giving it their all, training, learning, pushing themselves, challenging themselves, I feel pretty damned inspired to do the same. But instead of going out and killing myself trying to run a marathon, I learn a new technique, I push myself to finish a languishing project, I knit a fucking sweater. And I do it while watching the Olympics. I do it with thousands upon thousands of other knitters, who are also challenging themselves in the Olympic spirit. I team together with knitters from other walks of life, other countries, other skill levels, and other life experiences. I learn from them as they learn from me, and together, we accomplish our individual and group goals, while congratulating each other on our respective country’s accomplishments in the Olympic Games and sharing the experience of watching, supporting and celebrating this international event.

What exactly is it about this that is disrespectful to the athletes and/or denigrates the Games? Seriously, I would like an answer to that question. The way I and all the other knitters see it, we are doing nothing but celebrating the Games, the athletes, and the spirit behind it all. Another question: how is sitting on the couch, gorging yourself with the poison from McDonald’s and Coca Cola elevating the Games and respecting the athletes? At the very least, that is the message you are sending.

So now that you have caused me to lose faith not only in the US Olympic Committee, but in the country as well, here is what I am going to do:

1.     Watch the Olympic Games on Canadian TV (I am blessed to be able to do this, living where I do)
2.     Cheer for Germany. As a dual-citizen, I get to pick either or both, and right now, I’m picking the country that doesn’t disrespect my craft and the heritage and history behind it
3.     Boycott all of your sponsors.
4.     Knit my damn heart out during the Olympics.

So what are you going to do? The copyright crap aside (how petty can you really be?), you owe all knitters and crocheters out there a pretty fucking huge apology. It’s one thing to send a C&D letter, a whole other thing to be mean, disrespectful and, well, douchey to an entire subgroup of crafters. The apology might not be enough.



Jun 10, 2012

the garden scores again

I found a big ol' lavender bush in my garden! I love how this place doesn't cease to offer up delightful surprises :)

I was too lazy to find a better place to hang it, so it's hanging off the knob on the lid of my sock yarn leftovers jar. Also too lazy to get out the real camera. I'm sensing a trend.... must be time to get my drink on at Sandhill Cranes Winery!

Jun 7, 2012

the one where knitters win the war

In attempt to not be extremely crabby when I get to work after my long commute, I have employed two strategies: 1. My ginormous Biggby coffee mug and 2. listening to knitting podcasts. I feel like I may be the last person in the world to jump on the podcast bandwagon, but I’m used to that feeling. I was late to the Harry Potter party, late to the Buffy bash, late to the wollmeise wooly love fest, late to just about anything that I am totally obsessed with. Clearly, I could never be a hipster, as can only ever say “oh, I was a fan after ___ got popular.” Side note: hipsters seem to pride themselves on being too hip to follow the sheep-like crowds (they are “independent thinkers”), and yet are awfully conformist within their own “non-conformist” group. Sorry hipsters, but anytime you have a group that all wears the same clothes, likes the same music, reads the same literature, etc., you have a flock of sheep (and since when was it bad to be sheep? sheep are awesome! they’re cute and they give us wool!). So don’t pretend you’re all authentic, non-mainstream and above the masses, for you resemble Gleeks more than you do Jack Kerouac.

Anyway, where was I before my rambling about hipsters…? Ah yes, podcasts! I was a little skeptical about knitting podcasts, since there is a rather pronounced visual element to knitting (not to mention tactile importance).  Sometimes not being able to see what is going on is a little frustrating, but I have fallen in love with several podcasts nonetheless!

I’ve been listening to the Knitmore Girls, which is thoroughly charming (and having a German mother myself makes it that much more endearing), CaithnessCraftCollective, which is getting me all amped up about our upcoming family trip to Scotland, and the Savvy Girls Podcast, which often has me in hysterical laughter. When I heard Melanie of the latter talk about her knitting CD, I just had to look it up on iTunes. It is amazing! The songs are all WWI-era songs about knitting for the war effort. Some are sweet, some are a little sad, and some are downright hilarious (in particular the one about the husband whose pants keep falling down because his wife/daughter are too busy knitting for soldiers to sew a button back on!). Melanie has talked about the research that went into this collection, by herself and others, which just makes me even more smitten with this album. I work in the archives field, so it is really rewarding to see someone use materials from archives for something SO FUCKING COOL (sorry genealogists, your work is interesting and all, but a CD of wartime knitting songs is an infinitely more marvelous use of archival research).

So go listen to the podcasts above (those four of you who aren’t already…), buy Melanie’s album ("Knitting All The Day" by Melanie Gall, available on iTunes!), and recommend more podcasts to me. Please. It’s a long drive, and I haven’t yet mastered knitting while driving… 

May 30, 2012

let the games begin!

For several years, I have been going to county fairs and the (now defunct) state fair, looked at all the pretty knitted stuff and the ribbons, and faithfully promised that next year I will enter something! For several years, I have failed/forgotten to do so. This year, I’m more on top of things. Not totally on top, just more. I have actually been thinking a lot since the start of the year about what I might enter. Socks, obviously, but which patterns/yarn specifically. I never came up with anything, but at least it was on my mind, right?

Well, I finally looked up what all needs to happen to enter this past weekend (and a good thing I did, as one of the deadlines is this week! Told you I wasn’t totally on top of things…), and started making a plan. I am entering into three different county fairs (my own county doesn’t have one, because it is lame, so I’m going with the three surrounding counties), and two (possibly three) community fairs. For several of them I should be able to enter the same things. Unfortunately, a few of them overlap, meaning I would not get my entries back in time to send on to the next one, so I need more projects (husband, I see you shaking your head at me!). I also decided (today) that I am going to enter something into the State Fair of Texas. Once upon a time I lived there and have a love affair with their state fair (damn, I could be a rapper!), and since my own state no longer has a state fair (shakes fist at lawmakers), it seems right to go with Texas.

(the other reason I love fairs - CUTE AMINALS!)

So you may be asking why I am entering a bajillion fairs instead of just one or two. I am sure that part of it is that I plan my knitting like I order sushi: my eyes are bigger than my stomach, so I order enough to feed a family of four (and then force myself to eat it all, for leaving fallen sushi-soldiers is just plain wrong), which in this case translates into getting as excited as a four year old on 30 pixie stix and planning to do way more than I am capable of. But when it comes down to it, the answer is simple: ribbons. I want them.

I know I should be all “oh, it’s such a joy to share my knitting with other” (it is), and “I hope to inspire others” (I do), or "oh, it's so great to be a part of the community" (sure is), but really, I am a competitive bitch who loves to WIN. So I am entering in as many fairs as I can to maximize my chance of “making it rain” with ribbons. I'll let you know how it goes!

May 24, 2012

a slew of socks

I was listening to a slightly outdated episode of The SavvyGirls Podcast on my way to work where Deborah discussed how much she hates knitting socks, in particular the dreaded SSS. For those of you unfamiliar with SSS, it stands for Second Sock Syndrome and basically refers to the unwillingness many knitters feel when faced with knitting the same damn thing they just finished knitting. I am often prone to this awful affliction and end up with five sad and lonely single socks to prove it. Anyway, as Deborah was sharing her dislike of sock knitting, I (rather loudly) exclaimed “ARE YOU FUCKING NUTS?!” Keep in mind that I had had about 32 ounces of coffee at this time (side note: I lurve my new 32oz Biggby “grab it 2 go” mug! Finally an appropriately sized reusable mug!).

I just don’t understand not loving knitting socks. I mean, I can understand it not being a primary love (some people don’t mind purling, I guess, and so adore knitting lace), but to just flat out not want to do it?! Nevermind that handknit socks are so very comfy, sock yarn is soooooo pretty! And there are so very many beautiful patterns to choose from! My ravelry queue is FILLED with gorgeous sock patterns! How can a knitter not want to knit them ALL?!  

Once upon a time, I had never knitted a sock. I watched friends knitting in class (as in, grad school), working on their socks with those tiny needles, somehow not drawing blood, and I yearned to be “that knitter”. There was nothing cooler in my eye than being a sock knitter. I so wanted to do it, but was deathly afraid of those fiddly little things, especially when these ├╝bercool sock knitters casually tossed out words like “heel turn,” “gusset” and “gauge.” My dear friend/enabler pookiebb, after spending quality time taunting me with her beautiful socks (which at this point was the equivalent of swinging a t-bone in front of a starving lion), finally convinced me to grab those proverbial bull testicles. I never looked back. Clearly. 

Knitty gritty: Schaefer Yarn Company Heather in Agatha Christie
Size US 1.5
Plain stockinette with slipped stitch heel, CO 72
I have a love/hate relationship with this yarn. It’s really beautiful and feels really nice on my feet, but I hate silk (even a small amount) on my fingers when I knit. It feels like rubbing my hands on a chalkboard, and just typing that caused shivers to run up and down my spine. This is project #1 of my Agatha Christie knitting adventure.

  Knitty gritty: WM 80/20 in Madame Souris
Size US 1.5 for cuff, size US 0 for foot

I absolutely adore these socks. The stitch pattern is elegant, yet easier than husband after a few beers. Also, they fit like a glove! I may try switching to a smaller needle for the foot on future socks… These were for the I love Wollmeise KAL in the wollmeiseholics group.

Knitty Gritty: Grant Creek Yarns Glimmer in Northern Lights
Size US 1.5
Kai-Mei by Cookie A.

Sweet butter on toast, these are stunners. A gift for the fabulous Heidi (dyer of Grant Creek Yarns), these hit the trifecta of perfect sock kitting: perfect pattern, perfect yarn, perfect fit.

Rainy Days & Wooly Dogs Strychnine in Birdhouse in your soul
Size US 1.5 
Plain stockinette w/afterthought heel, CO 72
Nothing much to say here. These were in my WIP pile for a while, as during the fall the colors are too close to U of Michigan colors for me to feel comfortable working on them.

Knitty Gritty: Grant Creek Yarns Glimmer in Electric Bungalow!
Size US 1.5 for first 2/3 of leg, size 1 for the rest
Wedge by Cookie A., size XL
Remember Electric Bungalow? After trying out five different patterns and having none of them come close to showcasing the full glory of this yarn, I finally tried out Wedge. These may be the coziest socks I own. They also went FAST. This pattern is so interesting (without being mind-numbing) that you’re finished before you know it! I will probably knit it again when I have a variegated yarn I don’t know what to do with.

Knitty Gritty: Grant Creek Yarns Cushy Merino/Nylon 2-ply
Size US 1 needles
Tea and Scandal Socks by verybusymonkey
Yet another pair of socks knit in Heidi’s simply fantastic yarn. The color is incredible, as usual, and the base is really enjoyable to work with - squooshy with great stitch definition. I specifically chose this color as it looked like blood mixed with tea (the pattern being inspired by Miss Marple). This is #2 in my Agatha Christie knitting adventure. I followed the pattern exactly, and those of you with sharp eyes will perhaps figure out that there is no way even in frozen-over hell that these fit me.

I’ll save my socks still on the needles for the next post! Maybe soon I’ll be caught up! Happy knitting :) 

May 22, 2012

I’m Baaaaack

Ah, the unscheduled blog hiatus. It happens to everyone (right?). Some time-munching event comes along that keeps you from writing for a bit of time, and then that bit of time turns into a chunk because jumping back in becomes more and more difficult as each day goes by. All of a sudden, you have 40 projects to discuss, and it just becomes so much more preferable to loaf on the couch, watching CSI reruns and knitting (or surfing rav) than dealing with updating that damn blog.

What was my time-munching event, you ask? We bought a house! Then we moved into said house! Then we unpacked (mostly)! Then there was a garden to deal with! I could keep going, but you get the picture. Husband and I are so happy in our new home. We have a lot of space, which is a huge improvement, as my stash was threatening to take over our old two-bedroom condo. Now, my stash has it’s own room, and it’s a big one! In fact, the bigness of the room has the effect of making my stash look teeny tiny:

 It’s like a child in her mom’s clothing - either she has to grow, or the clothes need to shrink. Since I can’t shrink the room… you know where I’m going with this.

The other big change is that we now have a yard - a big one. We have close to four acres, which is a lot more work than our previous zero acres. The previous owners worked their asses off landscaping and tending to the yard. We did our house shopping in the winter, so we only really saw the tip of the iceberg when it came to the beauty of the property. Once spring showed up, it was like weekly fireworks in the form of perennials and trees blooming. Check it out:

Even though the continuous weeding is slowly driving me to the brink of insanity, I am really excited to have a yard, a wooded area, many large flowerbeds and a big ol’ vegetable garden.  At the very least, sitting outside in the morning with my coffee and knitting to the sounds of songbirds and smells of “the country” is absolutely glorious.

I’ll get back on track with reporting on knitting, yarn, patterns and all that in the next post! 

Feb 19, 2012

My precioussssssss....

We're moving into our new house this week. I'm pretty fucking excited, but not about moving. I mean, I'm extremely excited about the house, leaving this place, and having much much much more space (as well as a yard, basement, garden, etc.), but the actual process of moving? Fuck that. I should actually be packing right this second, but am instead finding a convenient excuse - finally updating this blog - to avoid the piles of boxes filling up the room.

Husband decided that he is too old to lift heavy furniture and has hired movers (he isn't too old, he just doesn't want to do it, but I'm not about to argue with him, as it also gets me out of lifting heavy furniture). Of course, we'll be transporting some things ourselves - big framed art, fragile decorations and yarn. Yes, yarn. Unlike the other objects we'll be driving over in our cars, yarn isn't exactly fragile. It could probably be considered the direct opposite of fragile. I mean, it's squishy and soft. My garlic press is more fragile. While expensive (when considered as a whole), it's not exactly on a thief's top ten list of desirable items. It certainly is valuable to me, but I can't honestly say that I don't trust the movers to successfully move my yarn across town. It boils down to a question of access. I don't want to not have access to my yarn for even ONE DAY. If the urge strikes, I want to be able to fondle and caress the yarn without having to wait for burly men to unload it off a truck. I don't want to wonder where bin #4 ended up (the basement). I don't want to have to wait to start a moving-day project. And yes, I want to be the one to carry the yarn over the threshold of it's new home.

I guess I should get back to packing. sigh.

Feb 3, 2012

single sock roundup

The biggest problem with having too many projects on the needles is that you just stop feeling like you're making any progress. I knit at least a little bit every day, and often times for the better part of the day on weekends. I knit in the car when husband is driving, and I always have something in my purse to work so that I don't get stuck having to pay attention to FoxNews in the doctor's waiting room. I am not a slacker in the knitting department, and yet I feel like I have very little to show for the last few weeks.

What I do have to show is sad, lonely single socks. Socks that are desperately waiting for their mate to check the "yes" box underneath the question "do you like-like me?" Socks that run from one side of the school to the other just on the off chance they might glance their intended other as they glide into 4rd period math. If you look at these socks' yearbooks, there are red hearts drawn all around their love's photo (and of course devil horns, tail and vampire teeth sharpied over that stuck-up bitch cashmere cables knee-sock who thinks she can do anything she wants because she's just soooo popular). These socks are hormonal, obsessive, borderline-pathetic junior high girls. They need dates. Now.

No, I wasn't drunk when I took that middle photograph - it's Heidi's surprise sock. It's pretty guessable what pattern it is, but I still want the finished look of it to be a surprise! Also, in case you are wondering why I have a yak in my living room (as a dear friend did), I don't. It's a GORGEOUS sheep pelt I bought at the Winter Wine & Wool fest at Sandhill Crane Vineyards (where I also bought some yarn, naturally, as well as several bottles of wine). It is from Bridosha Farm, and I cannot begin to tell you how deliciously soft and cozy it is.

Anyway, there you have it, mismatched socks. It doesn't help that I cast on yet another project this week - Odin. I have one sleeve done, and am half-way through the second.

It's an Icelandic Lopapeysa sweater, knit with Istex Alafoss Lopi (also Icelandic). I should mention here that the aforementioned sheep pelt is an Icelandic sheep. Well, was an Icelandic sheep. I'm having a little bit of a love-affair with that beautiful island in the North Atlantic. This is partly inspired by Franklin Habit's blog posts about his trip to Iceland (in particular this one), but more so by my own impending trip to the land of fire and ice. My mother and I, official planners of the family vacation, after much civilized discussion (read: screaming and hair-pulling), have decided that this year we will trek off to Iceland and Scotland. I'm fucking stoked - I love vacations that include a suitcase dedicated to souvenir yarn!

I cast on the Odin sweater to get in the mood, and it is working! I cannot wait to explore the knitting-related awesomesauce that exists in Iceland. I've been studying the Knitting Iceland tours like a crazy stalker and am having daily excitementgasms just thinking of all the fibery fun I'll be having!

Now, if I can figure out how to knit whilst soaking in the blue lagoon, I'll have reached true nirvana.

Jan 20, 2012

five + eleventy billion

At the beginning of the year, I was a woman with a plan. I called my plan "five + one," and the crux of the plan was that I would only have five projects on the needles at a time, with an optional "plus one" project for KALs or gifts or other such time-sensitive projects that might come up. I even set it all up on a white board - a list of projects on the needles, and next to that a list of the next projects in my queue. How could I fail? I mean, it's on a white board! And we all know that a white board makes it official, right?

Well, here we are, three weeks into the year, and it seems that my foolproof plan didn't take into account what a special kind of fool I am. My official five + one projects are:

1. Secret socks for Heidi
2. Agatha Christie plain vanilla socks
3. Gentleman's lozenge socks
4. arabella shawl (been OTN forever)
5. Glasier socks
+1: advent shawl

The secret, unofficial, if-they're-not-on-my-rav-project-page-then-they-don't-exist projects: a featherweight cardigan in wollmeise 100% and a felicity hat in some gorgeous handspun I picked up at the Ann Arbor Fiber Festival (from Wonder Why Alpaca Farm). It's a minor miracle that I don't have several others on the needles, and I can't guarantee that there won't be a few more in the works by the end of the weekend.

I've decided not to fight this acute case of startitis, but rather to just embrace it. I started the year waging war on two different knitting-related issues: project polygamy (casting on too many new projects when I have projects on the needles pining away for my attention) and buying more yarn than I have room to store.  I'm starting to realize that I just don't have the weaponry to fight both at the same time. In fact, I am starting to think that startitis may actually help me deal with my inability to walk away from beautiful yarn just sitting there with puppy-dog eyes, begging me to bring it home. The feelings associated with casting on a new project are rather similar to those of purchasing pretty yarn - basically a sense of "OOOOOH! SO SHINY AND NEW! EXCITING!" So basically I am getting my fix by casting on shit tons of new projects.

If this theory holds, my bank account should be beefier by year's end. Unfortunately, it also means I will be swimming in WIPs, and I'll probably have to buy more needles...

Jan 8, 2012

Let's Twist Again!

The tip of my ring finger on my right hand is tingly and numb, and do you know what that means? I'm working on a twisted stitch pattern! I am a tight knitter as is, but when I am dealing with twisted stitch patterns, my death grip goes up a notch into death-by-shark grip. As a result, the right needles is pressed so hard into my ring finger that the tip starts to lose feeling, and the line embedded in my left index finger from the working yarn takes on the appearance of the Grand Canyon.

I cannot say for certain whether or not all of this should be cause for concern. What I can say for certain, is that the resultant knitted object is gorgeous!

Jan 6, 2012


Last post I wrote a little about some of the gifts I knitted for others (well, ok, one gift), but failed to discuss the veritable bounty I received! There was non-knitting-related stuff, like the complete DVD set of The West Wing (I am still in awe of the brilliance of that show), but that's not what y'all are here for, eh? Nah, y'all want to see the good stuff, the knitterly swag:

Yeah, that's a pile of signature needles sitting on the books! These mark my very first signatures - circulars in US 3, 5 and 6 from husband, and a set of DPNS in 2.5mm from my mother-in-law! I've used both the DPNS and the size 3 circs already, on the same project: a failed attempt to get a super-variegated yarn to pool correctly. While the project was a bust, I do love the needles. They're so light, with nice sharp tips and the cable on the circs is wonderful!

The books are self explanatory, and were both on my wishlist. I've already started a pair of socks from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks, the Gentleman's Sock in Lozenge Pattern:

And I love it (other than the shit ton of stitches on the needle due to the ridiculously small gauge...)!

The project bags are pretty awesome - the TARDIS one is from husband, made by JessaLu. I absolutely adore those little box bags. They are the perfect size for a small project and fit nicely in my purse. I have a few others from JessaLu, which are also geektastic, along with a pile of other box bags littering my knitting space. The big, gorgeous drawstring bag is something super special. First of all, this was again a gift from my mother-in-law, who does a stellar job of shopping off my wishlist, and is amazing. My online-rav-buddy (isn't it strange how the interwebs has fucked up how we define our relationships?), who is an active member of the wollmeise group and by all accounts fucking awesome, makes these bags, "all made out of pure silk fabrics woven at the local centuries-old silk weaving mills of Sudbury, England." Check out the beauties he creates. They're the Ferraris of project bags. I cannot get over how beautiful the silk is, how well crafted the bag is, and how BIG it is! It is currently my blankie of death project bag. I have my section-in-progress, the two sets of needles I use, and a big ol' pile of little balls:

And look how much space there is left! Husband is diligently winding my minis into balls to fill the bag :)

Oh, that iPhone? That is actually my birthday present from husband, and I love it soooooo much that I had to include it! I do use it for knitting - I use the stitchminder app to keep track of rows, and of course use it to surf rav...

The last thing I have to share is kind of odd, and doesn't actually count as a Christmas gift. I include it because it arrived on Christmas day, which still baffles me, as I kind of figured the USPS had off, it being a. Christmas and b. a Sunday. This last thing is perhaps the most beautiful craft book I have ever encountered:

The book has knitting and sewing patterns, as well as recipes. The patterns are broken up by season, and the photography reflects such. The layout, photos and patterns are just beautiful. The mittens on the right are the very reason I purchased the book - I love the delicate lace and that they layers preserve warmth. The only problem that I personally have with this book, and really it is a minor issue, is that it is written in Estonian. I don't speak (or even read) Estonian. Y'all must think I'm crazy for purchasing a book I can't read, but... well... I have no counterargument. I just don't care. The book is beautiful, I can figure out the patterns from the charts (and maybe a little help from google translator), and it is so much fun to flip through, so I am just going to embrace the crazy and keep an eye out for Estonian language CDs at Costco.

(If you happen to understand Estonian, or just want to look at pretty photos and pretend you know what they're about, check out the author's blog here. I really really wish I knew Estonian...)