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November 07, 2008
Twitter broke my blog. Spending my days typing light little ditties of 140 characters or less has brought on a massive case of the lazy. I don't want to think, don't want to write. I just want to make my noise all day. In wee little blurbs, leaving pictures of rutabagas at the top of my blog for whole weeks. Can I even muster up the energy to craft one of my trademark ridiculously run-on sentences anymore? Dunno. Srsly. @somebody.
So: this week. Of course we spent Tuesday glued to the tee vee like the rest of the free world. Drinking beers, hoping, hoping, then rejoicing. The trouncing of South Dakota's proposed abortion ban is a victory for all who believe that women's health doesn't belong in derisive air quotes. My heart does hurt for all the people who had their constitutional rights stomped on by a bigoted majority (isn't the state supposed to protect people from this?), but I have hope. Bigots will all die off someday. And, Mormon church: go fuck yourself.
I've started a new routine of spending every weekday morning working in the studio even if I'm working on something that I could just as easily do at home. It probably goes without saying that I get a lot more work done when I can't check the blogs and the twitter and the facebook and the flickr and the e-mail and the goddamned games and the rest of it. Just in the last few days I finished up a pile of drum leaf journals and put them up in the shop and got a couple of copper plates ready to print. At home in the afternoons I've been working on some new drawings that I'm pretty excited about. I'll show you those tomorrow morning, maybe. We're well into the days where there's only a short window of opportunity for taking decently-lit photos in the house.
This morning I spent some time with a couple of other people fixing a broken press at the studio, and as a result pretty much the whole day the Judas Priest song "Breaking the Law" was stuck in my head, only with the words "fixing the PRESS fixing the PRESS fixing the PRESS". The mental juke box can be such a pain in the arse.
Tonight Peter told me that he'd rather listen to The Who than Judas Priest (for context: we hate The Who. And I like Judas Priest). It caused me to wonder how the two of us are even compatible. But then I pretended that my yoghurt was cum shots on my face and he responded by pretending to deep throat his banana, and I was reassured. We're clearly meant for each other. Cue romantic music and chirpy bird sounds.
I almost forgot. Here's your Soctober Surprise:
For anyone who knows me, the surprise is not that I failed to finish the Soctoberfest mystery socks. Y'all may have noticed I'm not a very good -alonger. I knit the cuffs and then decided to knit a bigger size, then took the yarn with me for Thanksgiving weekend family-visiting, but I somehow only brought three needles so I had to knit the cuffs flat and couldn't start the legs until I got back home. Ah, there's one of those excruciating sentences. Still got the touch. So the leg pattern in the sock wasn't very intuitive at first and I hate looking at charts and the Dream in Colour Smooshy yarn, while it's lovely and lives up to its name in comfy smooshiness, is a pain in the arse to cable-without-a-cable-needle, and then it all got set aside in favour of some work knitting I'm doing. Finally, the pattern clicked in my head and I was able to set aside the chart and just knit the thing just in time for October to end and for me to really have to focus on the work knitting now. So it goes on the half-socks pile for now. In the meantime, I've just been seized by an intense desire to rip out my nearly-finished Noro Kureyon knee sock and make the Ziggy socks instead. At the end of Soctoberfest. Don't even bring up Norovember, it's just not gonna happen.
Normally Little Miss Picky who can't send text messages because I'm all hung up on grammar and spelling and complete sentences, I'm not even going to proofread this. Going to watch some Trailer Park Boys instead. That's the way she goes, boys.
October 01, 2008
While I was uploading the photo I knit two more rows. That means my sock is now twice as long! Jealous?
february lady, finished
pattern: february lady sweater by pamela wynne
yarn: recycled, wool/alpaca blend, gray with bronzey undertones (the exact colour of my cat)
time to knit: 19 days (would have been more like 12 but i got bored two thirds of the way through the second sleeve).
buttons: 3 cm catalin from vintage necessities (yes, they're the same style as the ones i used on the miss henry cardigan. y'all don't even want to know how many other sizes and colours i bought these same buttons in. several sizes of just the yellow is only the start of it).
mods: none, although i'm considering making the sleeves a little longer due to the extreme drapiness of the fabric making the elbows kind of poochy. i'll decide later. nah, you know what? looking over the photos again i can already tell i'm going to lengthen them. stay tuned.
verdict: love, love, love. even with the poochy arms. once they're longer i'll love it four times.
a closeup on the buttons:
there is a reason why everyone on the planet is making this sweater right now. it's because it's awesome.
September 17, 2008
The February lady, in September sunshine. She knits up fast, this one.
July 16, 2008
one would think i would have learned this lesson by now
The Noro Kureyon sock, once again ripped back to the beginning and started again. Or rather, ripped back to the ribbing, which fit just fine, being much more stretchy than stockinette and all. I have come to the realization that I must have startlingly large calves, and that after the ribbing I will have to add far more stitches than I ever thought possible in order to cover them comfortably. I blame it on the fact that the two of them are always sneaking around behind me, never giving me a good look to see just what size they are. I think after this most recent try-on (when the sock was, I thought, ready to have its heel flap made; I know, heartbreaking isn't it?) I'll have it right. I'm almost positive.
July 12, 2008
thank you for allowing us to be ourselves
Last night we went down to the blues festival by the river and saw Richie Havens give an incredible performance with just himself on guitar, another guy on guitar (both acoustic) and a woman on cello. The night before we saw Taj Mahal, who had so much more energy and power on stage than the last time we saw him (about six years ago, across the river at Chene Park) that I went away convinced that he'd grown a foot taller since we saw him last. This was our first time attending the Windsor Bluesfest, however, and it's unlikely that we'll go back again. I'm sure this will come off sounding totally snobbish but we really just didn't dig the crowd; putting aside the total crime on the eyes of pairing golf shirts with straw cowboy hats, they just wouldn't shut the hell up while performers were on stage and, you know, I thought a blues festival crowd would be more about hearing the music and less about socializing loudly with people who are probably their coworkers that they talk to every single day. So. We'll be waiting for our chance to see Richie Havens again in some other venue where people aren't yapping in our ears.
In little old lady who spies on the neighbours* news, the next-door neighbours (the ones with the two adorable little girls who just happen to be related to a certain famous-for-being-adorable person to whom little girls are often compared) filled me in this morning on some neighbourhood drama. The nice quiet elderly couple across from us are selling their house, and apparently it's because they can no longer stand living next to two divey rental houses full of assholes. It's been a mess of people calling CAS and the police on other people out of spite and people getting up in other people's faces on their doorsteps and hooboy am I thrilled to have those jackasses tainting all of my precious front porch time now that I know that if you look at them wrong they'll invent some reason to complain to the police about you. Nobody stays in either of those houses more than five months anyway so they'll likely be gone soon, but still. Again, I feel like I come off as a classist bitch for complaining because I was a penniless renter for more than a decade and now that we're homeowners we resent having those two rental houses within our porchsitting line of sight, but really. All I want is neighbours who aren't jerks.
In knitting news, I had to unravel the Noro sock and start again after finally admitting to myself that it was going to be too tight (okay, after putting it on waste yarn again and not being able to get it on my leg). I'd done this last Saturday as well and my friends tried to convince me it was too tight. I of course said that the firmness of the sock would help it stay up and that as long as there wasn't a giant pooch of knee fat folding over the top then the sock must be perfect. I quickly made and washed and measured a swatch and then soldiered on in my foolish endeavour.
My friends, being the best kind of friends, could see I was still in denial and didn't push me but instead sat back in silence in order to allow me to progress at my own pace to the learning-from-my-own-stupid-mistakes stage of sock knitting.
And so here's my sock now, a couple of inches shorter (and about an inch wider) than it was when we last saw it in a Michigan highway rest stop:
My knee fat is breathing a sigh of relief just looking at it.
*by this, of course, I mean me.
July 07, 2008
well, hello there.
For those who only come here for the hot sticks-on-string action who may be about to quit me for lack of a fix, here's proof I do still partake occasionally:
Half a Noro Kureyon knee sock, the product of a lazy Saturday spent with good friends and a few hours of car travel on Sunday. This Noro sock yarn is the last yarn I bought, pre-ordered in early December and delivered to me in February. I didn't ever get around to writing about it in much depth here, but I decided to knit from stash in 2008 and not buy any yarn or spinning fibre at all this year. It's been rather easy, as I've had to take a lot of time off to rest my wrist and recover from the damage I inflicted on myself in the frenzy that was the end of grad school. I think I'm ready to dive back in though. My stash isn't all that extensive compared to some people's and I got rid of a lot before moving back from school, but I've still got more than enough to keep the ol' RSI busy. I haven't attached a bunch of complex conditions or exemptions to my knit-from-stash guideline, I'm just not buying yarn, period. Yesterday I bought a secondhand sweater to unravel (if you ever find yourself in Arlington Heights, Illinois, there's a pretty good Goodwill there) but even that was the first time all year I've done so.
Speaking of the end of grad school, we arrived home from a 4th-of-July trip to visit friends in Illinois to find this in the mailbox:
Here's something funny and frightening that we saw on the weekend, at the Naperville Ribfest. This advertising image is not what it appears to be at first glance:
Do you see it?
Also, I don't know what the "exchange club" is but somehow I always thought exchange club was more about spouses than kids, and that it didn't really get going until after the kids were in bed.
April 11, 2008
great lakes basin baby
Thanks, everybody, for all of the kind words about my work. It's been a week of decompressing as best I can in amongst teaching class, cobbling together a first draft of a thesis, getting the studio ready to move into the new School of Art building and a day of events with a candidate for the position we're hiring in printmaking. Peter and I are off to Savannah GA this weekend and I don't plan to think about work or school for a single second. I'm going to be too busy walking around gaping like a tourist at mossy trees, fusty old graves and ALL the WATER because in all of my thirty-six years I have never, ever seen an ocean. Seriously.
Last night I wrote to Cari that it certainly won't be like any ocean experience I could have back home in Canada. And then I dreamed about Newfoundland (to which I've obviously never been, it being quite difficult to avoid ocean there); at least I think it was Newfoundland, the waves were rough and cold and I was standing on rock. Fortunately for me there were no hordes of capelin beaching themselves at my feet (something I heard about on CBC radio once and became convinced was unavoidable if one found oneself on the shore in Newfoundland). That would have been a nightmare.
Speaking of nightmares: I had a real doozy the other afternoon, napping after having fallen asleep working on my thesis. It wasn't scary, just horrible, involving a terrible person torturing a calf that I had befriended, and although it was actually kind of dumb in retrospect (leading up to the final horrible scene there was even a swell of melodramatic music that somehow reminded me of Michael Landon's wobbly chin whenever he cried) it had me sobbing out loud as I left the bed, throwing myself into Peter's lap and weeping, "that fucking asshole! that fucking asshole!" (about the guy who did evil deeds to my calf). Clearly I need a vacation, and BAD.
I finally posted photos of the graduation dress, which actually has printing on it although you couldn't really tell in the modelled photos. You can see it here, on the thesis blog. Because I know that most of y'all care more about the knitty stuff than the other, here's the wrap:
It's woodblock-printed Tokuatsu (a machine made paper of pure kozo fibre), cut into strips, spun on a wheel (thanks, Darilee, for the loaner) and knit on 6.5mm needles, six rows of garter and one row of drop stitch with a triple wraparound. I was afraid to wash it before the show and have it not dry in time, but I expect it'll soften up a lot when I do get around to wetting it. As it is, it's actually remarkably warm (although some of that warmth doubtless came from the thousand or so people who crammed into our opening).
Okay, leaving for Savannah in minutes and I'm not packed. Story of my life.
April 04, 2008
georgia museum of art. tonight, y'all.
Having the show installed has certainly not meant much of a break in activity for me. The very next day after that was done, it was off to Richmond, VA for the Southern Graphics Council conference. It was fun but I'm a little too tired and too behind in my work to talk about it now; you can see a set of photos here, but it's mostly stuff from around Richmond rather than actual conference stuff. I did a bit of stealthy sweater idea research at the registration desk:
I loved this sweater-vest-tunic; it looks like it would be easy to make something similar by just adapting the length of Grumperina's Picovoli pattern, with perhaps slightly less curvy waist shaping and an a-line to the hem. I'm going to make myself finish one thing in the pile first (Alice/Bridie, Straight Outta Brompton, or the half-finished skirt I haven't even shown y'all yet) and then start on this for summer.
One of the major highlights was on Thursday night, when Mildred walked up to me at one of the gallery openings and said, "hi, Jodi, I read your blog". I asked, which blog? and she said, both! I was beyond excited to find another crossover between my knitting and my printmaking worlds. Later in the week we remembered to take the obligatory photographic proof for the blog:
What I've been working on since I got back:
Spinning prints, knitting a little wrap to wear to tonight's opening reception. TONIGHT'S! Opening reception! Can you believe it? After tonight, it's really going to feel like my time here is over (except for the one more month of work part, but the light at the end of the tunnel is so brignt now that it'll fly by like nothing). So, for anyone remotely close to Athens GA, y'all should come on over to the Georgia Museum of Art tonight at seven. We've got the best caterer in town, and the best MFA show in years. I just have to hem my dress, put a button on my little wrap and get a haircut and I am ready to graduate.
Also at SGC (my mind's all over the place today, can you tell?) I had a chance to hang out a bit with one of our new incoming grads for next fall, Janie Askew. This is the worst part about graduating and going home: seeing these talented and fun new grads coming in that I won't be here to work with (and seeing the School of Art move into a brand new facility whose construction has hung over our heads since we got here and we're leaving just at the right time not to get to enjoy it). I'm trading a print to Janey for this awesome drawing:
March 13, 2008
a better photo of miss henry
March 12, 2008
meet miss henry
started early January, 2008, completed March 6, 2008
mods: none, except to make it small enough to fit more snugly than the pattern calls for.
yarn: a sturdy and super-soft wool/acrylic/alpaca, recycled from a secondhand sweater (the full front of that sweater is left over, not yet unravelled).
verdict: LOVE IT. You can see from the photo that it could have been a little larger after all, but I'm not worried because I know that recycled wool relaxes a little bit with wear. I especially love the garter stitch collar, so much that now I wish all of my sweaters had garter stitch collars.
It was tough for me to control my usual desire for high contrast, but these vintage catalin buttons are absolutely perfect:
Wanna know who my button pusher is? Sure you do.
March 10, 2008
that kind of day
The first day that Peter leaves here always feels like a write-off even if it's actually semi-productive. I see him off in the morning and immediately head to the studio to try to overcome the empty feeling by forcing myself to work. And I did do quite a bit of work, printing a layer onto six dresses and eighteen prints, but I've got my system down so well by now that this is less than two hours of work, after which I was back at home on the couch, watching Sopranos, knitting, feeling empty. I managed not to totally fall apart and eat popcorn for supper (like last time), but I felt like I could have gotten more out of my day.
This is the last such day I can have for a while, because my installation has to be delivered to the museum on the 24th (yeah, so the other day when I said I had 24 days? I was in denial, it was really only 21 days. Don't talk to me about it). The list of things yet to be done is actually not that daunting, I just need to have good time management. Here's the list:
-finish two large prints (really only an hour or two of work, tops, just a few more layers of solid colour for the most part)
-print a map legend (letterpress);for this I still need to get downtown and buy paper and carve a couple of little lino blocks (or make photopolymer plates if I can remember how to use the platemaker)
-silkscreen 20 tags, then fill them out (with typewriter and date stamp)
-clean out cabinets, sand, paint
-build a little table for the cabinets to rest on (not as big a project as it sounds)(still need to pick up materials)
-assemble hanging system for prints (need to buy pvc pipe, dowel)(can't finish this until book cloth order comes in)
-make 20 books (again, not as big a job as it sounds, probably two full days work)(need to buy paper for this too)
-and of course continue to print, wear and document dresses until the last day, March 23 (last day before delivery of work)
I also have to make one more new dress, which will be a transitional garment that I'll wear for a week, starting on the day I deliver my work to the museum. I think that's everything, though. For those of you who know how this installation is coming together, if you think of anything I've forgotten, please don't bother to remind me. I can assure you I'll think of it at 4 in the morning and it'll be enough to keep me awake until the alarm goes off, but for now I'd like to believe that this is all of it.
I did manage to get Miss Henry blocked today, a mere three (maybe four) days after finishing all of the knitting. I've all but given up trying to get a decent photo of the colour.
I'm now trying to avert my eyes when I walk past the blocking towel in the middle of the floor, ignoring how small she looks while I use all of my mental powers to will her to fit. I wanted the fit to be trim and close, less blowsy than the pattern photo, but now that she's laid out there the old fear is upon me, that my belly will be hanging out of the thing in an unsightly manner. We shall see. For now I'm pretending to have faith in my mental powers, and if those fail, well, it's not like I ever button a sweater over my gut anyway.
I also finished the back of Alice, who has been enjoying a turn out of the cupboard now that every other sweater I'm working on is too big to carry around in my satchel. I'm well on the way to having one of the fronts finished as well; a few more episodes of Sopranos ought to take care of that.
March 03, 2008
That's how many days left until I go home. And on the 70th day, I'm going to Green Island Centre (corner of Wyandotte and Louis, if you're ever in Windsor, and highly recommended) and having a grape leaf sandwich for lunch. I may even have two.
Days until my installation has to be delivered to the Museum? Twenty-four. Let's not discuss that again, hmm?
In knitty news, Miss Henry (Ariann) is so close to completion I can taste it. I've just started on the collar, which is a four-inch garter stitch walk in the park, and have only about four ends to weave in (oh, spit splice, how I adore thee). Even though yesterday afternoon was t-shirt weather here in Georgia, there was still frost on the grass when I first went out in the morning, and tomorrow it's supposed to rain all day long (100% chance, they're saying, which hardly makes one want to bother getting out of bed), so I have confidence that I'll still have a few cool mornings on which to wear her after she's blocked and be-buttoned. And once I've triumphantly shown her off, I'll finally get around to writing about stash, and the busting thereof.
Speaking of busting stash: one of the nicest things that yarny friends can do for you when you're on a self-imposed full halt in stash enhancement is send you yarn in the mail. Just before our departure to Baltimore a box full of awesome arrived in the mail from Stacie:
Not only did Stacie send me some lovely handspun yarns, there's also fancy little dish (which I'd pretty much already filled up with safety pins before I'd gotten it all the way out of the box) and two hand bound books: a gorgeous limp vellum (a binding I love but have never tried myself), and another soft binding whose name I can't remember but which is totally cool, with two paper cover pieces that weave through each other. I joked to her that I finally understood how those people felt, the ones who would look at my blank bookbindings and say "oh, they're so lovely, I'd be afraid to write in them" (to which I would reply that I used mine for grocery lists, and frequently tore pages from them), because I don't think I've ever had a book bound by someone else before. But don't worry. They're lovely, and I'm not afraid to write in them.
As I was about to get on a plane and my near-finished sweater was too cumbersome to knit on the go, I immediately cast on for a top-down raglan using one of Stacie's yarns for a contrastey yoke against a dark gray alpaca/wool/acrylic blend (how well do you guys know me by now? of course it's recycled). I cast on too many stitches for the neck ribbing and will have to remove and reknit that later, but here's how much I managed to finish during travel time over the weekend (in between bouts of filming and rehearsing at Jacey's I worked on Miss Henry instead, because monogamy is for boring people).
Since returning home I've put this aside on waste yarn in order to pick up Straight Outta Brompton again (as they're forced to share a circular needle); this sweater's going to be lovely but two gray projects on the go is a bit of a downer, and SOB's Georgia-dirt-red is much more appropriate for the current Project Spectrum fire theme (at least, I hope it's still fire theme; I had a dream that Lolly blogged how excited she was that the theme was about to change from "fire" to "pink", and I freaked out that I wasn't ready for pink) (and then when I went looking for links I saw that pink is included as a fire colour anyway). (Yes, I'm a big enough stressball that I dream about stuff like that, but isn't that better than lying awake at 4:00 a.m., heart racing, worrying about my thesis? Yeah, I thought so).
February 10, 2008
let it slide, yo *
I took yesterday off from working in the studio, but of course my idea of a "day off" isn't really a day OFF, but a day to do things like laundry, drawing, binding books and updating ye olde etsy shop. I didn't tell y'all about the big shop update right away because I don't want this to become one of those blogs where stuff is shilled constantly, and also I wanted to show some knitting first but by the time I'd finished with the shop and then got the knitting to the point at which I wanted to show it, the light for taking photographs wasn't good anymore. So.
Miss Henry now has her sleeves attached and we're in the home stretch, just the yoke and collar to go. This is the point at which I look hard at a sweater and then use all of my mental powers to will it to fit me. But I think it's just the little 3/4 sleeves that make it look so small, and I'm confident that it is, indeed, going to fit me.
It's already warming up enough in the afternoons that I wouldn't be able to wear this a lot, but the mornings are still just above freezing. I think I'm going to have this finished in time to take advantage of those cool mornings before they're gone. Then when I get back to Canada in May it'll be early spring again, two back-to-back lace sweater seasons!
So, here's a peek at what's new in the store. I promise that I am going to keep the update posts to no more than twice a month, which is how often I'm hoping to make a large-ish upload of new things in the shop. And I've got something totally new and exciting planned for next time, so it won't be just all the same stuff! But for now, more blotter notebooks, in lots of new cover designs:
and a few of my special books, the ones I use for my sketchbook project:
*can you guess what vintage CanCon I was listening to in the print shop this morning? I'll give you a hint: it's a showdown. And quite possibly also a throwdown.
January 29, 2008
i said i'd love you forever, but i never promised i'd be true
When last we visited our intrepid heroine, she was pledging her undying love to Miss Henry and settling in for a cozy afternoon with her newfound passion. Well, turns out she's a faithless bitch, and that very afternoon, mere hours after waxing poetic right here on this very weblog about her hot and heavy new sweater romance, she'd already thrown poor Miss Henry aside for another.
Meet Straight Outta Brompton, the backstreet girl our knitter couldn't resist.
What can I say, I've always been a sucker for a beautiful pair of wrists.
(by the way, how can anyone stand to actually compose an entire weblog in the third person? Ugh. How embarrassingly pompous.)
Miss Henry still gets my knitty heart fluttering though, and is now long enough to wrap her soft wooliness around my armpits. And also my elbow. She's still my preferred bus knitting at the moment. I've already slipped her wee bit of sleeve onto my arm two times? (three times? at least two times just today, I think) and forced Peter to look at how beautiful she is (oh, he loves that, I assure you).
Not sure why this wool is so impossible to photograph. Y'all might just have to take my word on how beautiful and soft it is. Really. So soft if you could feel it you'd want to rub it all over your body like the lady in the cashmere toilet paper commercial. You would too, don't try to deny it.
Straight Outta Brompton has had to come off her needle in order to do Miss Henry's sleeve ribbing, but she too has grown, with an almost completed yoke:
Both of these projects are part of my big stash and burn '08 project (I don't mean literally burn, not like some people. . . ), about which I still haven't written a dedicated post even though January is so over I can taste it. Because I am a lazy slag above all else. But you knew that.
January 19, 2008
i hope you get things done the way that you intend
'cause you know how to get things done, and not everybody does that
I'd intended to spend at least the first part of the day in the studio today, cutting new woodblocks and working on some prints for a portfolio exchange that's due soon. But the cold and rainy weather doesn't provide much motivation for leaving the house and getting things done, and somehow I whiled away the better part of the morning still in my pyjamas, futzing around online and leaving comments on photos from my old elementary school that other people have posted to facebook (I know, I KNOW).
So I got my umbrella and squelched and slid my way along the muddy, eroding foot path to the studio and grabbed my freshly-printed dresses off the drying rack (I wouldn't have bothered going in at all at this point, but I didn't have a dress to wear other than the ones in that rack), and came back home straightaway. I've just gotten off the phone with my mom (it's her birthday today!) and I think I'll settle back on the couch and spend some quality time with a nice pot of strong black tea and this, the newest object of my affection:
That's Ariann (but I'm choosing to call mine Miss Henry) by Bonne Marie Burns. Since I've publicly declared my intention to knit from stash this year (I've been dragging my arse on making a dedicated blog post about this and about documenting/cataloguing the stash, but it'll happen soon, I promise), I had to find something around the apartment for this project. I had my doubts as I cast on with this recycled secondhand Gap-sweater wool, all the reasons why the wool sucked competing in my mind with my stitch count: its boringness, its drab colour, its devastating lack of fancy-store-boughtness. But after soldiering on through the ribbing and into the eyelet pattern I began to notice how pleasingly sturdy my button band was, how perfectly defined the columns of decreases were, how wonderfully rich (not at all drab) the grey was, and how incredibly cozy-soft it felt. I wish I could let y'all feel it, the poorly-lit photo (see above re: cold rainy weather) doesn't do it justice at all. Because, you know what? Recycled secondhand drab grey Gap-sweater lambswool is PERFECT. And I am madly in love with this sweater already, even though I'm only nine inches into it so far. I plan to change that today, and woodcuts can wait until tomorrow.
And speaking of sweaters I love, allow me to clumsily segue into this, a show-and-tell of my totally awesome curling sweater, bought last summer at the Goodwill buckapound:
Not even having to explain to all of my students what curling is, and then later to my fellow grads that they're rocks, not tanks, could dampen my giddy happiness at wearing this silly thing. I think I'm going to make this my default winter coat. All I need now is a faded blue and red plaid lumber jacket to wear underneath. I bet the buckapound can help me out there, too.
December 24, 2007
cold heads, warm hats
The sum total of my "holiday" knitting:
Only one of these hats is actually a gift for xmas; the others are simply hats for people I care about (one of them Peter) who need warm heads and happen to be getting these around this traditional gift-giving time.
Left to right: the Shaker Rib Hat (free pattern) by Bonne Marie Burns in Manos del Uruguay, for an undisclosed recipient; 2 x 2 rib hat (no pattern) for Peter in Queensland Collection Kathmandu Aran, which is gorgeous, chosen by him and also pretty much identical to the Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran that he chose for his sweater a few years ago (I suspect it's even the exact same yarn with a different label); the Cozy Cabled Toque (free pattern) by Jae Steele in Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride bulky, for an undisclosed recipient.
Each of these hats used less than a full skein or ball of yarn. Remind me again why I ever knit anything other than hats?
November 29, 2007
ahem. i almost completely forgot about norovember.
That's because it's been so long since I finished my Noro shoulder tube. Here's a photo from the first day I wore it, November 8th:
Specs: Noro Silk Garden, two different colours and please don't ask me what they are, one's long since discontinued and the other, well I thought the ball bands were right here on the table next to the laptop and now they're gone. So it's a mystery. The pattern is improvised, just a tube knit from the bottom up, switching to a smaller needle after the shoulder. That little loop you see over my right shoulder is a particularly fat and blobby spit-splice that I have yet to fix somehow.
After that was finished I went digging in the storage closet for the other ball of Noro yarn I knew I had, some Kureyon I bought ages and ages ago back in Windsor. But I couldn't find it anywhere. Just as I was about to give up, I came across this Calorimetry headband, having completely forgotten that I knitted it up last winter from that very ball of Kureyon. All it needed was an end woven in and a button.
Despite my sad expression, I was very glad to have found this. Instant finished knit!
November 03, 2007
i'm just a sucker for a catchy title
You see here the sum total of my October sock knitting. I got a little distracted by a handspun lace shawl. Oh, and that other thing, what's it called? Grad school.
On the floor, the paltry beginnings of a Jaywalker sock in Strings and Yarn's "Rhapsody in Blue". It's a good thing I didn't get any further on this, because even though I've heard everyone say that these socks are tight, I went ahead and made it smaller than I should have (I'm a smart one that way) and it'll have to be ripped. Still, I've gotten far enough to be able to see that this yarn and this pattern are perfect for each other.
On the right, a knee sock, closer to finished than it looks, in "Newspaper" by Spritely Goods. These are made from the toe up, but are going to have black toes, the yarn for which I forgot at home (ahem, Peter darling, did you mail my yarn yet?). There's a spot for an afterthought heel (which will also be black), and I'm within a few inches of being able to switch to black for a wide cuff in twisted rib.
And on the feet, the only finished pair, which you've already seen: footies in Strings and Yarn's "Flight of the Bumblebee".
Noro Silk Garden worked on 6.5mm needles should zip by fast enough not to get bogged down by all that pesky grad school stuff. In fact, I started this piece on October 31st and was nearly finished (mere minutes from binding off) when I tried it on and decided to give it a bit more ease. It's just a quick tube to throw around my shoulders over a sweater, inspired by this one worn by Nell at SAFF last weekend (that looked like Noro Kureyon).
Speaking of SAFF, I guess I never really gave a full report and frankly, I'm too tired to do so. Suffice it to say it was great fun and I met a lot of terrific people, whose links I'll try to get into the "bloggers I've verified to be flesh" sidebar list sometime in the next week or so. I have a small set of SAFF photos on Flickr, but as I refuse to use the flash, a lot of the pictures I took weren't good enough to post; you'll just have to take my word for it that everyone around me was having too much fun to stay still for a photo. But because I can't leave y'all with nothing, here's a bit of the spoils of the battle between my thrifty self and my spendy self (spendy self won big time but thrifty self still gets to enjoy the booty, why is that?):
The good people at Brooks Farm will benefit greatly when I win the 6/49 lottery someday, but for now I settled for just a taste. That long skein is a wool/silk blend that exactly matches my favourite blue etching ink. So whatever I decide to make with it, I'll be able to print a dress to match! The two skeins in the middle are Brooks Farm Acero, wool/silk/viscose, a generous gift from Grace (one of many new friends met over the weekend).
My practical self chimed in to remind me that I don't have a spinning wheel, but clearly I didn't listen. Clockwise from top left: the first roving I bought, fibre content forgotten, in gorgeous black-and-tan; green merino from Shepherd's Corner, a bit of which I spun up on Saturday night; creamy merino/alpaca blend that I offered to split with Grace, proving I can enable as good as I get since she sort of made me buy the green stuff; and the shiny shiny blue, merino and tussah silk, stuff of my dreams. I saw this on Friday but didn't buy it, then that night I dreamed about walking out of that booth as if on a cloud, cradling the dear, lovely roving to my breast like a soft baby kitty. That pretty much meant I had to have it, and I spent a good part of Saturday looking for it again in a bumbling comedy routine that saw me checking every single vendor at least three times before finally figuring out that my dream roving had been moved to a higher shelf and into a harsher lighting, causing me not to recognize it at first even though TWICE Grace and I looked at and talked about another roving that was right below it on the shelf. But whatever, I found it, and it's mine now. And if I can never afford that spinning wheel I'll just take my beloved shiny blue roving to bed with me and dream sweet, fluffy dreams.
October 18, 2007
soctoberfest update: two down
So I'm slow right now: October's half gone and I've finished two wee ankle socks (plus four inches of a lacy sock and the foot of a striped one). I'm only allowing myself to knit socks on the bus or while waiting for it and during meetings and lectures, and I'm working hard to keep the meetings and lectures to a minimum.
They are lovely little things, if I do say so.
Yarn is from Strings and Yarn, colour is Flight of the Bumblebee.
October 10, 2007
pictures from a visit home
Yesterday was my first day back at school after a week spent at home to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family, and I got right back into the hectic grind of grad school with a morning meeting, office hours and three back-to-back critiques, ten hours straight with little opportunity for rest or food. Today I tried to take it easy but there was still a good deal of running around to be done, and I'm too wiped out to do more than post a few photos. I should be sewing a dress, as I've got nothing to wear tomorrow, but instead I'm sitting on the couch watching episodes of Sopranos and knitting a sweater I won't need for months. I spent two hours lovingly washing my pretty new bento box, making delicious salads and marinating tofu, then put it all in the fridge and had popcorn, applesauce and beer for supper instead. Not all mixed together.
My visit home, in bullet points:
-Airtran Airways flight 146 Atlanta to Detroit, October 2 07
-being away from home during three consecutive school years makes you lose touch with a lot of what's in your garden. During my visit home in September I got to see my Japanese knotweed flower for the first time since before we moved to Windsor, since it took until I went away to grad school for it to get established enough to flower. This month's flowery surprise was the chocolate boneset, as I planted it without knowing what it was or what its blooms would look like. Turns out it's a mass of lovely white fluff.
-had a nice (albeit short) visit with Kelly at Milk Coffee Bar, a place I dearly miss when I'm not in Windsor. This is one of my daily wardrobe images for my thesis blog, the only photo I took. Kelly metablogged my awkward posing here.
-finally got some photos of the bolero that I sewed up last week, which had been sitting there fully knitted all through August (too hot!). It was far too warm at home to actually wear it. The pattern is from Peony Knits and is super easy and satisfying for those instant-gratification types.
-southwestern Ontario on Thanksgiving weekend may not be as spectacular as some of those gaudier, more tawdry fall displays other places offer, but it's still one of the loveliest and most comforting colour palettes there is. Don't try to deny it.
-my lifelong association with Exeter's white squirrels didn't at all stop me from yanking out the camera and snapping away like some crazy out-of-towner as soon as one presented itself to us.
-this is another photo from my thesis blog (I'll force y'all over there eventually, just watch), included here simply because it's taken at my grandma's house, along the walk where I've had my photo taken so many times before (but not for twenty-five years or so). And look at how I was dressed on Thanksgiving Sunday, and let me tell you I sweated in this getup. Last year it snowed, or so I'm told. I was sweating down in Georgia then.
-the Ausable River, covered in a blanket of algae so thick it resembles those horrible lawns that people try to get looking like Astroturf. My little cousin Riley said in a disgusted voice, "my mom says she used to swim in this river". Those trees across the way to the left there are where the rope swing used to be, where Riley's mom and I swam with high school boys, twenty-three or so years ago.
Riley threw a stick in and the carpet of green opened up to accept it, then closed up again with a burp and a shudder. Just like the quicksand used to do on Gilligan's Island.
-come Monday I was back in Lavender Lullaby again, heading south (Airtran Airways flight 288 Detroit to Atlanta).
October 01, 2007
queueing up the Soctoberfest hopefuls
Clockwise from top:
Superwash merino from Strings and Yarn, in the "flight of the bumblebee" colourway, with a wee toe already started (actually there's a whole other sock already but I don't like the fit, so it's on the block).
Superwash wool/tencel blend from Mama E, colourway "blood orange".
Superwash merino from Dyed in the Wool, "swamp thing" colourway.
Trekking XXL, in the fancifully-named colourway "146".
Just in case I run out (because, you know, it's so like me to exceed my own grandiose expectations) (in case it doesn't come across so early in the morning, that's sarcasm, folks) there should be another skein coming my way from Mama E soon. I knew it was a mistake to leave all of my sock yarn back home when I returned to school; I thought it would make me concentrate on other things but instead, somehow sock yarn found its way here (okay, the Trekking and the Mama E stuff were the ones I allowed myself to bring back from home after summer, so really I've only bought two).
Here's the thing. Because of my thesis project, I'm wearing these weird looking dresses every day. Some of them are brightly coloured, some of them are (and will be) muddy with heavily layered ink. Y'all may have noticed that I like colour a lot, and none of these sock yarns is particularly neutral. Already I have no prospects in the near future of finding anything in my new wardrobe that will not look hideous with my beautiful new kage bunshin socks,
which I have not yet worn (and it's just now begun to be cool enough, at least in the mornings).
The orange yarn I always envisioned as knee socks with a black ribbing and toe, just like the kage bunshins, and I think that will still be okay, as it's solid(ish) enough that I will find dresses to wear them with. But for the others, I can't decide. I love little socks like this:
and I love knee socks. I'm not so keen on socks of an in-between height. Right now I've mostly been wearing calf-length dresses, but the latest batch (of which I've got to finish at least one before I can leave the house this morning, as I've otherwise got nothing to wear) are all above the knee, and this fall and winter I'll be wearing them with leggings and tights. So I could just make little footie socks with all of this yarn and probably have enough to get two pairs out of a few of them or mix some of the colours in extra pairs, and these would be far enough away from the dresses, with solid leggings in between, that the variagated colours wouldn't clash so badly. Or I could make knee socks and throw caution to the winds, or wear my high boots all winter so that only a sliver shows out the top anyway. I'm leaning to the first option, because I'm an instant gratification sort of girl and I can make a lot of footies in the time it takes to knit all that leg. But footies don't keep the ankles warm all winter, do they? And Soctoberfest, coming as it does in the first cool days of autumn, seems to me to be about preparing for winter, putting up stores of warm things for later. To complicate things, I've just thought of two other possibilities: just make whatever socks the yarns call for and not give a rat's ass if they go with the dresses and wear them anyway (okay, that one is not so complicated), and make whatever socks the yarns call for and then put them away and not wear them until my project is over, which isn't the most appealing option. Throw into the mix that I have some awfully cute and awesome Mary Jane flats on the way that are going to look amazing with handknit footies. Jeez, why is this so hard?
September 29, 2007
i can't stop writing punk rock because i am stuck in a ghetto of folkies
Still here. The thesis weblog is sucking away most of my blogging energies these days, and the three-year mark of my writing here came and went without a whisper. Tonight's no different, I'm afraid: I printed for six hours today and then came home and cut and half-sewed five dresses, and I've got just about enough energy left to sit here on my arse watching a video while I turn four sets of spaghetti straps right-side-out.
I had studio visits with three of my four committee members this week, and it left me feeling pretty confident that I'm on the right track with the work that I'm doing. I have struggled a lot during my time at UGA with feeling like maybe I don't belong in grad school, like I'm too attached to craft to be taken seriously here, and I've taken some shit from a couple of people here about the way that I work (while I work constantly and make a lot of stuff, my work doesn't always resolve itself quickly, but rather grows and evolves out of itself almost while I'm not paying attention, absorbed in the doing of it). I'm realizing now that there's nothing wrong with the way I work, and that I do belong in grad school. And the path by which I'll leave here, degree in hand, and get back home where I really belong is pretty straight and clear before me now.
I've also had a couple of exciting exhibition and publication opportunities come my way in the last week or so, which I'll tell y'all about as they become more solid realities. And my thesis project was featured on Whipup.net last week, which has brought a lot of new people around the blog and generated a lot of great dialogue in the comments.
Here are some of the things I've been working on lately, with little comment and in no particular order:
Oh, look. I meant to just toss up a couple of pictures and I ended up sticking around chatting. I guess I miss this place.
September 20, 2007
Since fixing the dead camera proved as costly as buying a new one (oh, how prices have dropped!), we bought me a Canon PowerShot A560 yesterday. Although I haven't yet done much more than figure out the bare minimum I need to shoot my daily wardrobe images, I'm quite happy with it so far. Here's a test shot from last night, of some lovely handspun I recently finished:
I spun up all eight ounces of this, into what I thought at the time was a pretty haphazard thick-and-thin single, on Mouse's Louet which she kindly brought over for me to play with last week. Once I had it all plied up on the drop spindle later, there was considerably less thin than thick, but I'm happy with it all the same. I think this is going to be a little bolero or shrug to wear over my printed dresses now that the hundred-degree days are behind us (I hope for good). The fibre is blue-faced leicester in the colourway "mango", from Maggie's new online shop; I chose the colourway to give myself a little bit of fall palette to carry around with me in this land of endless summer.
September 13, 2007
Hey y'all! I've got this sweater here to show you. It was finished back in June, but I put off attaching the buttons until today because I had it in my head that I'd made the sleeves too tight and would have to reknit them. But I'm back home in Canada for the weekend, and it ain't Georgia up here, boy. I can finally wear wool without passing out, and guess what? The sleeves, they are perfect.
The sweater is the "short-sleeved cardigan with ribbing" from Stefanie Japel's wonderful book, Fitted Knits. I've spoken before about how much I love this book. In fact, while I plan to make almost every design in that book, I may just make this sweater again first, it's so perfect. This wool, originally a pile of kinky merino unraveled from a secondhand sweater (geez, does this chick ever use store bought yarn? nope, hardly ever), went through a number of iterations before becoming this, and I think it's going to stay here for a while. I wore it all day around the house and then wore it out to an art opening later in the evening, and it was perfect for both.
September 09, 2007
no broken fingers
Knitting Loksins on the bus:
with some of my woefully underplied handspun; fibre from Mama E.
A couple of garter stitch scarves from some of my first handspun:
The orange is some merino that was already dyed with madder when I got it; I added the rest of the colours with Kool-Aid. The red is Texas mohair, also Kool-Aid dyed (and plied together with the orange). Here's a closer look:
August 21, 2007
In a meeting this afternoon with my major professor, we discussed my documentation of my current projects (the clothes and the sketchbooks) and she suggested I maybe start a blog. I said, I already have a blog, and it was supposed to be a place to write about my work and store ideas and make notes and document process and then I started sticking my nose into this weird little community and people started reading and I started writing for an audience and it became this other thing. This really good thing, but no longer a place to just jot down thoughts as I think of them, to organize my ideas so that I can maybe use those little scribbles to help me figure out what the hell I'm doing or rework it later into some kind of thesis. Maybe it never really was that place.
At any rate, I feel that right now, as I head into the home stretch of this MFA thing, is a good time to separate these different parts of my creative life out a little, carve out a new space not too far from here that can be dedicated to my thesis work, a place where I don't talk about the weather or what I did on the weekend or how much I hate being away from my partner or what colour socks I'm knitting or what stupid shit the Windsor CBC morning goobs said on the radio today (didn't tell you about the time Pete heard Bill Baker, the news guy, pronounce the president of Iran's name "Ammajammabad", did I? Gah). A place where I won't say "fucksake". You know.
I'm not abandoning my blog. Lard knows I need a place to bitch and to show off and to exercise my potty mouth. But I've created a second blog here on my site, and tomorrow I'll spend some time making a few backdated posts to get it started. Then I'll tell y'all how to find it, for anybody who is interested in my studio work. And for those who aren't, here are some socks I finished last week:
The yarn is from Sweet Georgia, the colourway is Kill Bill. They were quick to knit and they're form fitted to my legs and I love them. I'm thinking about adding a few matching tiny red "blood" spatters to the shoes so that I look like a real samurai.
There will be some knitting on my new thesis blog as well, by the way (when I say separated, it's not like these things can really be totally separated). But some of you might not like what's going to happen to the sweaters over there.
July 03, 2007
i love you golden blue
Photo swiped from Peter.
Specs: Stefanie Japel's "cardigan with leaf ties" from Fitted Knits. I made the sleeves a little shorter than called for because I didn't like the unsightly flare of the hem when I bent my arms. I also eliminated the leaves from the ties and used 4 stitches instead of 5 for the i-cord.
The sweater used exactly three 200-yard skeins of worsted weight wool from Rabbitworks Fibre Studio, dyed for me by Rabbitch in the best blue ever. It kicks all kinds of ass paired with this dress. Many hapless Windsor carnival-goers were blinded; a cop on a bike was so blinded he nearly ran into me.
June 15, 2007
I tried to think of a cute name for a sweater called Orangina knitted in green, but the only thing that comes to mind is the nickname the kids in public school used to call me.
*photo is swiped from Peter.
June 08, 2007
I don't know why the weblog gets such short shrift of late, it's not like I'm not sitting on my arse all day every day staring at the laptop screen with things to say. It seems always to get pushed aside until the last minute, and today is no exception. We're leaving in half an hour or so, to London for the weekend. For those of you in and around beautiful London Ontario this weekend, I'll be showing/selling my art down at Art in the Village (you can find me on somebody's front lawn on the northwest corner of Wortley and Bruce, 10 until 4; be there or be. . . not there, I guess. But if you're there you can hang out and knit with me for a while, won't that be fun? And bring down your amazing finished knits to show off so that I can take your picture. Here's someone I just found on Ravelry (the site that's got everyone abuzz, whose awesomeness I'll talk about later, soon) who will also be showing art there. We'll be the crazies sitting out in the sun knitting when it's too hot to even touch fabric.
Peter and I have a lovely aimless afternoon ahead of us, taking our sweet time meandering to London, perhaps by way of Port Stanley (I've never been there despite living pretty darned close to it all my life), and having a picnic of sandwiches and pies from our favourite Lebanese bakery. While our relationship really has no beginning and no end, today is an anniversary of sorts for us, a day to acknowledge quietly, a day I like for us to do something special together if we can. We haven't had a lot of time alone together since I came home because of kids and family stuff, but today there are no obligations, and we have no plans other than to be together.
Orangina is all over but the weaving-in, which I've been putting off for two days now because there are about a jillion ends. My goal is to wear it to my mom's on Sunday. The red cardigan is a button-band away, the blue cardigan just needs a hem and some sleeves. The cardiganized Wicked is blocked, and while searching the attic for my big bag of hanging hardware that I use to hang my art on the gridwall for outdoor shows (didn't find it) I found a little bag of buttons that I think will be perfect for it. I love how that happens, except for the not having any s-hooks to hang my art part. Pray for no wind, friends, because I'm relying on packing tape and zip ties tomorrow.
May 31, 2007
watch me go from performance art to knitting to project spectrum to shameless commerce all in one long-winded post. also, I will attempt to distract from the fact that I've been silent for weeks on end with lots of pictures.
I helped out my old chum Kelly last weekend with a knitting performance she was doing in conjunction with Artcite's 25th anniversary bash. It was great fun, both to have a long overdue visit with Kelly and to spend some (again, long overdue) time at Artcite, hanging out with Windsor people and soaking up some local art scene. Check out Kelly's post on the event for the full scoop. She was making a big Round Thing which many people could knit on at the same time; by the time we bound the Thing off on Saturday afternoon it was this big (bike for scale):
I promised some real knitting, friends, and I am not here to disappoint. My arse has been practically glued to the porch chair for two weeks, hands flying, and I've got plenty to show for it. I've even been working on some green things for Project Spectrum (in typical fashion, these are getting trotted out on the last day before a colour change. Because I'm a lazy slag that way).
That green bit on top of the pile is Carrie Bostick Hoge's lace nightie (pdf link) from Interweave Knits. I worked on it a lot in the car on the way home from Athens, but pooped out when I got to the part where I had to do math in order to make the back higher than the pattern calls for. It's currently resting quietly in the project bag. The rust-and-Noro sweater is also resting, as it's too hot to think about a sweater like this, never mind knit on it. The blue is Zephyr Style's Wicked, cardiganized and minus the pocket: this has been two unwoven ends, some buttons and a good blocking away from finished for MONTHS, sitting unnoticed in a pile somewhere. It's currently blocking on a mattress upstairs, which under our current weather conditions should take a mere month or two. I might add the pockets later if, when I get back to Athens, I find the Calorimetry headband I also made from this yarn and wore all winter, but I have a feeling I might have already unraveled it for the sleeves.
More Project Spectrum knitty goodness:
Stefanie Japel's Orangina. Again and still. I pooped out on this last year because I thought the ribbing was too tight and ooky-looking on my belly flab. I ripped it and was doing the bottom in stockinette instead until I realized that looked stupid, so now I'm reknitting the ribbing (on the same size needle as I did the lace, can't remember if I went down a size last time or not; guess that's why one should take notes). And if it makes me look a little frumpy, well then I'm frumpy. Gotta embrace it, I guess. (a small aside, private to Ancient Stainless Steel Circular Needles: hate you. Loathe you, in fact. Loathe you even more than Shitty Splitty Recycled Cotton, but especially hate the two of you together)
And because apparently it's all Stefanie all the time around here of late, here are two more projects currently in heavy rotation in the front porch knitting pile:
The cropped cardigan with leaf ties from Fitted Knits. I acquired Stefanie's book a while ago and have been meaning to tell y'all how much I love it: I'm currently making two sweaters from this book and am just waiting to buy dye to get my yarn ready for a third, and I won't be stopping there. I love these designs, love the myriad of beautiful, flattering sweater shapes that can come out of one basic construction technique; love love love the no-sew try-it-on top down raglan construction and the fact that all of the designs are wearable and I can easily picture them blending into my wardrobe (yes, pretty much all of them). The incredible intense blue yarn is from Rabbitch, who apparently is trying to kill me with colour; the eerie blue glow could be seen right through the package, and the mailman didn't even want to touch the thing. I'd hoped to use this yarn to make this sweater, and when it arrived it turned out to be perfect (I love it when that happens). And a sweater with minimal coverage on the front is definitely needed to keep this colour from coming up and strangling me. I plan to wear this with my favourite and most awesome dress, and it is going to kick some serious ass.
This lovely, sproingy red merino wool started as an ill-fitting Goodwill sweater, and first became this, then this, and then this. The Forecast sweater was finished by the time I realized that all that garter stitch made me look lumpy (are you detecting a theme here?). This will be its final incarnation, I'm sure of it.
Project Spectrum turns to red and black tomorrow, and I plan to start designing and swatching for a project using these yarns I spun this spring. It's for a piece that may (or may not) be part of my final thesis show next year, and will be a lace sweater with super long sleeves that hit the floor and then pool out wide, with text knitted into the lace. In UGA colours. Of course I don't have nearly enough yarn spun yet but I've got enough to get started with the pattern drafting.
And finally, because I'm really just a capitalist pig at heart, here's a new drawing (worked on top of a print that didn't quite make the cut for the edition) that I just listed in my etsy shop, along with some more of my older prints at super-duper cheap prices. I'm about halfway to getting that Lendrum I need to finish the above project, and this project.
Also, I'm doing a little outdoor show in beautiful Londonontario on June 9th, with a whole bunch of other artists down in Wortley Village. If you're in the area I'd love it if you'd come down and knit with me for a while and shoot the breeze. London has never really supported me all that well art-buying-wise, but it's been a long time since I did an outdoor show, so I think it'll be a lot of fun. There's nothing I love better than roasting in the sun with needles in my hands while watching the wind send all of my art flying.
January 13, 2007
slow news day. but I knit something.
Calorimetry, from Winter 2006 Knitty, in Malabrigo unravelled from a terrible sweater idea that was going nowhere. This little headband took half a skein, and two hours to knit, and I love it. I've already made another today in merino I unravelled from one corner of my Clapotis (don't panic, friends, I'm not giving up on the Clap, it's just that I made it too short to wear as a scarf and too narrow to wear as a shawl and thus it never gets worn, so I'm going to reknit it more scarf-shaped. And have a kickass matching headbandy-thing). I also started a third headband in Noro Kureyon, which I hope won't be too itchy. I wasn't really all that interested in the pattern when I first saw it, but seeing Elabeth's changed my mind, and now I want six of them, at least. And perhaps a few smaller, lighter ones for summer that won't cover the ears. You know how sometimes you get hooked on a certain kind of food and it's all you want to eat every day? That's me and this pattern, baby. And I love the instant gratification.
Forecast is still without buttons, but I did find the last ball of yarn buried in the back of one of the lockers:
While I was home over the midwinter break I finished the sleeves at 3/4 length because I was out of yarn, but I'm going to keep them like that even though I now have enough for long sleeves. I think I can come up with something else to do with the leftover red yarn. Having put on Forecast, pinned it shut and looked at myself critically in the mirror, however, I think I'll unravel the body ribbing and reknit it without switching to the smaller needle. I had reservations about tight ribbing around my love handles and it appears I should follow my instincts. It's a pretty quick knit so I'm not too broken up about the extra work, and it will definitely be worth it. It's a really cute sweater, and I even like the bobbles. Take that, bobble-haters.
January 07, 2007
brought to you by the letter "p"
projects. promises. and a little procrastination.
Yesterday we spent the better part of the day cleaning out the undergraduate printmaking studio to prepare for the new term; I had thought it was going to rain all day so I accepted my colleague's offer of a ride, and it turned out to be sunny and 70 degrees, perfect for bike riding. Today it's rainy and cold, so instead of going in to the studio as I'd planned, to write and print out a syllabus for the course I'm teaching, I'm staying in the house. So, have I been responsible and written my syllabus already? Yeah, right. I slept off a migraine all morning, now I'm going to knit and watch some Naruto.
I have decided to make a resolution, of sorts, after all. As I was saying earlier, this is the semester when I could really allow myself to slack off if I'm not careful. But instead it should be the semester in which I experiment and play and just make prints like crazy. So Jessica and I are going to sign a contract with each other, to complete an edition of prints (minimum edition size: 5) every week, starting next week and ending when the semester ends. This means we'll each have about seventeen editions of prints by the middle of May, although we'll probably give ourselves the week off when we go to SGC, so let's say sixteen. I think this should be doable, especially considering the way I work, reusing the same woodblocks and layering the same elements in new combinations. I'm also going to re-establish my relationship with my old boyfriend, lithography, and he's an instant gratification kind of guy, quick and dirty. I've been bad lately for finishing up one print for critique and leaving the rest of the edition to finish later (which means never), and this might break me of that habit.
The other old love I'm going to be rekindling is etching. I've got two shiny new 24 x 36 inch copper plates waiting for me in the studio and I'm pretty excited; I've never really done a lot of copper etching before, only zinc. If I'm going to slack off and watch anime rather than prepare my syllabus then I should at least put the sweater down and knit something that I can soft ground transfer onto a plate instead. I think I can handle that even with the extra laziness brought on by the rain and my aching head.
Here's the last finished piece for 2006, my grandma's birthday scarf (yes, the one I was supposed to have finished for her birthday at the end of July):
It's about 3/4 of a skein of Misti Alpaca, and the pattern is a chevron lace (from our old friend Barbara Walker) in the end panels and something art deco-ish that I made up as I went along in the centre panel. I've been meaning to write up the pattern and post it here since xmas, but didn't want to take time out from my precious schedule of doing nothing all day with Peter by my side; now that I'm back at school, I'll try to get it done before the reading for my art history class gets too heavy.
I've all but finished Forecast, she's just waiting for buttons before she's unveiled. I'm itching for a photo shoot so if I can't get buttons soon I'll safety pin her up and show her to y'all anyway. I only had enough yarn for 3/4 sleeves, so I'm hoping it doesn't look funny; there's a chance there may be one more ball stuck in the yarn lockers somewhere but if so, it hasn't turned up yet (yes, I keep my yarn in lockers. Not full size school lockers, more the size of the ones at the bus station. They look more like school lockers though. Garbage-picked furniture is THE BEST).
After Forecast was off the needles, the night before I flew back to Athens I cast on for a new cardigan of my own design:
Of course, I foolishly believed that not only would I finish Forecast, finish my grandma's scarf and knit a pair of socks for Claire over the break, I also thought I would not only start this sweater but get so much work done on it that I felt the need to bring all the yarn for it home with me. I really ought to know by now, don't you think? I cast on for this the night before I left home, and all I really needed was one ball to get me through the airport (the ribbing) and knitting on the plane (one full repeat of the pattern, or one zig and one zag). Ah well. I didn't even open up the roll of Japanese paper I so carefully toted home on the plane, thinking I'd just start a 30 foot drawing in my free time over the break. Hah. Peter pretty much ordered me to list all of the projects I think I'll get done over the summer break and then only bring half of that home with me; I'm thinking a quarter might be more appropriate.
So, you want specs on the new sweater? It's Jo Sharp dk wool, wool that I bought so long ago I'd forgotten I had it so when it fell out of a locker one day it was like magic! The wobbly lace-and-cable stitch is one I've wanted to do for a long time: I had an awful, ugly, droopy cotton, frumpy, boxy pullover in this stitch (oh, and it was baby-poo beige, too, and long enough to cover my arse and then pull in at the hem so the belly bouffed out like a big ball; sex-ay!) that I wore anyway because I loved the pattern so much. I recently got paid for a design project and right away ordered Barbara Walker's stitch anthology #2 (having decided to pick up one more every time I get paid for a sweater until I have them all) and, lo and behold, this stitch was in it! And I was so excited!! The book showed up on the doorstep about 30 minutes before I left town to go home for the holiday and as I was flipping through it I squealed out loud, scribbled the pattern down in my pocket notebook and crammed the Jo Sharp yarn and some needles into my already overstuffed suitcase. I was nearly peeing my pants with excitement, let me tell ya: I can finally have this stitch I love in a sweater that doesn't make me look like some matronly refugee from a Wham video.
This will be a fitted little cardigan, with 3/4 sleeves, nice deep ribbing all around and a ribbed foldover collar. And big buttons to offset a wide ribbed button band. Some may say that lace in wool is a tad impractical, but I think for the south it will be perfect, especially during those months when they air-condition every building to such frigid temperatures that when you walk inside your teeth and skull ache and when you walk outside the heat hits you like a brick wall hits a crash test dummy and the sweat practically flies from your pores like great watery ribbons. Oh yeah, this sweater will be perfect for indoors on those days. When I get back home to a more reasonable climate, it'll be perfect for those late August evenings when you desperately want to keep eating supper out on the porch even though it's not really quite warm enough once the sun gets behind the tree. Not that I'll be sitting on my own porch in late August again until, oh, 2008. Sigh. But when August 2008 comes, baby, I'll be dressed for it.
December 12, 2006
I've got holiday head. Also known as little motivation.
But I did manage to put up some eggplant in oil today, that had been marinating in vinegar and salt for the last two days:
I'm really, really excited to eat this stuff. Here's the recipe I used, which our friend Jelena had her mother-in-law write out for me:
I love that it's written with the assumption that the person reading knows how to cook, and doesn't need to jack around with little things like measuring ingredients. Intuitive cooking is my favourite kind of cooking.
The recipe calls for garlic and oregano as the only added flavours, but the first time I ever tasted this at Franco and Jelena's house it was spicy hot, so I added some red pepper seeds. When Peter and I were discussing what else to throw in there he said he thought there had been something like mustard seed as well. I realized too late, when I was transferring the flattened-and-drained eggplant bits into jars (it's not like we ever cook eggplant and we don't even make our own baba ghannoush from scratch but rather buy eggplant already roasted and mashed in a can at the Lebanese grocery up the street, so I had no idea what it really looked like inside, or that there would be quite so many seeds.) that what Peter remembered seeing was probably just the seeds of the eggplant itself floating around in there, and by then I already had mustard seeds dry-roasting in a pan. So I put them into one jar and not the other two; who knows, perhaps it'll be one of those weird flavour blends that turns out to be perfect and wonderful.
I'm making a few changes to the pattern to suit me better: starting the ribbing higher, a little below the bust for the body (I really, really hope this ribbing isn't going to perfectly sculpt my amply rounded love handles, but am bracing myself for the inevitable and have added a bit of extra length to offset that) and just below the elbows for the sleeves; I ditched the collar and made a simpler ribbed neck that's lower on the shoulder and shows a bit more skin, because I feel like all of my cardigans are of the boxy type for wearing "over stuff", and I want to make a few that are more feminine and dressy. And I just like a boat neck better than a collar.
The yarn is a lovely red merino that I reclaimed from a secondhand sweater ages and ages ago; long-time readers who hang on my every stitch (yeah, there must be hordes of those, eh?) might recognize it as something you've seen before. It first made its internet debut as this ill-fated cardigan, and later on as a nearly-completed back of the Urban Aran. What you didn't see is the plain top-down number (inspired by Stefanie's Ubernatural, but with the gauge totally re-jigged); I finished the whole body on that one too before I realized that I'd made a mistake in the math and the fit was terrible.
So far this Forecast sweater fits, and looks lovely. I may run out of yarn but I'm not worrying about that just yet. If anything does go wrong, though, I think this time I'll just throw the wool in the garbage and console myself by eating lots and lots of eggplant.
November 30, 2006
meathead, now with 100% more french fries
Hat pattern by Larissa Brown.
Buttons by Kate Bingaman.
Surly tired face by Yours Truly.
November 29, 2006
it's a grave mistake, and i'm wide awake
Thank you all, so much, for both the congratulations and the condolences. It's not been the free and easy week of slouching and slacking that I thought it would be; I haven't really begun to pay off any of my crushing pile of sleep debt, although I have made a tiny stab at the interest. I've been dreaming about Benny a lot. I'm having trouble concentrating, having trouble caring, and can think of little else but Friday next, when my good friends at airtran will be escorting me home to my family. I'm so grateful that my students, rather than just scraping by and showing the signs of late-in-the-semester stress in their work, are instead knocking my socks off with fantastic drawings and leaping improvements. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to muster the enthusiasm I need to finish out this last week and a half, and blowing off my teaching would be a very bad thing to do. I will show you some of those drawings soon; I hope to photograph them over the weekend.
Now that I've got a bit of time to pick up the sticks and knit something for myself, I can't focus on anything and instead am working in fits and starts (or rather, starting a lot of things and tossing them aside once it's apparent they're not going to fit). I wouldn't be able to finish anything were it not for Larissa and her amazing Meathead pattern, the Fastest Hat Ever(tm). When I sat down to start my first one in green Lamb's Pride Bulky, after first having to undo a horrible snarl after following Larissa's suggestion to work the doubled strands from either end of the ball (I'm a little too inept to manipulate such things without making a huge mess), I wound it up in a centre-pull ball and then wound half of that off into a new centre-pull ball, leaving the two conjoined in the middle and naming the one on the left Chang and the one on the right Eng. I was going to take a picture of Chang and Eng for y'all, seeing as they were so darned cute sitting there joined by a string, but I cast on first and then before I knew it Chang and Eng were gone and I had a hat in my hands, only it seemed a bit small so I unravelled it and knit it in the larger size and I swear the cup of tea I had sitting there when I started all this was still warm by the end. And I had a cute, warm hat.
A few days later I wound up a new pair of twins, this time in brown (um, Ang and Cheng). I cast on. I went to the kitchen, stuffed a sliced onion into a potato and threw it in the oven. Before I knew it I had a delicious, golden baked potato. . . and a new hat.
Part of the deal-i-o* in being in the meatheadalong is that you have to embellish the hat over the left ear any way you like (rather than the usual cow-ear-tag, which I love). I wanted my embellisments to be interchangeable, so for now this one is wearing a few of my "knit" and "stitch" buttons.
Yeah, those are scraps from the dress. I don't throw anything away. I'm going to use buttons on the green hat too, but I'm waiting for some buttons I ordered from Kate at obsessive consumption to arrive; I got 20 so I can change them every day if I want.
I'll tell you a secret, I'm totally in love with this hat. I thought it would look dorky on me with its pointy, smurfy top, but it's very cute. I also made one in a smaller yarn for an infant, and I'm scouring my stash for anything else I can use to make more, more, more! I left a bunch of hot pink bulky wool in my filing cabinet at home, and it's not the fact that everyone whose name I drew for xmess is male that stops me from making them all pink meatheads, but the fact that I don't think pink would be a good colour on any of them. Actually, that might not stop me.
*I only use words like this because I know it pisses Peter off. Does that make me an asshole?
November 16, 2006
tiny baby feet
While Peter was visiting me last month, we spent many of our afternoons languishing in coffee shops; I lay back on the couch at Hot Corner day after day, listening to Peter read things to me from the newspaper and pausing occasionally in my knitting to hoist my gigantic clown mug of tea. That's the life for me, I'm telling you. I finished my Opal Tiger socks and used the leftovers to make a second pair for our friends Mats, which I can finally show you now that Mats' socks have been delivered to him. They're not really misshapen, my fingers just aren't a very good stand in for sturdy toddler feet.
Since then I have knitted nary a stitch (not counting a few stitches I can't tell you about until they hit your local magazine stand later in the year), being far too busy in the studio. But, as we all know, High Energy Jenny is in a family way, and I couldn't very well show up at her shower without some rocking baby socks, so I took some time from my backbreaking printmaking schedule to make these:
Socks that Rock, in the Fred Flintstone colourway.
October 09, 2006
Like tossing dollar bills from an eighth storey window
I know that a good portion of you don't give a rat's ass about me or my art or my bitchy opinions and potty mouth, but are here for the knit. Where's the knit, damn it??
I still do that, you know. It's just not a top priority right now.
Here are a few things I've been picking away at, only during spare moments or in transit:
This was my backseat-of-the-car project on the drive to Ohio and back for the MAPC conference last month. I haven't knit a stitch on it since, and likely won't pick it up again until at least the end of this month; perhaps by then I'll have decided whether or not I hate it. It's loosely based on Tubey from Knitty (sorry, I can't be arsed to put in links today; those of you who care know where to find this stuff and the rest, well, don't care). The shrug portion is one skein of Malabrigo, and I've made it short and added a ribbed edge to make it look like Glampyre Stefanie's One Skein Wonder. The body is a recycled lambswool, and instead of ribbing and stripes I'm doing stockinette with a big fat spine-y cable down the centre front and back. The sleeves will be long, and green, and also probably have some sort of cable detail.
Do you think I'm going to look like some sort of Star Trek alien in this? Or like a sexy hot mama with a shrug over her sweater? None/all of the above?
This is Stefanie's Simple Knitted Bodice (from Stitch Diva Studios). I'm making the body and sleeves separately in order to have a contrasting yoke, and have eliminated the lace detail on the body (I will still include it in the sleeves, though). The yoke is two skeins of Noro Silk Garden; I'd been hoarding the one skein of it that Bonnie sent me last year, and had to chase around to find another (discontinued colourway) in order to have enough for a yoke, then had to spit splice about eleventy-billion times to get the colours to sort of match up in front. Gah. The rust colour is a recycled wool/acrylic blend. Again, not sure yet if I like this or hate it, right now it looks a little like something I would have loved back in my neo-hippie days when I had hair so long I could stuff it in my jeans pockets. The drastically plungeing neckline, however, is definitely right up my alley.
I'm also working on something sexy and spring-y for Interweave, the deadline for which is fast approaching. So these two sweaters won't see much action for the next little while; I've got quilting and embroidery and printing and drawing and paper-cutting to do that has to take priority, as my continuance examination is coming up at the end of the semester. And a show in the courtyard gallery in two weeks to prepare for. I'm not too stressed out yet, but every night I get less sleep than the night before.
The glasses are holding together so far with glue; if they fall apart again I'll have to tape them, as I can't really foresee a time when I'll be able to buy new ones. But for now, they're still on my face.
Happy Thanksgiving, eh?
September 10, 2006
I still work with sticks and string too, you know
A wee bit of progress has been made on Alice/Bridie. I had to put her aside for the summer, but now that the edge is off the heat here, it's time for her to come back into the rotation. I don't think this sweater looks anywhere close to fitting me, but my gauge is good and I trust Anna implicitly, so I'm soldiering on with it. It does want to stretch quite a bit so I'm sure it will all make sense in the blocking. The yarn, a camel hair blend, is dreamy-soft and wonderful to work with.
Orangina was finished, but when I tried it on, my belly and the ribbing had such a terrible fight that I think they've broken it off for good. I'm not fat, but I AM too fat in certain places to go putting a tight band of ribbing around those places. Yuck! So I've ripped back and am making the bottom stockinette instead; I may just bind off and leave a rolled edge to echo the top edge. We'll see.
No studio pictures today; I forgot to take the camera with me. I cut out a bunch of little woodblock doo-dads and will be printing with them later in the week.
September 09, 2006
you'll never guess what I did today
More printing, of course. I'm a machine. But first, here's a new woodblock I started cutting this afternoon:
It's not at all what I meant to cut when I started, but I think it'll be fun and a bit of a departure from what I have been doing. I used to work a lot with nonrepresentational forms (although they always stood in for the body and often read as body parts), and while bringing the figure into my work was a big breakthrough and really necessary at the time, I need to get away from it for a while; this last year I've felt like the figure was just bogging me down. And as these prints are all "sketches" for bigger projects, I can be free to play a bit with decorative forms and not worry so much about meaning, because I know that the works are conceptually linked to my larger body of work even if it's not apparent in each and every print. That's something I'd lost sight of, and I'm happy for the time being to just make prints that I like, knowing that some of the things that come out of these prints will wind up as larger, print-based installations later on.
So, I had planned to cut out a few of these circle shapes in order to float them randomly over the stencil prints, but something else happened. I'll still do those others, maybe tomorrow. But I think this will make a good print on its own, with colour reduction. It's hard to see, but there are tiny hatch marks inside the thick concentric lines; they will look like these shapes that I was drawing in my sketchbook all the time last year. I'm hoping these shapes, when combined with the map/self portrait images, will read as targets and as topographical map lines, and also as tree rings: things that mark a place, or a treasure, or the passing of time. Right now on this block I think they just look like frying pan bottoms, though. Heh.
Today I made stencils for eight different images 15cm/6" by 22.5cm/9" and printed a whole bunch of those (forcing myself to work even smaller!). Then I made a few more (very few; I'm perilously close to being out of paper, and somehow that always seems to coincide with being out of money for more) larger prints
I also have to confess that I broke down and did a bit of printing on top of older prints, but only a few at a time. It's liberating to work only on new paper for a change but I feel I need to keep cycling through some of the hundreds of half-finished prints as well, just to get them out of my "in progress" drawer. Here's one from the other day, with part of the self portrait block printed in creamy white, upside down on top of an older print of the same block in orange.
I'm going to try really hard not to go overboard with these. But it just comes so naturally to me.
If you're only here for the knitting and have somehow read this far in hopes of getting some satisfaction, don't despair! I have been flinging the sticks a wee bit in amongst all of this other work, and will try to post pictures tomorrow. I've been working on the lovely Alice/Bridie, still convinced that this sweater might change my life if only I can get it finished, and also started two (TWO! that's how much I love it!) of Stefanie's latest design. Alas, fall sweaters for me will have to move over a bit to make room for next spring's knitting, as the yarn for my next design contract has arrived.
September 03, 2006
some finished things
Ms Marigold, worked in a recycled olive green cotton overdyed with blue. I don't think I've ever knit something for myself that turned out such a perfect fit. This is a leftover Project Spectrum project, finished!
A new skirt, cut off a thrifted dress that was too tight around the ribcage. It's flared and a little stretchy, and I think I'll be able to ride my bike in it (my new main criterion for clothes). Check out the beautiful pashmina that Ghita brought me back from Nepal, draped over the mirror there.
I added a wee bit of vintage lace (what exactly makes something "vintage"? I think this may just be a pretentious marketing word for old. . . but it is old, at least) to the hem. It makes me happy, and makes me want to add lace to the hem of everything.
August 19, 2006
Let me tell you something
I am a bad -alonger.
I joined the trek-along with the best of intentions: it's summer! I'm unemployed! I love walking! and I just bought this awesome orange Trekking XXL at MDS$W, count me in! (in retrospect my intentions may have been a tad too emphatic and possibly manic, judging by all those !!s).
But let's face it: I like to go for walks, but I am a city girl without a driver's license, and you need to drive to get to a real hiking trail from where I live. There was just no way I was going to be able to be a valid trek-along participant without making someone else take time off work to drive me somewhere for a photo-op, and with Pete's new department head position and a limited number of vacation days (that have to last us all year when we're living 1200 km apart from each other, so they need to be doled out stingily and carefully spaced), it just wasn't happening. So at the very end of June I squeaked in with a cop-out photo of my trekking sock down at the Windsor riverfront, which is a park path, not a hiking trail (although we walk it many, many evenings in the summer to get downtown for coffee and back, and shouldn't that count a little, for city-dwellers?).
July crept by in a haze of sweltering dampness, and I barely lifted my carcass off the front porch long enough to walk inside to the tea kettle and back. I worked on my trekking sock a bit and then let it slip aside in favour of summer tops and my gramma's birthday scarf.
Then August came, and time to return to Georgia for school. On a whim, exhausted by the hour-long gridlock in the blazing sun in the middle of Nowhere, Kentucky, we decided to cut off the interstate and take our favourite route through Great Smoky Mountains National Park (we were desperate for some cool altitude and some shade to drive through). We stopped at the summit to eat our supper, and afterwards I puttered along the edge of the jagged slope, marveling at how all of the wildflowers and weeds were so familiar to me (because the part of Ontario we grew up in is a tiny pocket of Carolinean Forest nestled in the vast expanse of Boreal Forest that is the rest of Canada, so the flora of the Carolinas is exactly the same as home). Had my trekking socks not been safely packed away in a box somewhere in the trunk of the car, I could have dug them out and faked a really good trail photo. The sign was right there, on the way to the rest rooms, Appalachian Trail, it would have been so easy to just lay the sock down there and fake it, no hiking required, no purchase necessary. But I didn't. Maybe because I'd be embarassed to fake it, or maybe because I was too lazy to unpack half the car to find the sock. Or possibly because I might not have actually even thought of it until the next morning when we were far from the mountains, back in the city. But anyway, there you have it.
So. Instead I offer you this. Here I am in Athens Georgia, riding my new bike to school every day. This might not sound so remarkable, but listen: I have not ridden a bike regularly in sixteen years. I grew up in a tiny, tiny town (of maybe a thousand people), and I used to ride my bike out on country roads, where I could ride on any side I wanted until a car came along. When I was 18 I moved to London, and after three or four terrifying trips down Wharncliffe Road to get to my then-boyfriend's house (plus that one time I agreed to ride with him to a party way out in Byron even though it was dark and I had no lights on my bike; what a goddam ordeal that was, poor guy, I must have driven him crazy with my fearful whining and y'all, it was a long, long ride), I gave up riding in the city; I was just too scared. Twice I rode from my place to my dad's farmhouse north of the city, and both times I was absolutely terrified until I got outside the city and onto roads that seemed familiar and safe to me (even though I had never biked those particular roads before). I haven't ridden since. I gave my beloved old Triumph ten-speed to Peter, and when it came time to replace the tubes and we discovered that the wheels on my old bike were no longer considered a standard size and the right tubes couldn't be found, Peter bought himself a new bike and I sadly placed my old Triumph out by the side of the road (this story doesn't end sadly, though: somebody took it, and I even saw him riding it past our house one time, which made me really, really happy).
This spring, my colleague Jenn gave me a bike. I took it home and in the middle of July Peter and I rode from our house to the Yacht Club and back, then I started riding along with him to work every day on the riverfront bike path; it took me a little while to not be afraid of crossing Riverside Drive to get from our neighbourhood to the bike path, but I got over that. We brought both our bikes to Athens and rode downtown together every afternoon, then on the last day Peter was here we tried out the ride to the studio. And since he left I've been riding to school every day, even going on big, busy streets, using left turn lanes and everything. The only drawback is that unlike walking, for this I need to use my hands. And we all know what that means.
Sorry Norma and Margene, but I should have known better; knitalongs always tend to kill my enthusiasm for a project, and that added to the fact that I don't actually ever hike anywhere should have made it obvious to me from the beginning that I would fail. But I do have a beautiful almost-finished sock, and am slowly getting back in shape with the biking. So maybe next time we spend time in the Smokies, I will hike part of that trail.
I can, however, trek-along vicariously through my friends a bit: Wednesday night we had our first Hot Corner knit night of the 2006/07 school year; I drank tea and knitted the night away with Jenn, who has hiked the entire Appalachian Trail, and Sam, whom I helped to kitchener her newly finished Trekking XXL socks. Do I get any kind of loser consolation prize for that?
July 11, 2006
I am a lazy slag
Just for Hockey Mom, who said this afternoon (after I told her how close this was to being wearable) "now, that's just sad. finish the damned thing", I now present the crochet tank that's been sitting in a heap of unwoven-in ends since the middle of June, unwoven no more.
And here's how totally pathetic I am: weaving in the ends took a total of about twenty minutes; there were scarcely any ends to weave, it just looked like more because they were so long. Argh.
Here's the thing. It was supposed to be the Tuscany tank dress from Interweave Crochet, but something went horribly wrong with my row gauge so that the top two sections together reach just to the top of my jeans rather than to the bottom of my butt like they're supposed to. I'm pretty happy with it as a top, though, because I'd already decided halfway through making the thing that I didn't want this dress in black after all. I might make it again (with correct gauge) in olive green or blue. Or not.
What do you think, NWJR, are you tired of my huge fake smiles yet? Can I go back to scowling now?
June 30, 2006
June ain't over yet, eh
I'll admit it. Knitalongs are nothing but a big project killer for me; nothing makes me NOT want to do something more than knowing that I'm supposed to be doing it, with everybody else, on a deadline. I don't know if the Windsor riverfront biking and walking path truly qualifies as a hiking trail (I'm guessing not), but there sure were a lot of people walking down there on fireworks night, and I knit a little on my trek along sock: Pomatomus from Knitty, in Trekking XXL, colour 38.
My June Project Spectrum knitting, Ms Marigold, is painfully close to being finished, just a few rows of neck ribbing to go. Provided the fit isn't disastrous (in the pre-ribbing fitting, my boobs pretty much flew out the front of the sweater), expect modelled photos soon. This weekend, maybe.
June 02, 2006
Blue knitting for June
Scouring Value Village's sweater racks last night in search of some appropriate materials for Project Spectrum, I hit upon an excellent score: a lovely deep blue Shetland wool pullover which, together with this previously reclaimed gray lambswool, will soon become Eunny's deep V argyle vest. Swatches to come, after all the kinks have been washed out.
I also picked up this cotton/rayon lace sweater that has a little shimmer in it, because in the harsh light of Value Village I thought the yarn might be just the thing to make Anna's Cherry cardigan. Now I'm not so sure, though; the rayon part is slippery and I think it might end up being very splitty and irritating. I seem to never learn with the recycled cotton yarns (ie that one shouldn't even bother). I shall have to see how it feels once I've got it all unraveled, I suppose.
Those of you who guessed that Alice the camel-hair yarn is becoming Bridie guessed correctly. I have high hopes for this sweater changing my life, transforming me into someone more poised and elegant, someone with controllable hair, someone who doesn't drop the "g" from "ing" endings, and who doesn't say "fuck" except for when it's really, really warranted; someone who could conceivably be someone's teacher. Because, in ten short weeks, I'll be someone's teacher. Gah!
May 31, 2006
go, Alice, go
can you guess what I'm making?
May 23, 2006
give the frog a loan
Hey, what's this thing here? Wait, let me get all this dust off, it doesn't look like this has been touched in a while, whatever it is. It looks like some sort of diary or something. Hey, wait a minute! This is MY diary! And there are still some empty pages in here! Guess I'd better write something in them, eh.
Canada's not quite how I left it, but still a fabulous place to be. I've been kept incredibly busy since I got back: there's just so much tea that needs drinking here, sunshine that needs sitting in, hockey games that need watching, naps that need taking. I've still been able to find a bit of time in this rigourous schedule for knitting, though. And since I just signed on (better late than never) to Project Spectrum, I guess I'd better have something green to show.
Over the May two-four weekend I re-started my Orangina, which had been languishing in a bag since last summer. This is a totally mindless lace pattern, easy as pie and perfect for knitting while watching the Edmonton Oilers kick arse or Twin Peaks dvds borrowed from colleagues (hey, I told you, I've been busy!). The yarn is a recycled cotton that's a bitch to knit with (commercially made cotton sweaters are almost always made with several strands of unspun cotton thread, which means that if you get too caught up in, oh, say watching Twin Peaks or something, you can split stitches all over the place), but it's going to be totally worth it to have a lacy top this colour. I was inspired to break out the bright green for this by Crumpet's lovely Orangina.
In other knitting news, the Opal tigers have been kept busy making the rounds of coffee shops:
I thought this yarn was going to be so, so awesome. I wanted it badly, badly enough to go looking especially for it at MDS$W (how geeky does it make us that I asked a few brand-new acquaintances if they'd seen any Opal Tiger sock yarn and they were able to tell me which vendor had it and where I could find them, even though that vendor only had about two balls of the stuff? GEEKS! And I ran straight down there to get it, too). But now that one sock's ready for short-rowing and the other is past the heel, I'm wondering where the heck I'll ever wear these tacky things. Ah well.
Further proof of what a complete slackass I am: I received these artist trading cards from Melanie back in April and I'm only getting around to showing them to you now.
I've been working on some atcs of my own and will have a bunch ready to send out soon. Anybody else want to trade?
Something else I've been meaning to show you: Melanie also did some quilting inspired by the linework in some of my recent woodcuts. Very cool.
One more for May's green theme, then I've got to go sit in the sunshine some more. Somebody's gotta do it.
A new kitchen scrubby frog for my collection.
March 26, 2006
Saturday Sunday night
Did you miss me? I didn't croak or go into political exile or burn my house down and have to go live on the streets or anything. Although it's interesting to note that the same smoke detector (or "meep", as it was always called in my household) that goes off at the faintest whiff of well-done toast or from steaming couscous over a large pot of water apparently doesn't even flinch when you actually get a real honest-to-goodness grease fire blazing on top of your stove. I'm not so sure I trust that little plastic traitor with my life so much, anymore.
It's not that I have nothing to say (insert a chorus of "duh"s from those who know me well,here). Friends, I'm having a spot of trouble with time management right now. If I owe you an e-mail, please be patient, and I will try my best to get to it in the next few days. Now that I've taken the time to delete about twelve hundred superfluous messages from my inbox, the ones I really really need to respond to are easy to find.
There was some action in the studio on Saturday, even if I couldn't be arsed to show it on time. I took some of the huge stacks of monoprints that I did last week and dropped one of the steel plates on top of them (the one that I've been calling the "background" plate, although since it's just sparse linework and the other is deeply bitten tone it would make more sense for it to be the foreground plate but to change now would be needlessly confusing, no?) in graphite and white. Here are a few:
These will all be cut into squares and printed in the letterpress, and then I'm going to sew something with them.
That orange reject print from last week looks a lot better whitewashed:
That's all I've got for you. Tomorrow I'm going to start the letterpress printing, but I also want to get a new woodcut started. A new woodcut that (gasp) isn't a picture of my naked arse. Hard to believe, I know. Stay tuned for all the craziness.
The downside of all the fabulous publishing opportunities is that knitting isn't as fun as it used to be, and I'm aching to make something, just one little thing, for me. So, with the lovely Koigu that the AmpuT gifted me, I started a pair of Badcaul socks, just to take the edge off. Don't expect quick progress, these are only for times when I absolutely can't work on anything more pressing, like the fifteen minutes a day I spend riding the bus.
Okay, that's all you're getting. If I'm going to get to bed before midnight (a rare treat, these days), then that means now.
February 14, 2006
I'm not really one to celebrate fake "holidays" that are designed to sell stupid crap, to make those who don't want to buy into the crap feel guilty and cheap, and to gender-bash me at the same time (how come there aren't any ads telling me that I should buy HIM jewellery? How come there aren't any ads telling him to buy me a power washer?) but still, finding this on my studio door today made me happy.
A plush long-stemmed rose and two supercool printed cards from Audrey. I think I'll write a letter to my gramma on one of the cards (the one that doesn't have frilly underpants on it).
Because I'm supposed to be knitting something else, of course Spike is finished.
I did this at a smaller gauge than the original, resulting in a shorter, narrower scarf (it looks in the pattern photos like Mandy's wraps around her neck several times, while mine only wraps once). My spikes aren't as spiky as hers either, I think partly because of my smaller gauge and partly because I blocked it on a towel on the floor and the towel wanted to pull in, so there wasn't as much pressure on the points as there should have been. I'm pretty happy with the way it looks (and feels!) though, and if I decide I want it spikier I'll block it again, this time on the mattress.
The yarn is Claudia's handspun cashmere, and I didn't take it off all day. So. soft. I still have a bit left, so I need to think of something small I can make that will go against my skin. Either that or just rub it all over myself and moan "oooh, cashmeeeeere" like the lady in the toilet paper commercial.
Spike was a super easy and gratifying project, after I got past the second row, where EIGHT TIMES I discovered that I'd increased where I should have decreased or decreased where I should have increased in the first row and had to rip out and cast on again three hundred and fifty stitches. Did I mention, eight times? That is 2800 stitches cast on, people. And actually it might have been more than eight times, I seem to have blocked out some of those memories. But that was just me being careless, and it's a perfect, gorgeous pattern and I want to make three more. All for me.
My olympic project is progressing nicely after a few false starts; expect some artfully obscured photos tomorrow. I started it at Hockey Mom's over the weekend, but decided that Spike was a better project for the hockey arena and the family birthday party that followed, since my sweater design is something I actually have to pay attention to (and not spill hockey arena hot chocolate on in a fit of cheering*). So I got off to a late start with the sweater but was able to spend three hours of class time on it today while sitting through a demo on pamphlet-stitch bookbinding (I thought about begging off this demo on the grounds that it's something I've taught a jillion times, but decided to hang out anyway, and several inches got completed).
*don't worry, I didn't spill chocolate on Spike. I just knew that if I took the sweater to a hockey game, I WOULD spill the chocolate. Speaking of which, some of you devoted readers may recall my little obsession with hockey arena hot chocolate. Well, a few weeks ago I discovered that the main art building has one of those machines in the basement! (although it doesn't dispense soup). So I've been getting a teensy cup of slightly salty, watery hot chocolate before each Thursday night's aesthetics class, and sipping it reminds me of Canada, and the sweet smell of zamboni fuel, and young lust. Aah.
February 11, 2006
Studio Saturday : exhausted, and spending a few days thinking about anything but the studio
1. Most of my week was spent working on some letterpress projects that had to be done by Thursday, and the grad print class spent two afternoons over in the gallery critiquing our show. Jessica and I were up until 3 on Tuesday night trying to get the @#$%^&* Epson printer to work properly for us (and I had to get up at 6 the next morning to get on the Vandercook to print my text). Gah. Some images of the letterpress stuff are over on my flickr page, but I'm just too lazy right now to upload them here.
Here is the recipe for butter tarts that I promised you ages ago and then forgot about. It's the one my mom always makes, and comes from the Five Roses Cookbook. I guess I'm probably not supposed to publish a recipe from a book, but I like to live on the edge. Heh.
Prize Butter Tarts (Five Roses Cookbook Edition 24)
1 pastry recipe
1/3 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup raisins, currants or chopped pecans (optional; my mom often leaves them plain and they're fantastic that way, and I've never tried a butter tart with currants. It sounds gross, though)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Put pastry in tart pan.
Mix all ingredients together, fill tart shells 2/3 full. Bake in a hot oven (450) for 8 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350 and bake 15 to 20 minutes longer or until pastry is delicately brown.
And that's it! Butter tarts are pretty similar to pecan pie, but are way better without the pecans. Also, because they're small you get a much nicer ratio of crust to filling. You could also try them with maple syrup if you want to ramp up the Canadianness a little. Mmm!
I'm using the handspun cashmere that Claudia sent me last spring, with some bits of Kool-Aid dyed recycled lambswool as accents. This yarn is so soft and so lovely; when I had the first half of the scarf off the needles I wore it around the house for a while and I can't believe the feeling of it around my neck. When Peter first felt the yarn he suggested making underpants, and although I still think that's kind of silly, I also sort of wish I had made underpants now that I know what cashmere feels like against skin. Um, sorry. TMI.
4. I've started dividing up my huge stash of badges into sets of four and photographing them, and as soon as I hit "post" here I'll be uploading them onto flickr, as well as some shrink plastic bracelets and hair pins. We're still working on banging out the shop pages, so for the time being I'll put merchandise up on flickr so people can e-mail me to purchase; I accept paypal, but am willing to make other arrangements as well. Also, for those of you still patiently waiting for the shirts, I'm ordering some new silkscreens this week. So there really WILL be shirts here, and soon.
5. My evil plan to convert everyone I know to the dark side is chugging along at a marvelous pace. I'm teaching some of my colleagues to knit, and we've started meeting up and knitting at Hot Corner on Monday nights. Apparently there are some people who knit on Mondays around the corner at the Manhattan, and we'd only been meeting for three weeks when someone from that group said to someone from our group, "oh, you're one of the Hot Corner knitters". How they knew about us I haven't a clue, but it might be fun to start up a rivalry. We're going to need to get matching bowling shirts, and a logo. Heh. All will be assimilated! So if you're in or around Athens Georgia, come knit with us, Monday nights around 7-7:30 at Hot Corner. You know you want to.
Here's Jenn last week, wearing her newly finished scarf:
And Euni had only known how to knit for about twenty minutes when the photo was taken; look at her hands fly! She's one of those fibre people who can do anything, so I'm sure she'll be putting me to shame in no time.
6. There is olive bread in the oven, nearly done. The smell in this apartment right now is divine.
January 30, 2006
Doing it for my country
This is a bandwagon that I was resisting jumping on, and I've been holding out on y'all about why. I've had two sweater designs accepted by JCA yarns for their fall 2006 line, and the time frame in which to knit the items and write up the patterns is very, very short. I'm also working on a sample and pattern for another design, which will be in Amy Swenson's upcoming crochet book. Oh yeah, and there's still that other thing, what was it? Oh. I remember. Grad school. So knitting for myself is sort of out of the picture right now. As is sleep.
But. My country is calling, and I can't refuse. I'm sure my mother will approve*. I've decided to make one of my JCA sweater designs (the more complicated one that's done on the tiny needles, because I am CRAZY) my Knitting Olympics project. The only glitch is that aside from a few artful photos to show off the gorgeous, gorgeous yarn I get to use, I can't really show my progress on the blog. So at the end of the Olympics, I am going to send Stephanie a photo to prove I succeeded (assuming I do. . . ), and the rest of you will have to trust that I'm not fooling and inflating how much I got done. Okay?
I can't even tell you how badly I want one of these Team Canada jerseys. But sadly, my paypal is empty right now and the deadline to order is tomorrow, so I'll just be writing "Team Canada" in Sharpie marker on an old t-shirt instead. I'm sure my country will understand.
* Just think about it -- it would be like as if we were doing it for the CN Tower, or Lake Louise, or the Toronto Maple Leafs... it would be like as if we were doing it for... Tim Hortons!
**Thanks to Kelly for the button!
January 20, 2006
That Must Have Cardigan is going to be one dirty sweater
Because I have hardly taken it off since finishing it.
Excuse the crappiness of the photo, I was in too great a hurry to set up the tripod and do it right. I finished this for Tuesday just like I said I would, but it's been a crazy week, too crazy to take the time to shoot a decent image of it, let alone post it here. I'll try to get a better one over the weekend.
Specs: the Must Have Cardigan from the Patons Street Smart booklet. I think I made the medium size, but it may have been the small (if I could find the leaflet right now I'd know for sure, but I've lost it somewhere, and had to make up the button band on my own). At any rate, it's quite fitted and a little short, because I made it as small as I could to save yarn. It doesn't have the buttonband gappyness I feared, but comes close. I'm never going to do up all the buttons anyway, and so far have just been closing the top two.
The yarn is a two-tone orange lambswool, recycled from a men's sweater bought secondhand. I should just save myself some typing and come up with an acronym for that, since I almost never buy new yarn for anything. I had just barely enough yarn to finish, and actually had to go digging in my garbage pile of little scraps and ends to find a 15" piece to spit-splice into my bind off row on the buttonband. I am very, very lucky. As it is, the bind off ought to have been a tad looser, but I think I can block it out. If I can't, it'll just have to curl a little, because there is NO YARN left.
The buttons are vintage wooden ones that I've been saving for around ten years, waiting for the perfect thing to put them on. This is definitely it. (a close up of the buttons to come).
My other exciting new acquisition of the week is one of these, and I've been playing with it during all of my little scraps of spare time this week (there hasn't been much of that, so I may also have played with it when I was supposed to be, um, reading stuff for class. woops.). Tonight I'm taking it home so that I won't be tempted to use it in the studio when I should be doing my real work; I'll have some pictures of my first batch of buttons tomorrow.
January 05, 2006
I could have used this last week when I had all those Lotto 6/49 tickets
I got a special surprise in the mail yesterday. It was addressed to "RESIDENT", but I know it was meant just for me.
Someone wants to pray for me. How nice of them!
Inside was this Prayer Rug, which is beautifully printed on the finest newsprint and also Soaked with the Power of Prayer just for Me! There was also a lovely pamphlet telling me all about the other people who had been Saved or Healed! or Blessed with Money and a 6-bedroom House and a New Car. Also there was a nice personal letter (addressed to Dear. . . Someone Connected with This Address) telling me how to kneel on the rug and where to put it after and offering for everyone in their church to pray for me to receive any of the blessings I check off on their list, and all I have to do is pray on the rug and return it to them with a Seed Gift to the Lord! It only makes sense that a donation would be required, since most of the blessings they expect people to ask for have to do with money.
So I knelt on the rug just like they said to, and stared into the closed eyes of Jesus and prayed about sowing a seed gift to the Lord's Work. And his eyes opened and gazed into mine, just like the letter said they would! I felt blessed; I felt the warm light of Jesus shining down on me. Or up on me, actually, since Jesus was on the floor and I was kneeling on him. Whatever, don't nitpick my religious experience, okay? So I checked off on their list all the ways I want to be blessed (A Closer Walk With Jesus; My Soul; Confusion In My Home which I think might mean "my son says he's gay" or "my daughter wants to go to college instead of getting married", but since I'm so often confused about stuff I thought it wouldn't hurt to ask for a blessing to get rid of my Confusion), and now I'm all ready to send it back with my Seed Gift. I'm going to send them all my Canadian Tire Money, and the pecans I picked up out of the driveway. Because pecans are expensive, you could plant an orchard and bless a lot of people with the profits. Also, Everyone needs Hardware, Even the Lord.
People, I may just be saved. I'll keep you posted.
Block me baby, block me baby, all night long
Just for Sandy, who didn't really believe that I would finish one of my cardigans over the break, here's a picture of the Must Have Cardigan blocking. Now how long do you think it will take me to do the finishing? Maybe I should ask those people to pray for my productivity.
December 23, 2005
We're sorry. . .
I can't come to the blog right now, I'm far too busy playing Kingdom of Loathing. Hey, quit laughing. It's no more geeky than reading about people's knitting on the internet. But because I know that most of y'all are geeky that way, here's my slow progress on the knitting I brought home with me for the holiday.
I'm still languishing on sleeve island with the Must Have Cardigan, but I only have to repeat that big diamond motif one more time before I hit the home stretch of the shoulder decreases. I'm still not sure how to deal with the closure on this one, but I'm really leaning away from a button band right now; besides my fear of button gap-age, I really don't want to do that much more knitting on the thing. I was thinking of maybe finishing off the opening edge with an attached i-cord instead and throwing in a two-way zipper, but that means I'd have to learn how to do an attached i-cord. Is that easy? Is it excruciatingly slow?
I've been breaking up the monotony of Sleeve Island by working in the odd row on the back of the Urban Aran, which is pretty close to the armhole now. I haven't really been working much on either of them except for when I'm away from the house*, because I've got all these design swatches keeping me busy at home. Plus my sketchbook project, plus my silly online game. Whew! Life's tough when you're on vacation eh?
The good news is that Peter and I are all ready for The Holiday That Shall Not be Named, and we don't have to go back to the Infernal Mall again. Wednesday night's mall madness expedition was frustrating and painful, and we still had to go back again this morning. Ugh. Two more days, and the schmaltz-fest will be over. I can't wait. This picture pretty much sums up how I feel about the Season of Getting (TM):
How I've longed to knock the head off of one of those singing Santas.
There was a little bit of holiday festivity in our visit to the Infernal Mall this morning, in the gee-it's-good-to-be-home sense; here's about as all-Canadian a treat as you can get.
Tim's and a butter tart. Let the overeating begin!
*have you ever tried knitting with long straight needles while perched on the edge of an examining table in one of those blue paper gowns while waiting for your pap smear? Fortunately the doctor didn't walk in and catch me standing with the front of the gown flapping open while fishing in my satchel for another ball of yarn; that would have been just my style. Still, by the time the doctor got there I'd poked a hole or two in my gown with the needles. I'm classy like that.
December 15, 2005
Not as much progress as I'd hoped on the Gift for Someone Very Special. It's actually really hard to knit, too tight, brutal on my poor soft fingers and also made of Red Heart, which means it squeaks like a little baby banshee on the cheap needles I'm using. But that's okay, Someone Very Special won't mind if it's not ready for any certain date that's not my holiday anyway. Especially when there are so many important things to do right now, snow to be shoveled, friends to be visited, tea to be drunk, kitties to be petted, doodles to be. . . doodled (doos to be dled?).
If any of you smarty-pantses out there think you can guess what the Gift is, please do me a favour and don't leave a guess in the comments. I want Someone Very Special to be surprised.
Not much else is getting accomplished, other than the aforementioned doodling and tea-drinking. I promised Sandy that I would finish at least one of the cardigans I brought home with me (that would be the Must Have, of course, since it's the closest to being done), but now I have some design swatching to be done on a really short deadline, so I'm not to be held responsible if there's still no Must Have come January. Trying to find a way to pay the rent on the Athens shack I'll be paying for all summer even though I may not be living there and won't be getting paid is more important, and that means swatching and designing. More news on that as it breaks.
Today I shoveled my way out of the house and slogged my arse many, many blocks (okay, only about four, actually) through the rude wind's wild lament and the bitter weather to visit Mita, who's housebound with a brand new baby. And finally, finally! I got to meet beautiful Mats, who is an absolute doll (of course). He pretty much slept on me the whole time I was there, which was really nice because babies usually hate me. And his head smells so good.
Today is the Rob-and-Jodi birthday limbo day; Rob is two years and two days older than me so in the past we've averaged our ages and had a joint party. Today RobandJodi is 35 (which means, in case you miss my dumbass logic, that yesterday Rob turned 36). Since it's too late to say happy birthday, go wish him a happy RobandJodiday instead, and tell him to get off his arse and start posting on the blog again. Oh, and happy birthday sweetie, sorry it's a day late but I'm a slackass that way. You can get me back for it tomorrow.
December 12, 2005
Sweet, sweet home
It's so good to be back in the snow and cold. I even got to go out and shovel on my first day home! The novelty of that will no doubt wear off quickly, but for now I'm happy.
The trip was pretty uneventful despite my apprehension. I wasn't afraid of the actual flying, just afraid of the airport; I'm always paranoid and prone to panic in places like that, and convinced that I'm going to get lost or walk into the wrong place and never find my way out again and it will all end in tears and possibly starvation in some janitor's closet or disused stairwell that I went into thinking it was the bathroom and the door locked behind me and when they find my body it will be all dry and crackly and the only way they'll know it's me is because I'm the only dried-up decomposed skeleton with three wisdom teeth. Fortunately Sandy is very tolerant and understanding and she held my hand all the way to the security area, and despite the fact that I almost gave birth to my entire digestive system in the parking lot when I found out I had to actually ride a TRAIN from the airport to the terminal, it wasn't that hard. It helps that they herd you like cattle and there's really no way to get lost. As for the flight itself, it wasn't all that exciting. I sort of expected the plane to be, you know, really big; instead it was the same width as a city bus, and not really anything like the movies (that's right, I'm such a hick that I thought flying in an airplane was going to be just like in the movies). But you know the part when you get up past the clouds and into the sun and then they tell you you're at 35000 feet and it's hot and unbelievably bright and you're looking down at a soft, wet white tundra, way down below? I sort of wanted to stay there. Forever. Except I'd rather not stay there with the actual people who were on that plane with me, especially the cell phone lady.
My plane got in at suppertime so we went straight to my favourite restaurant to gorge ourselves on Ethiopian food.
I really, really missed this. Then Saturday I got to have my grape leaf sandwich, so now my belly is well stuffed with the foods I can't get in Athens. I wonder how well those sandwiches would freeze if I brought ten or so back to Georgia with me?
As promised, here are the finished graduation socks, photographed right here in my own home on my great-great-grandmother's sewing chair, with a fat (and apparently itchy) kitty in the background for a little extra stripeyness (have I mentioned how happy I am to be here?). The specs: Lion Brand Magic Stripes yarn; at first I used the Pom Squad pattern, but my novice attempts at short-row heels came out so holey, messy and weird-fitting that I unraveled the whole lot and did them according to my bog-standard sock formula instead, top-down with a reinforced heel flap. The fit is perfect, with just the right amount of ankle cleavage showing.
Here's my progress on the back of the Patons Urban Aran:
It started out as this cardigan, which I realized later just wasn't going to look good at all, since I'd had to block the ribbing so roughly to fit me. I had originally thought that I didn't have enough of the red to make a whole sweater but then I found an extra stash of it, so I'm pretty sure there's enough for the Urban Aran. I'm going to do the front in two pieces to make it a zip cardigan, and not do the collar so long.
See those lovely centre-pull balls at the top? Wonderful Sandy gave me a ball winder as an early birthday gift. Makes me wish I'd brought more yarn with me so I could wind it all up. Whee!
Today's project is a gift for Someone Very Special, which I hope to have ready to give by Wednesday or so. You can see I have a lot done already.
December 04, 2005
Rats at the door
At least, they're too small to be wolves.
One of the closet doors in the Shack has these funny little footprints on it, from some kind of (very dirty) rodent. Yes, I've lived here for two months and haven't washed it off yet. I don't intend to wash it; I don't really care that much, actually, and also I think it's kind of neat. Peter and I were speculating that perhaps the rodent ran over the door while it way lying down somewhere, not attached to the closet, but I just now noticed that there are a few prints on the trim as well.
I know you're all dying for a rat-print close up, so here you go.
Obviously a rat didn't just climb up the door, but it doesn't seem all that likely that someone would hold a rat up there and let it scrabble its feet so many times. Also, who lets their pet rat get that dirty?
I suppose the marks could have been made by someone drawing on the door with a heated fork, but again, who would do that?
This happens to also be the closet I hang my clothes in, and I noticed this afternoon that when I open the door I can smell stale cigarette smoke from my wanker neighbour, who is a heavy, heavy smoker. So now all of my clothes are going to stink, and moving them to the only other closet won't help, since it's on the same wall (both on the other side of the wall from his living room) and stinks too. So I'm going to have to rig up some way to hang my clothes out in the room instead, which will be a splendid way to make this place seem even more temporary and grotty a living space. I'm fighting my passive aggressive desire to turn my music up just to punish Mr. Wanker for stinking up my closets, but he likely wouldn't make the connection anyway (never mind the fact that it would be CHILDISH! because, heh, I never act childish). Besides, I learned that this is an ineffective strategy back when we lived upstairs from Louie; no matter how loud I turned up my stereo, it never deterred him from stinking up our apartment by cooking pork all day, every day.
In tooth news, I can now eat crunchy things again (only chewing on the side opposite the gaping wound, of course). The hole is closing fast, and already it's just a weird deep divot instead of a huge gaping chasm. Today I didn't take any painkillers. Whee! Also, my TMJ (same side as the bad tooth) seems to suddenly be a lot less troublesome.
It's pouring rain outside, which just doesn't seem right for the fourth of December. This afternoon was so warm that I opened my kitchen window for a few hours to let in some air. Peter was pretty unhappy when he heard that; he thinks the weather is conspiring against him (because it's always beautiful here, except for when he visits) and of course, I'm rubbing it in. But really, I'm tired of this. I can't wait to get home to the snow (six more sleeps!). How much would you like to bet that the snow back home will all melt by the time my plane touches down in Detroit on Saturday evening? Because the weather, she conspires against ME.
There's a brand new Knitty out tonight, and it's freaking huge. On my must-knit list: the utterly adorable Kate; Mandy's gorgeous lacey scarf; the Tubey sweater (why do I always like the things that look good on the skinny girls when I know they will cling to my love handles like blubber to a seal? too bad, I'm making this anyway).
November 30, 2005
Hump day special
Alice is part camel hair (I can't tell you exactly how much of Alice is camel and how much is wool because her tag was tragically lost in a hideous incident of violence involving the sewing scissors and the scratched-up skin on the back of my neck). I do remember that she is from Emanuel Ungaro, and she used to wear a nasty fake fur collar-and-cuffs set, which fortunately was only held on with snaps so it never actually made it out of the thrift store with Alice and me (I ripped them off in disgust and gave them to the lady in front of me in line, who wanted to put them on her jean jacket. That's right, people, I tore the sweater apart before I'd even paid for it).
Alice and me haven't gone out together in a while now, and while I still think she's very pretty and soft and I love to caress her, I just can't get over how frumpy she is, and how frumpy she makes me look (never mind that it might be me who is making Alice look frumpy. Shut up!). I just can't abide my belly in a button-up cardigan, and Alice, while she fit me very well, had a bit of the dreaded between-the-buttons gape going on.
Look at her nifty, nifty cables though. They sort of look like a long line of embracing spiders.
Don't they? Oh. Maybe it's just me then.
Anyway, dear readers, I think you'll all agree that poor Alice was in need of a drastic makeover if she was ever going to look good out on the town embracing my chub as she so clearly wants to. And I miss being cocooned in her soft camellyness. But not quite enough to put up with looking frumpy; it's such a thin line between sexy and frump for me as it is. So Alice and I got together and discussed it, and here is what she looks like today:
I know, I know, you're all on the edge of your seats. What's to become of the remains of Alice? I'm thinking maybe this.
(image shamelessly lifted from savannahchik Jody). Also from Jody I learned that there is a knitalong (en anglais!) for this sweater, and lo and behold they have done all the work of translating the pattern from the French. I'm reluctant to join a knitalong, since it doesn't really suit my carefully calculated outsider image to be too much of a joiner. Okay, I'm kidding. The truth is I just find knitalongs to be project killers (hello, Must Have Cardigan? I'll make you a deal, sweetie. Don't tell anyone that I just shoved you back into the yarn lockers with only half a sleeve left to go, right after taking a photo of your sole unfinished sleeve and promising the entire internet that I would finish you. And if you can keep your mouth shut I'll try to finish you up over the winter break. Deal?). So I thought I'd just help myself to the pattern and not join the knitalong. But that seems like shitty behaviour, and it's kind of nagging at me now. Do y'all think that's shitty? Yeah. Okay, I'll join. Right after I swatch and make sure that this is the perfect new look for Alice.
Wanna hear something cool? While Peter was here we went out and bought me a headset for the laptop, and tonight for the first time we talked using Skype! I am so excited about this. Because it's free, and it doesn't hurt my head like that stupid cordless phone that's always slipping off my shoulder if I try to take my hand away. Now I can talk and knit at the same time, or talk and work, or talk and, um, maybe play the dorky online game that someone got me addicted to. So. Is anyone else out there on Skype? I need another addictive online pastime like I need a hole in my jaw (woops, got one of those too!), so let's talk. As long as you're not a stalker, or one of those gross dudes who send me e-mails with slyly abusive sexual innuendo (you know who you are, creeps).
And, in case you needed further proof of my dorkiness (and the dorkiness of certain other people we know): Peter and I went out for supper with Carrieoke last week, and as we were walking to the restaurant we bumped into the High Energy Jenny family, on their way to the same restaurant. So it was one big noisy excitable knitter partay. But here's the dorky part. On the way out the door I had contemplated putting on my Clapotis and decided not to. Both Jenny and Carrie were wearing Clapotis (they were both a little unhappy with their Claps, so they swapped and now are both happily wearing them all around the town-o). AND. Not only were Carrie and Jenny both knitting the same socks, but they were the exact same socks whose pattern Peter had caught me gazing at with longing earlier in the afternoon. Gah. So I guess I am a joiner after all.
November 23, 2005
At long last, my boobs have a holder
Boobholder redux is finally finished. I had to rip and reknit the bottom part several times, making it tighter each time in order to eke out enough yarn to get it long enough. It's now perfect - a tad bit tight but I think that unlike last spring, the blocking will cause it to stretch out just enough to fit perfectly, rather than growing so big that my (little) boobs swim around.
Too bad it's too cold for cap sleeves right now.
Specs: pattern from Glampyre; I modified the sleeves by not making them puffy; yarn is 100% merino, recycled of course, and dyed orange by me. This is the same yarn I made the Clapotis with, just dyed a different colour. Pretty good haul for a two dollar secondhand sweater, eh?
You probably won't hear too much from me over the weekend, and here's why:
My beloved is here.
Tomorrow we're having Thanksgiving dinner (November seems like such a stupid time to have Thanksgiving. . . ) at Hockey Mom's, then we're all going to see Bauhaus in Atlanta (yes, Peter and I are now at that age where we've become a "music of your life" target market. Bauhaus and Gang of Four and other such groups all touring at once, it's like a Gen-X Big Chill, isn't it?). I do plan on doing some work in the studio while Pete's here, but if you don't see any new studio pictures on Saturday then we probably decided to spend the whole day in bed instead. Y'all can deal with that, right?
November 16, 2005
Posts like this bore my poor boyfriend to tears.
Here are some things that I'm knitting right now (please remember that I live in a dingy shack in the trees, and excuse the piss-poor lighting):
First up, the long-suffering Glampyre boobholder. This is the same one I finished months ago, which fit perfectly until after I blocked it. I barely have enough yarn, so right now I'm knitting and unraveling and knitting and unraveling and knitting, trying to get it as long as I can with the yarn I have. This will be the last time, I think. Of course now that I've said that I'm sure to mess up again; the knitting gods don't take well to hubris.
This is boobholder #2, which will have longer sleeves. I haven't decided yet, but I'm thinking perhaps they will stop just above the elbow. I've used a yarn over increase for the raglan shaping (the same as the one above), and added a vertical line of yarn overs down the sleeve to match:
The colours are more accurate in the detail picture; it's a recycled lambswool with three plies, one brown, one pale blue and one dark blue. This is my current bus knitting and is probably about a week and a half from completion if I only knit on the bus. Maybe longer, though, because I really want to walk to campus more often instead.
Here's yet another top-down raglan cardigan, this one loosely based on Laura's pattern in Take Back the Knit 2. I say loosely because I started with the same number of cast on stitches, but haven't looked at the pattern since because the zine got buried under the crap on my kitchen table. I'll probably add a hood, and switch to some other colour for the bottom half, since I'm likely going to run out of green. It's another recycled lambswool. Just in case you were thinking for a minute that I might have actually bought yarn, or something. As if.
This is something I'm test knitting for Amy. I have to finish this up over the weekend in order to give any sort of useful feedback in time. It's a mix of Noro Kureyon, leftover Lamb's Pride Worsted from the kitty hat, a bit of the green lambswool from the cardigan above, and some other odds.
This is the left front of another cardigan, and it's reminding me why I don't make sweaters from Vogue Knitting anymore. I found three miscrossed cables in the chart for the large cable pattern. Argh! Because of ripping out and fixing fucked-up cable crosses, I've got a whopping five inches done on this. But that's okay, because I've promised Hockey Mom that I won't work another stitch on this until I'm finished the Must Have Cardigan:
This is the second sleeve, half finished. After that all I have to do is decide, buttons or zipper? and finish it. I've decided not to bother going back and fixing the cable I miscrossed in the braid, way down near the four inch mark on the left front. Nobody will ever notice it, and I solemnly swear that I will refrain from pointing it out to every single person who compliments me on my sweater.
When the time comes I'll have to get you guys to help me decide on the buttons v. zipper thing. I would put a zipper in everything if I could, but I've got these sweet little vintage wooden buttons cut in a pinwheel pattern that would just rock this sweater. I'm worried, though, that it'll be too tight and I fear the gapey-holes over my paunch more than I fear death itself. So we'll have to have a little try-on after I block her as fiercely as I can, and then you guys will have to be totally honest with me about my gut, mmmkay?
One more promise: after these things are done, I won't knit anything else orange for a while. All my t-shirts are green or red or brown, for crying out loud; I have no idea what I'm going to wear all this orange with as it is.
November 12, 2005
Big news for big girls
Big Girl Knits will be available on April 18, 2006. It's available to pre-order from Amazon, of course, but there's plenty of time to pester your local independantly-owned bookstore or yarn store to order it. And I have a pattern in there! So, does anybody know whose design that is on the cover? I love it.
Also, today is Neil Young's 60th birthday. And I'm feeling a little pissy that all my Neil Young records are eight hundred miles away, even if I did have a solid enough floor in this stupid shaky Shack to use my record player. And my cds are at the studio, which I can't get to today because of the Georgia Bulldogs and their stupid drunken tailgating fans. Fortunately I can at least listen to his two latest records on his website (psst. . . Pete, you can buy Prairie Wind on vinyl). Thanks Neil, and happy birthday. And the Nobel Prize for Rock and Roll is totally yours.
October 31, 2005
The sweater was started on Peter's birthday in April, and completed in September. I guess if I want to make him another sweater for his next birthday, I had better start now.
October 27, 2005
On wankers and stupid people
(the wanker is my next-door neighbour; the stupid person is me). But first, new hat!
This was finished two days ago but it took me that long to get a decent enough picture. Okay, almost finished. It still needs some pompoms on the ends of the strings, just as soon as I can remember how to make them.
It's the Kittyville hat from Stitch 'n Bitch, worked on size 4.5mm needles in Lamb's Pride worsted. I think I'll block it a bit bigger so my massive hair fits under it better, but other than that I'm pretty happy with it. And I'm suddenly obsessed with making hats, when just last week I said I looked dorky in them. I guess dorky can sometimes be kind of cute too, I just needed to find the perfectly cute amount of dorkness.
Speaking of kitties, last night I dreamed of a tearful and rather stressful reunion with the Fats. Tearful, of course, because I miss them terribly, and stressful because they were afraid of me and trying to run away. Fat girl in particular acted like she had never seen me before, like I couldn't possibly be the person whose bed she was born in and who fed her fat ass for eleven years, and she scratched my boob and it bled. The scratching part wasn't that unusual, she does that all the time. But, I really want to go home. And see if those fatties even remember who I am.
so here's the stupid part
Let me tell you a story about what a techno-dumbass I am (Norma, you are not the only one! My microwave has a dial on it too, and I can't even operate a tv remote). So the other day I was using my laptop in the computer lab at school (I bring my laptop because I am terrified of the Macs the school has) and I needed to print something. I e-mailed the document to my Yahoo address, unplugged the network cable from my laptop and stuck it back into the Mac I stole it from, logged in to the Mac, opened up my document and hit "print". When it only printed one page I thought maybe the printer was out of paper, so I asked the undergrad guy who's the lab monitor how to put paper in it (that's right, because I can't figure out for myself how to open up a drawer and stick paper in, okay?). Anyway, that wasn't the problem. So we futzed around for a while trying to get it to print, until finally it told us it wasn't connecting to the printer.
Because, I started printing the document and then immediately unplugged the network cable and put it back in my laptop.
(we will pause a moment, while the laughter dies down)
Norma, I think I have you beat. I am that stupid. That poor boy probably breathes a thankful sigh of relief every time he comes in for his shift and I am NOT here.
the wanker part
Did I tell you guys that my neighbour has an electric guitar? And he plays nothing but wanker music. Seriously wanker music, like Smoke on the Water and Crazy Train. Sometimes he gets up and plays his wanker guitar music at four in the morning, and it's like sleeping next to a twelve year old Eddie van Halen. Argh. Actually, I'm betting that Eddie van Halen was a better guitar player at twelve than this guy is; he's probably some kind of wanker prodigy, don't you think? Thank goodness I didn't make the room right next to his apartment my bedroom; in the next room over it's quiet enough that sometimes it doesn't wake me up, although I do hear it in my sleep. Ew.
In case you're thinking that I'm just being mean about the guy's guitar playing and he's really not that much of a wanker, here's a story that Jenn told me (she lives in one of the little shacks behind mine). The only time Jenn ever talked to my wanker neighbour was one night when he knocked on her door, after trying all the other shacks and being turned down, and tried to sell her and her roommate a package of meat for five dollars so he could buy cigarettes. A package of meat that had been in his fridge for the gods know how long, and then carried around outside for a while, maybe getting all warm and soft in his hand as he tried to convince the other shack-dwellers what a great deal they were getting. So now I'm studiously avoiding my neighbour's eye any time I see him outside, lest he try to get me to buy some gross old meat, or something worse.
October 23, 2005
If I had a smartie launcher
I was a little alarmed to see these laid out on the wine table at our show Friday evening: Rockets, lots and lots of Rockets. That in itself isn't alarming, after all Hallowe'en is next week and pigging out on Rockets is kind of a yearly tradition for me. But look: these Rockets are called Smarties. They look exactly like Rockets, they taste exactly like Rockets, and the packaging is exactly the same. Except that they don't say Rockets.
Apparently Rockets can be called Smarties in the States because they don't have real Smarties here. I know, I know, it's sad, isn't it? So if I were to say "do you eat the red ones last?" to someone here, something I might actually do since my head is packed full of jingles from 1970s commercials, they wouldn't know what I was talking about. Kind of like when I said "hey you kids, get out of that Jell-O tree" to the kids in my practicum. Yeah, I know, the next tattoo I get will be a big "L" on my forehead, okay?
I'm confused about the so-called "Smarties" being made in Canada, though. If they were produced in Canada first, why can't they just import them to the States under the name Rockets? Shit like this keeps me up at night, I'm telling ya.
In other news, new hat!
I am much happier about my new hat than I appear in the picture. Love you, Manos! All I want for Christmas is more more more Manos (howdoyoulikeit? howdoyoulikeit?). And I think I don't look too dorky in it, either, which only proves that Manos del Uruguay is MAGIC.
October 20, 2005
Use it! Zip it! Toss it! (this episode of jodi's weblog complies with CRTC Cancon regulations)
Okay, first, about the yogurt. Please remember that I'm Canadian and thus it's part of my genetic makeup to complain about the States. I didn't mean to imply that ALL American yogurt is disgusting. Just that the stuff I can get at my neighbourhood grocery store is. I live next to the BiLo, people. I actually tried the BiLo store brand, because it was the only gelatin-free kind there, and it was beyond disgusting. It was lumpy and runny at the same time, and the jam layer at the bottom was a solid, rubbery slab of jam, and you know how when you put watery jam on a piece of white bread and let it sit, the jam and bread sort of mix into a wet spongey thing? That's what had happened to the yogurt where it was sitting right on top of the rubber jam-slab. So. Gross. I have tried Stoneyfield and it's very good; it's just that I don't have a car or a bicycle so it's kind of a pain in the arse to get out to where I can buy the good stuff.
Lunastrixae, Astro definitely does not have the consistency of lube. I like my yogurt firm. The reason they use gelatin is because of the "low fat" craze; they take out all of the milk fat so that they can market the product as low fat, and without the milk fat it falls apart, and yes, is probably a lot like lube. So gelatin goes in to firm it up again. Personally I'd rather have the fat, which is obvious to anyone who's ever seen my love handles. Also, I am a little freaked out by all the growth hormones and antobiotics and pus and grossness that is in milk (which I don't drink anyway, since I'm allergic to it), so I probably should be sticking with the organic stuff.
So. Let me tell you about my Wednesday evening. After a long and miserable trip to Atlanta in which the bus was 45 minutes late (fortunately for me and my fellow Greyhound travellers, entertainment was provided by a teenaged girl screaming her head off while resisting arrest on the floor near the pop machines, making the wait seem a lot longer but, at least, not boring), another imaginary friend was verified to be flesh and blood. And look at how cute she is.
Don't worry. Steph's fingers didn't really get eaten by the sock puppet. It may have consumed a considerable amount of her whiskey sour, though; it was acting a little crazy.
Hockey Mom and I picked up Steph and we went out for some Ethiopian food, which I've kind of been craving. Unfortunately I would give the restaurant we went to about a three out of ten; the mesir wot (red lentils) was good enough that I asked for more, but the yekik alich'a (split peas) was cold, they didn't have the cabbage, one of my favourites, and there were a couple of dishes I'm not familiar with that were boring. Also, they had videos playing on a big screen t.v. instead of music. But lucky for me, the company more than made up for the ambiance. Hanging out with Sandy is always a blast, and Steph is a really sweet, fun and funny person. And you wouldn't believe how homesick I was for a Canadian accent, ANY Canadian accent.
Supper was followed by drinks and knitting in the bar back at Steph's hotel (in case you were wondering, I'd also give the hotel bar only about a three out of ten, because nice booths with high sides for privacy just don't make up for running out of Guinness as soon as I get there). But we had a great time anyway. Here's proof that knitting happened:
Okay, they may just be pretending to knit for the camera. But almost as much stitching as bitching really did get done, and both Steph and Sandy tried knitting a few stitches on my current project (knitted with strips of cut-up garbage bags, and visible on the table there next to my pint) and proclaimed it really gross-feeling.
Sandy can't believe how small Steph's needles are. I can't believe they let her on the plane with them; don't you know you could jab a dpn into someone's eye and right into their brain? Sheesh.
There was also some picture-taking going on. And gift-giving:
Steph brought us some lovely stitch markers that she made (Sandy's excited, now she has enough markers for Clapotis), and I gave her a bunch of my shrinky-dink beads to use for more markers, so hopefully we'll see pictures soon of what she does with them. Steph didn't bring the marble slab or the Russian matchbox, though; for that I went into a total stranger's house tonight just to use his belongings as a cool backdrop for the markers. Really, I did. I couldn't get my laptop connected on his cable internet, though, so I had to come back home to post the pictures. Plus, total-stranger-guy's dogs kept licking my keyboard.
Steph also brought me this, because she knows how small my bladder has become in my old age (gone are the days when I could work an eight-hour shift and hold it, only having to close my store to run and pee once all day. Now I seem to expel three teacups worth of pee for every cup of tea. How does that happen?).
It's a bag you can pee in, full of some sort of crystals that turn your pee to GEL so that it won't leak all over your hands and trousers while you're looking for a garbage can to throw it in. And it's biodegradable. Because it's a sin to spill your pee on the ground when you could put it in a disposable container first. Come on, this is America, people! Everything is better in a disposable container, even pee. (Before you guys get all crazy-mad on me, let me just say that Canada is just as bad for excessive packaging as the States is.)
October 14, 2005
"Forced to wear soft angora sweaters"
I see from the search stats that Glen (or Glenda) has been to my website again, the perv.
You guys are in TROUBLE
I love my internet friends, and I think you guys are usually pretty good at looking out for me. So how come, when I was caught up in the huge life decision of choosing a graduate school, not a single one of you thought to warn me that I was considering moving to a state where vibrators are illegal? Come on, people. This is important information, and y'all held out on me. Didn't you know I'd be too scared to bring one across the border, lest our car get searched? Especially after that time they grilled me about the "craft products", and I thought they meant I was trying to smuggle Kraft products into the U.S. (they just meant my knitting). I think maybe somebody needs to atone for this gross oversight by sending me one in the mail (in an unmarked package, please, I don't want to lose my student visa and get deported). I'm kind of partial to the ones that have a really realistic shape but are a crazy colour. Oh, and while you're at it, send one to Snowball too, because I see she also lives in a backward, uncivilized state that bans vibrators. I just have to say one more time, what is wrong with these people?
For those of you who still think this blog is about knitting
Here are the superexciting knitting pictures I promised; sorry about the quality, but my shack is surrounded by trees and english ivy. Not a lot of light gets in.
Here's the body of the cardigan I started the night I stayed over at Sandy and Bob's. The red is merino, the brown (it's brown! not black, although I was going to do black until Sandy very wisely reminded me that my sweater would be "way too UGA". Good call, Sandy) is lambswool. Both are recycled from secondhand sweaters.
Because I was gullible enough to believe a filthy, lying gauge swatch, I now have to block this bad girl to within an inch of her yarny life in order to make her stretch around my chub (my chub is new, improved and bigger than ever since coming to Athens; what the hell am I climbing up and down all these damned hills for every day if it's just making me MORE CHUBBY?). Sheesh. Anyway, the sleeves will have the stripey switch to brown at the same height as in the body, and then I'll pick up the neck stitches for a (brown) hood. I decided to use the brown because I didn't think I'd have enough red for a hooded sweater, and then while I was getting ready to move I found a motherload of the red. Ah well, matching scarf I guess.
Here's all I've done on the first sleeve of Arisaig. See, Anna? I am way behind you. I'm not quite as far behind as I look, though, because I'm doing 3/4 sleeves instead of the long ones the pattern calls for. I love sleeves that come down past my wrist, but the sleeves on this sweater are so narrow that I know they will interfere with my bracelets (which I never take off) and make me mental. So I started the increases right after the garter stitch edge, and will just hold it up against my arm to decide when to start the armscye decreases.
The yarn is (say it with me, kids) recycled, 100% cotton with two strands of different pale olive greens. I haven't decided what colour to use for the contrast edging yet, but was thinking maybe orange, tan or brown. Or if I cop out and use something from stash, it'll likely be black.
No pics yet of Sgt. Pepper, because I'm embarrassed at how little I've done for something that knits up so fast. It's just that, well, did I mention that the yarn turns my hands black? I think I'm going to have to knit up all the body pieces and then wash them with the sleeve yarn before I knit the sleeves, because I'm afraid to put white yarn anywhere near this stuff in case it leaks black dye all over the white cuffs the first time I wash it.
Super extra bonus feature: Norma's terrible secret revealed*
From this week's search query stats: "pictures of the legs of Norma's legs". Um, Norma's legs have LEGS on them? Big legs, or little ones? Do they stick out, do they show in trousers? How does she fit them all under her little court reporter desk?
I guess now we know why we only see pictures of Norma from the waist up. Norma, I'm so sorry. But I still think you're totally cute, despite the extra legs.
*I figure, if Snowball's going to kill me, Norma'd might as well kill me too.
September 22, 2005
Frustration and close calls
Yesterday was sort of a low day. My afternoon class was the worst class I've attended in a long time. I won't go into too many details about it because I do like the professor and don't really want to complain about my program on the weblog, but everyone is pretty frustrated with what's going on in the class and yesterday was very, very tense. I made a really shitty drawing that was obviously and embarrassingly half-assed (that definitely has to stop). So. Frustrating.
After class I felt like I needed to do something productive in order not to have wasted an entire day, but didn't feel up to doing any studio work. So I stayed up late and pushed through on the Birthday Sweater, and I got it done. I had pretty much committed myself to having it ready for tomorrow (by making a date with the person who is going to model it for me), but had planned to finish it up tonight at knit night with the girls (you know, of course, that the only reason I submitted this design for publication was to give myself a deadline to work towards. And even then, now that the deadline is looming, I still had to step the deadline up a bit by arranging a photo shoot. Because that is the only way I can get anything done). And here's how much yarn is left:
Talk about tense. I was sweating all over by the end, not sure if I was going to run out. I even had to unravel my swatch, that's how close I was. I'm wearing the last bit of the yarn around my wrist today, just to remind myself of how stupid-lucky I am.
September 14, 2005
A little bit cunty (a little bit rock 'n' roll)
Yoni B. Goode. Oh yeah!
The Clorox bleach pen is my new best friend. This worked out so well that now I want to bleach every piece of clothing I own.
(Get a load of the cellulite on that arm. Rrrowr! You know it's sexy).
I finished the bus socks yesterday:
This represents about a week's worth of riding and waiting for the bus. But in that time I also knit the first sock down past the heel turn before realizing it was far too wide, so actually a week on the bus will net two and a half socks. Too bad after I finish the graduation pom squad socks I'm out of good sock yarn, because I still have two more weeks of riding this bus. I might have to break out the ugly-ass Kroy in desperation.
Last night was knit night at Anne Marie's, where I also finished the back of Peter's sweater. Sorry, no pictures (soon! I promise).
Okay now, on to other business:
Fiber has returned from whatever witness protection program she was in, and tagged me for a questionnaire. I usually don't like doing these, because come on! The questions are hard! But for Fiber I'll do it, as long as she promises to not go disappearing without a peep for another three months.
So here goes.
7 things I plan to do before I die
1. finish the damned attic OR sell the house, whichever is easier
2. see above, scratch "attic" and insert "garden"
3. finish school and become a real grown-up (I plan to do this before I'm 40)
4. travel across the continent and crash on the couches of every single blogger and internet friend foolish enough to offer (so watch what you say or I might show up on your doorstep!)
5. get matching tattoos with my brother Dave
6. burn down the malls
7. find more things to aspire to so questions like this aren't so hard
7 things I cannot do
2. dance (well, I can do the Korobushka, but that's not really one you can do at the clubs. . .)
3. sing in public. Now, I heard a rumour that some of my new knitting pals here in Athens love them some karaoke. I just want them to know right now that it ain't happening. I will be happy to attend karaoke and be the designated picture-taker and Guinness-drinker, but that is all. Unless they have Bat out of Hell, and you have bought me much, much Guinness first.
4. use American spellings. It's just lazy, people! It was really, really tough for me to type "Fiber" up there instead of "Fibre", and the only way I can do it is by telling myself it's a name, not a word.
5. do one of these questionnaires without bitching about the questions. Seven is a lot of things! Come to think of it, I can't fill out any kind of form without asking a bunch of dumb questions, or getting help.
6. what I'm told
7. get anything finished without a deadline
7 things that attract me to the opposite sex
2. a finely boned wrist. You might be the hottest thing on the planet, but if your wrists are thick like trunks? Don't touch me. God I'm shallow, aren't I?
4. a sort of refined sloppiness (not contrived though)
5. I'm attracted to people who think, and who care about ideas. There's nothing worse than being with an otherwise attractive person who has nothing interesting to talk about.
6. guys who think I'm totally sexy? That's a real turn-on for me, I must say (yep, shallow AND vain)
7. there's a certain jawline contour that makes my knees weak when I see it. Maybe it's because when I see other guys who have it, it reminds me of Peter, or maybe it's one of the things that attracted me to Peter in the first place. But it's definitely the reason I like him better without his beard.
7 things I say most often
2. Jesus Murphy
3. get outta town
4. yay! (oh, that drives Pete nuts)
5. I'm sure
6. harder! harder! (just kidding, Mom)
7. wah-wah (like Pingu)
7 celebrity crushes
Okay, here's where I have to cop out. I just don't have celebrity crushes. I don't really give a rat's ass about celebrities, I mean, it's not like they're real people. But I guess I could think of some artists and writers I sort of have crushes on:
Alice Munro, who is Canada's greatest living writer and would be a strong contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature if only short stories got the same respect that novels do. She is a master of the beautiful turn of phrase that dazzles you and then kicks you in the stomach while you're distracted.
Di Brandt, a fine Canadian poet and fascinating flake. She taught my Canadian literature course in the last semester of my undergrad, and she's just totally fabulous and charming and weird. I hope she doesn't mind that I called her a flake.
Betty Goodwin. I want to be her.
And I guess that Krista will out me if I don't admit that I would like to shag Bob Geldof; also I want to prove to y'all that I don't just get crushes on older women. Or just on Canadians. He's got nice wrists, and the casual disregard for hygeine, coupled with the elegant clothes, mmm.
Also: if cartoon characters count, I totally have a crush on Bobby Hill. "Mine's all sloppy, and no Joe!"
Okay, so that's not seven. But it's the best I can do.
September 10, 2005
studio saturday: people who don't know how to spell the word "dog", jammed mental jukeboxes, and finally some knitting that isn't secret
Well. It's been quite a week. I'm beginning to think that "grad school" may just be French for "colossal pain in the arse". I have spent an inordinate amount of time this week running around campus trying to pick up paperwork, have paperwork signed, deliver paperwork, jump through hoops and land in a big crunchy pile of incomplete paperwork. . .
It looks like a. . . whole bunch of people! Is there some kind of parade going on, or something?
Today I decided to ignore the good advice of my colleagues and venture onto UGA campus on a home game day. I really needed to get some work done in the studio, and also take some photos, it being Saturday and all. Well. Where I come from people don't make this kind of fuss over football, and I doubt that much money could be made in Canada scalping tickets for a university football game, but here it's big business. The game didn't even start until 5:30 but the tailgate parties had started by ten in the morning. There's no bus service on campus on game days, so I had to walk almost the whole length of campus to get to where I could catch a bus home. There were thousands of people swarming all over the place, and every grassy surface was covered in tents. I should have taken some photos but I was too confounded by the spectacle; it reminded me a bit of Pennsic, except that all the tents here were red and white and said Dawgs all over them. Also, although people were walking the streets drinking, just like at Pennsic, here I doubt it's legal. These people had their barbecues out there, and duelling sound systems, and I saw some with full bars set up under their tents. And everyone was wearing a red shirt, except for the sorority girls in the little black dresses (I'm serious!). It's nice to know that so many people have enough pride in their school team to party down all day long for one football game, but not enough pride in their beautiful campus not to drop their empty beer bottles all over the ground. The whole thing was a nightmare, but also pretty funny to watch. Are all American universities like this about their football, or are these people just totally crazy? The grossest thing I saw was on the way home on the bus, we passed someone who was selling bulldog puppies, real live ones.
studio saturday happened, despite the dawgs
I did manage to get some work done, and since everyone else is smart enough to stay home on game day, I had the shop to myself. First here are some examples of yesterday's press run, a big piece of unravelled knitting inked up in a minty-limey green (I told you I was going to do my first press run in the same colour as my Thai green curry) and printed on top of all those whitewashed prints.
The green looks amazing on this one, which is the only one I covered in red instead of white:
I cut a new linoblock last year, a second life-sized figure (from a photo taken a year later than the one I used for these works; it's a way of keeping track of the changes in my body over time, and in the newer image I'm a little fatter as well as having a new tattoo). I never had a chance to print it, though, so I'm finally doing so now. I printed it in a transparent pale yellow on top of some of the whitewashed prints with the green knitting pattern on them; here's a few drying in the rack:
This week I did the first stage of cutting on one section of my woodcut, just the whitest white parts:
Guess what, I still knit! Really!
Yes, that is an American flag patch on my quilt. Shut up! That quilt, and the one folded up under the stereo, cost me less than five dollars for the two.
After Peter's sweater got to be too big to bring on the bus, I started something else I can't tell you about, a gift for someone who reads this weblog. Now that's too big for travel too, so I had to start some socks. I haven't made socks in years (I did start the graduation socks, but stalled on them around the heel), but the bog-standard top-down plain sock with a reinforced heel is like a bicycle: you never forget how to ride it. Or something like that. This sock-and-a-half represents about three days of waiting for and riding the bus, including the first half-sock that I had already turned the heel on when I noticed it was way too big and had to frog. Clearly my commute is too long, and my bus too often late. Which brings me to my next bit of news. . .
Your what? Tin roof, rusted!
The commute to and from campus is already becoming way too stressful for me. There are no buses after suppertime or on Sundays, which means I can't work in my studio on campus at those times, because the apartment is way too far to walk to, and the Atlanta highway has no sidewalks anyway. So I found a place closer to campus that I'm going to move to in October. I'm really sorry to have to move out of Jenny's place, because she's a really sweet and fun person, and there are kitties here. But already my work is suffering because I live too far from the studio, and I'm here to work, after all.
The place I found is dirt cheap and truly grotty. It's half of a shack in a little shack-village that one of my colleagues in printmaking lives in, and it's a twenty minute walk from campus. From the outside this place looks like a run-down little shanty, but inside it has hardwood floors and the ceiling is at least ten feet high. And the clawfoot tub is red! I wish I could disconnect it and drag it into the middle of the big bedroom for a photo shoot.
Anyway. Ever since I moved here my mental jukebox has been caught on the same damned B52s song every day (yes, you know which song). Every time I think it might be gone, I go out to catch the bus and head down the Atlanta Highway, and there it is, stuck in my head again. I'd like to think that maybe once I'm not traveling to school that way anymore it will stop, but for the last two days, the part that keeps going around and around in my head is the part where the guy goes "funky little shack! FUNKY little SHACK!". Aaargh.
Peter, write this down
In the background of the sock photo above you can see another project that I did some work on today: when Peter and I were here in June we went to Wuxtry Records, and Peter said that once I started getting paid by the school I had to go there and buy one record every week. We're trying to build our collection a bit, and Peter the librarian geek is putting together a database to keep track of what we have. So here's what I bought today:
I know, it's more than one. But I have absolutely no control in a used record store. I can control myself better in a yarn store, believe it or not. The Cowboy Junkies one we looked at the last time we were there and I would have bought it then but Peter has more self control than me and he insisted we only buy one thing. But they still had it. It was the most expensive of all of these, I guess because it's "imported" (someone brought it down from Canada and traded it in).
Peter's sweater is oh! so! close! to being finished, and I'm going to go work on it now. I have to get it done soon, and there is no way I'm letting myself cast on for this, this, this OR this before his sweater is assembled and blocked.
August 28, 2005
Personality crisis, you got it while it was hot
Some people are still under the delusion that this weblog is about knitting. Just so I don't lose any more Bloglines subscribers with all my self-pity and moaning and lack of knitting content, here's a picture of something I finished last night.
Get a load of the glare on my shiny white belly: sex-ay! And those waistband creases, va va voom.
It's Stefanie's tube skirt from SnB Nation. I finished it up before leaving home but I had to redo the ribbing a little tighter. The truth is I've been working on nothing but Peter's sweater, since I'm on a deadline for it (I wanted to have it finished by now, of course), and can't show the progress on that to you just yet. But last night I pulled this skirt out and redid the ribbing so it would look like I'm still doing some knitting that isn't a secret.
The yarn is a cotton that I recycled from an old sweater. That should go without saying by now, eh? Y'all know exactly how cheap I am when it comes to buying yarn, but hey, if I've got some money to spend I'd rather buy paper for printmaking ('cause nobody's giving me a master's degree for knitting). And besides, there are so many lovely yarns out there in the thrift stores, just begging to be liberated from the ugly sweaters they've found themselves in. Think of it as a charitable action: save the yarn!
I made a few modifications: since I'll be wearing this exclusively as a skirt and not a shoulder thingy, I put ribbing at the top instead of the garter stitch edge that rolls. Because, as you can see in the photo, there are enough rolls around that area already. I also did a simple chevron lace pattern in the hem band instead of the bobbles on the original. Let's face it, bobbles are for skinnier girls than me. And my yarn was fatter than the yarn called for in the pattern, so I had to rejig the gauge in a big way.
imaginary friends made flesh
Last night Jenny organised a potluck at our place for me to meet some of her friends; Anne Marie came, and so did Carrie and Jacob. It was so strange seeing people walk in the door that I recognized from looking at pictures of them all the time on their blogs. Are they strangers? Or do I know them already? A bit of both, and a weird feeling. We had a blast, but I didn't take any photos to show. Some photos were taken by other people, but the best ones were not really the kind you want to put on the internet. All I'll say is that Carrie can put her whole fist in her mouth, and that those were among the worst pictures I have ever seen.
Well, okay. They weren't actually even close to the worst pictures I have ever seen. They're not even the worst pictures I've seen this week, because I've been doing a little bit of research on spider bites, just to put my mind at ease that these bites all over my right leg are nothing to worry about. I have two groups of bites behind my knee, one above (twelve days old) and one below (thirteen days old) as well as a smattering of individual bites across my thigh (eleven days old). The ones behind my knee are big and red, dried out and itchy. But it's okay. I looked at some pictures of brown recluse bites the other day (don't. don't ever look at pictures of that, if you can help it. I'm warning you) and now I'm not at all worried. Just itchy.
down with the past!
The blotting out of old images continues apace: yesterday I went in to the studio and covered up the rest of my old lithos with white ink, and put a second coat on those that I felt hadn't been sufficiently covered the first time. Now I'm ready to start printing on top of them. I also laid down some white ink on a couple of the cutout prints:
I have five of these that I printed on a tea-stained Japanese paper and never did anything with. I don't know what I'll put on top of them just yet, but I'm thinking of printing a layer of map-like lines, maybe in a green or blue so it will look like all those varicose veins I discovered on my legs one day at Pennsic when it was hot and I had nothing else to do but look at my own legs. I drove Pete, Miguel and Merouda crazy insisting that they look at all the little patches of spidery lines, and "look! there's more over here! Hey, there's a huge swath on this thigh too! On my ankle too! Look!". I was pretty excited to be getting old lady skin. Later when we went to a party where i.d. was being checked at the door, and Miguel and I had to walk all the way back to camp to get ours, I really wanted to show them my thighs instead. But it was too dark to fully appreciate the beauty of those fine little blue and purple cracks. But man, they're pretty.
Here are some more photos I took in the studio yesterday. In honour of a new school, new print shop and new beginnings for my work, I decided to retire my old printing apron and start fresh with a new one.
I found this one at Value Village, and it't just the thing, especially since I feel like I need to wear a Canadian flag on my forehead in order not to blend in with the infidels here in the U.S. Sing with me: I love Habitant, Habitant pea soup! Okay, not really. Ew, don't they put pork in there?
Here are my studio guardians: four cicada carapaces that I've found near Green Street. The two in the middle are bigger than any I've ever seen before. I have seven more back at the apartment that I picked up at Pennsic, including three found on the first day that spent the week lined up on the dashboard of our van, guarding and protecting my belongings as the van sat fully loaded in the parking lot. And it worked, too: Peter accidentally left the driver's door unlocked for two nights and nothing was stolen (he didn't tell me about this until we were in the hotel on our way to Athens, because he knew that I would freak out; my laptop was in there, and my stereo, and my art).
One more picture:
This image is from "The Historie of Foure-Footed Beastes" by Edward Topsell, printed in London in 1607 by William Iaggard. It's going to be my "Canadian" tattoo, and I think I'll put it on the inside of my right leg, a few inches above the ankle. Just as soon as I change it to a girl beaver. Because, sorry if this is TMI, but my beaver's a girl.
July 23, 2005
Too Sexie for my shirt
So Sexie it hurts. . .
Pattern: Sexie halter from SNBN, by Kim Fairchild
Yarn: sparkly red ribbon, recycled from a Value Village tunic. The original sweater was totally something one of the Golden Girls would have worn on a hot date: loose and frumpy, sparkly old-lady glam. Ugh. Working it way too tight in order to get the called-for gauge created a dense and stretchy fabric that Blanche Devereaux wouldn't be caught dead in.
Mods: 1)I eliminated the vertical row of eyelets in the centre front because the yarn wasn't showing them. I first tried a double yarn over to make a larger hole, but it looked sloppy, plus it just would have been something to get my navel piercing caught in.
2) The first three sizes all had six eyelets on each side of the back while the larger sizes had nine. I made the third size, and worked eight eyelets on each side instead of six because I wanted the lace panel to fill as much of my back as the model in the photo, who I suspect was wearing the smallest size.
Satisfaction: about 75%. It's a gorgeous shirt and it worked up beautifully in this yarn, but I think I made it too big. You can see in the top photo that it's a little gapey in the front, and there's some extra fabric under the arms. Also, if I wanted to I could pull the back completely closed. But it looks good enough to wear for now, and since I only used about half of the red yarn, I'll make another one in a smaller size and then give this one away to someone it'll flatter better. Then I'll probably make one for me in another colour as well. Because I love. this. shirt.
Of course, it's perfectly hot hott hottt enough to wear for my going-away party tonight.
The throat thing? Definitely an infection and not a virus. So I'm now on an antibiotic that makes everything taste like metal, and probably won't be able to drink my Guinness. Gah.
One last thing: have any of you guys ever had the chicken pox vaccine? After two days, is it supposed to look like this?
July 11, 2005
Disregard my nervousness (please, ignore my vacant stare)
I've been in a profound funk the last little while; I'm finding it hard to motivate myself to do anything productive, and just generally feeling sorry for myself. Little things upset me more than they should, and it's as if every day is the Thursday before my period, when I'm liable to either freak out and maim somebody or cry over nothing.
I haven't really talked about this too much here, but when I go away to Athens for school in August, Peter is not going with me. We're going to be living in different countries, umpteen-however-many thousand miles apart, for the next three years. Of course I'll have lots of time off, and we'll be able to visit fairly often, but, still. The next five weeks before I go loom darkly.
So. I cannot bring myself to do any of the things I need to do that are connected with my going away. Like packing. Like putting everything I'm not taking with me into some kind of order so that Pete doesn't have to live in a pile of my crap. Like, making art. I have plenty of work I could be doing, but I can't force myself to touch it. Even though I feel a pang of longing when I walk past cellulose sponges in the grocery store (they're an essential tool for lithography, and since I graduated I haven't been able to do any printing), the wood for the woodcuts I wanted to start still sits upstairs, untouched. If it's something I'm taking away with me, I don't even want to look at it.
I haven't really felt like posting here either, mainly because I knew I would just whine about my plight. Like I just did. There are lots of other things I want to write about, but, you know. That motivation thing. Maybe tomorrow; for now here are some pictures of some of the things I've been doing to while away the time.
Bonus sexy armpit shot! Rrrrowwwr.
I'd been plugging away on this Tivoli and stopped to try it on. Whoa! Off the needles she went, postehaste. I'm using a heavy recycled cotton yarn, and had to rejig the pattern to fit my gauge. The resulting top is too loose and too thick, a big no-no on a short chubby torso like mine. It's not the pattern's fault, I love this pattern and intend to make at least three. But this isn't the right yarn for it. This yarn will have a much better and more attractive life as Stefanie's lace tube skirt from SnB Nation:
Evening Diamonds is finished and enjoyed her first night out on Saturday. Here's an arty wanker-type picture.
For anyone who's counting, this would be the 5.5th time I've knitted a top out of this yarn. It's a mystery cotton with a rayon slub, bought at the Hudson's Bay Company way back in the long ago time when they still had a yarn section. I made the same cabled racerback tank three times before figuring out that no matter how many times I reknit it, it still wasn't going to fit or look good. It then spent many dark years in a box before being dyed blue and unravelled last summer, and knit into a too-big Evening Diamonds halter. So I unravelled it one last time and knit it on a smaller needle, but when I was almost done the neck decreases I ran out of yarn. After tearing my house apart and flinging obscenities at an innocent man and a few cats, I unravelled the top half and changed the pattern enough to get a finished top out of the amount of yarn I had.
The yarn has a tendency to stretch out and lose its shape, which is the cause of at least half of my previous problems with it. If it stretches out too big again, I'm just going to put grommets up the back and lace it tight. Either that or have a ritual burning.
Here's a closeup of the beaded trim:
After the top was finished and the crochet trim on, I found this in my gym bag:
A very kind lady from Freecycle gave me an old Spirograph set from the seventies, and I made some more shrink plastic stuff:
and these little pieces to make into bracelets. I am addicted to watching the things shrink, and the only thing keeping me from running up a huge hydro bill using the oven all day is the fact that we're having a heat wave.
Peter is working on a new and improved version of my website, and unlike when they changed the recipe for your favourite breakfast cereal and raised the price at the same time, my new site is actually going to be better than the old one. We're hoping to be able to launch it by the end of the week, with an online shop going up soon after. Soon!
[To those of you waiting for t-shirts, I haven't forgotten or just slacked off; I've decided to wait until I've moved to order shirts. I am working on some designs though, and will post them as soon as they're ready.]
Claudia sent me this gorgeous skein of handspun cashmere:
My new pet. I can't stop stroking it. Thanks, Claudia!
The Sexie halter is this close (imagine fingers held soooo close, almost together) to being finished, but I still need to get some contrasting ribbon for the edging and lacing. It's been sitting on a stitch holder for three weeks, just waiting. Camocleo is similarly pining away, waiting for two measly seams and some i-cord. Motivation. Problem.
The OSW, however, is a quick little breeze to finish, so I did.
It is a wonder, all right. It's like a little boob lift, without the cutting.
So. After identifying my problem, do you think I made any steps to overcome it? Did I pack a box of stuff, or start my woodcut?
No way, baby. I went to Franco and Jelena's place and showed them how to pickle garlic. Isn't it pretty?
In the interest of getting me moving on the cleaning up my crap and putting it in boxes front, we've invited people to a going-away party for me on the 23rd of July. If you didn't get an invitation and want to come, send me an e-mail, and as long as you're not a creepy stalker I'll give you our address. The more people show up, the more crap I have to clean out of the way. There won't be any pickled garlic there, since it needs to sit for six weeks. But you'll forget all about that when you taste my amazing chutney, I promise.
June 17, 2005
The knit parade
I bet you're wondering what happened to all of those slutty summer knits? They're all coming along, but I've never been too good at the finishing things. Some of them are getting close though, so here's the rundown:
CamoCleo has been stalled with just the boob triangles to go for a while now, because I ran out of the black cotton and only the one yarn store has it, and they have been closed a lot this summer. But they were open today and I got another ball, so she'll be finished soon. I'm still working on Pete's sweater too, but I'm not going to show any more progress on that because I'm still thinking about maybe submitting it somewhere.
The Sexie halter is in the home stretch. Just need to make those boob parts and I can wear this bad girl out. This has been really slow going, because I'm knitting the ribbon yarn on smaller needles than I should in order to get gauge, so it's painful on the hands to work on it for too long. The resulting fabric is very dense and very stretchy, so I've made it a size that will be a little too small. I want it to really fit like a corset. If this top performs as advertised then I will definitely be making another, maybe in olive green.
Does anybody else do this? In order to sustain momentum on a project that is taking forever, I sometimes imagine the garment as an important part of my fantasy future life, and I kid myself that this will keep me motivated to finish it fast. I imagine myself performing in a stellar manner in a job interview, wearing this sweater. Oh, my conference paper will be so well received when I'm wearing this cardigan. That pop star wants to shag me, and all because I'm such hot stuff in my Sexie halter. Am I just a big loser or do you guys do that too?
[Okay, I'm not really the kind of girl who fantasizes about shagging pop stars; I prefer to concentrate my fantasy energy on people I might actually have a remote chance of shagging. However, thanks to Cara and her letter to Bono, the subject of sleeping with Bono, and whether he farts in the bed, comes up fairly often in my household. Because we are twelve years old and fart jokes are still funny. I can't tell you how many times I've cried "why can't you be more like Bono?" in bed. Or worst of all, "why can't you be less like Jimmy Page and more like Bono?" when Pete made awful flappy aging-guitar-wanker faces at me. Did I mention we are twelve years old? Sometimes we laugh so hard in bed that it gets in the way of having sex. Most of the time we're not laughing about Bono. Only, um, certain times.]
Right. This was supposed to be about my fantasy life where my garments perform magic for me. Well, I've also made good progress on Evening Diamonds redux:
This would be the same top I already completed only to find it was too big. Out of the same yarn with which I once knit a different top 3 times before realizing that it was always going to be too big. I think it's going to fit this time; all I did was switch to a smaller needle, it's like magic! Or like math. Equally baffling and mysterious.
I am ready to cast off for the back and make the halter part on this as well. I got a lot done on it in the car on the way to Athens and back, but do you think I've picked it up since? No way! Here's further proof that I'm nothing but a big ol' slut:
Tivoli. This top is exactly what I had in mind when I stupidly made that top down raglan out of a heavy stiff cotton yarn (which has since found a better life as CamoCleo). I needed to add some shaping to get rid of the frump factor, and Grumperina has kindly done the work for me. I'm going to make another one with three-quarter sleeves later on. This is working up pretty quickly, but it wasn't long before it was tossed aside for this.
Soleil. I'm going to continue the lace up to just under the bodice instead of doing just the three rounds at the hem, and just live with the fact that the side shaping will cock up the lace pattern a bit. Because Soleil is a little too elegant (read: not slutty) for me as is. I'm also going to considerably narrow the shoulder straps because I don't have very broad shoulders.
I also spent a few minutes the other night banging out a half-assed translation of this free Phildar pattern. I'm making some changes here too, knitting it in the round instead of flat. And I'm going to do the increases and decreases that I like, not some fancy French increases and decreases (fancy French increases and decreases, of course, are any whose descriptions contain words that don't appear in my handy-dandy knitting terms language converter thingy). Of course after translating the pattern I had to start the shirt right away.
You know, to check that my French is okay. You can see that I only get about an inch into any one project before starting a new one these days. I just can't commit. I need to get something done to submit to fall Knitty as well, but all I can think right now is that I have to cast on for Orangina! Now! It's a sickness. But I'll be the best dressed slut in the looney bin, that's for damned sure.
May 20, 2005
Gateway to paradise
After years of futile searching at the back of my Gramma's wardrobe, I finally found the gateway to Narnia when I was least expecting it.
There's a yarn store about a 20 minute walk from my house that I've been going to for a while now; it's very small and doesn't really carry anything but the most ordinary of yarns. Some time last year a new yarn shop opened up two blocks away from it, and I've been avoiding visiting this new shop, partly because I really like the lady who runs the old shop and partly because the new shop has the words "designer yarns" on its sign, and designer is a code word for expensive (and I'm poor). Well, yesterday I went over to the old yarn shop to pick up a few things, only to find that she's closed up until the 24th for vacation. Hmmph. So I went into the new store.
Well. I never thought you could get this stuff here, all the fabulous yarns that I see my internet buddies using but have never tried myself because I live in a dickwater that doesn't have nice things. This store has bamboo yarn. It has Cashmerino. It has Rowan, and omigosh all the Rowan BOOKS! It has Noro. It has Manos (I didn't go near the Manos, I knew better). It has sock yarn that is not acrylic. Really, really nice sock yarn, like the stuff I drool over on other people's weblogs (I promise I won't buy any not-acrylic-sock-yarn until I've finished up my butt-ugly Kroy Pom Squad socks, otherwise they'll never get finished). I limited myself to some Jo Sharp dk tweed (not an impulse buy, but one of the possibilities I was considering for my fall Knitty submission) and two skeins of Noro Kureyon (colourway 52) with which I immediately cast on for another boobholder.
Two skeins won't be enough, of course. Guess I'll have to go back. How have I been knitting for fifteen years and never tried this yarn before? All the magic hidden colours! The texture! I'm beside myself with exclamation points, somebody do something.
The one weird thing about this oh-so-wonderful shop: I told the lady I needed double pointed needles in size 5mm and 6mm. She didn't have those sizes, but offered me 5.5mm. Huh? Even Peter, who cares nothing about knitting, knows enough about gauge to scoff at this.
On the gardening front, some friends of ours are taking out part of their garden and putting in grass, so last night we went over and filled our van with plants. For now I've put them all into the back yard where the pool was, because we're not going to do anything out front until we have a planting plan. Here's a partial list of what our friends gave us:
-columbine (several colours, both native and non-native types, so some can go in the front yard)
-two kinds of artemisia
-two kinds of daisies
-spider wort, both green and purple varieties
-more hostas, because you can never have too many hostas, especially the fat chartreuse ones
-yarrow, which I always get mixed up with tansy, and it looks exactly like the thing we already had that I've been thinking was tansy, so I guess we have lots of yarrow now and no tansy after all
-sweet woodruff (how I love that stuff; I want a bed of it big enough to lie in)
-oregano, tagging along with one of the columbines
-something called "blue-eyed grass" that sounded kind of cool
-hens and chicks, the silliest garden plant ever. These will come in handy if we can ever get the 5-pin bowling balls we need to make our bowling ball rock garden. Won't that be a beautiful thing?
-the little tiny sedum that looks all wormy, which I'm also picturing spilling over lovely swirly bowling balls.
-coral bells (purple leaves); this is nice because I gave mine to Peter's mom, but I really like them
And I forget what else, but several other wonderful things. Pat, what else did you give us?
My other big summer project:
These are the stairs to our attic. See all the crud on them? Here's a better look.
The attic isn't finished, but will someday be my studio. There is still a ton of Barbage up there that I haven't had the heart to tackle yet, although I have taken many, many garbage bags of crapola out already. I've got some of my studio furniture up here, and a lot of my tools and stuff in boxes. Last year we had a new roof put on, and they had to tear all the way back to the original cedar and put new plywood down. This means that the entire attic, all my stuff and also all of the previous owner's shit and garbage, was covered in a layer of thick black dirt and chunks of hundred-year-old wood. And this summer I have to clean it all up. And I want to get up there soon; the wood I need for the woodcut I want to start working on is up there, buried in the black stuff, and I have to get it out.
Rest assured that I will likely be showing progress pictures of the attic cleaning, because that's the kind of geek I am. I know, all y'all can't wait to see it. I said "all y'all"! Was that a correct usage? I'm trying to figure out whether the difference between "all y'all" and "all a y'alls" is a regional thing or a usage thing before I get to Georgia, so I don't mess up with the local lingo and embarrass myself. (Hah! Y'all know I'll be listening to Neil Young and the Rheostatics constantly while in Georgia in an attempt to retain my Canadian accent against the power of the insidious drawl).
Here's a close up of the peeling paint on the stairway wall:
I love textures like this. I think I'm just going to sand all the big chunks off and leave it this way.
May 18, 2005
A good day to give it all away
If I ever wind up living alone again, this could well be me in a few decades; the crazy lady down the block who emerges from her house cowering from the television news cameras and clutching her giant silver dildo for dear life as Humane Society workers remove hundreds of cats and dogs from the property. Except there won't be any cages, because they will all be sleeping in my BED. All 271 of them.
I said I'd be knitting for summer, but started knitting for winter instead:
I bought several big balls of Icelandic Lopi for fifty cents each at a thrift store a while back, even though my relationship with Lopi in the past was turbulent enough for me to swear off ever using it again. It was the fifty cents a ball thing, I totally got sucked in. Last night while trying to choose what knitting to bring to a meeting that I knew would be long and I suspected would be contentious, I figured out what to do with the wool, and cast on for a child's cardigan for the Dulaan Project. While tempers rose and the meeting got sidelined again and again, I just kept knitting away, thinking about those little kids Ryan showed us pictures of, and it kept me from saying anything more than mildly bitchy all night. And I'm more than halfway done a sweet little stripey jacket that will keep somebody super warm next winter. I think I'll have enough wool left for a second, smaller sweater too, for a toddler.
And because today's theme is giving it away, I cleaned out my Paypal account and gave it to Claudia's bike ride for MS. Because my oldest, dearest friend has MS. (my oldest dearest friend with MS is also PREGNANT! Didn't I say as soon as I started knitting for babies more people would start spawning?)
I also did some work on trying to figure out the cable I want to use on Peter's sweater. It's based on this border pattern
from Folio 21 v. of the Book of Durrow. That's the page with the funny little dude wrapped in a crazy blanket. Here's my first attempt at knitting up the cables from my sketch:
It's hard to see because I used one of my less successful Kool Aid dyeing attempts to swatch with. But can you see the spirals? Whee!
May 16, 2005
I'm operating on the assumption that if you go ahead and get ready for summer, summer will come
We've decided not to wait any longer for spring to arrive, but to brave the bitter cold and do some work in the garden. We're focussing our efforts mainly on the front yard for now, because it's smaller and everyone can see it. Our fabulously talented and generous friend Rob has offered to do a design for us, so with that in mind I went out on Saturday to measure the area and make a drawing for Rob to work from. I've also started a project page for the garden, which you can access here if you're actually interested in the gritty details. For now there's just my drawing and some photos of the sorry patch of dirt and weeds we have to work with.
We also spent some time pulling out the last of the euonymous and other stuff we didn't want there, trying somewhat in vain to get all of the white marble chips out (seriously, who puts that shit in gardens?) and pulling up the layer of rotting black plastic that was underneath it all. This little dude thought I was digging up breakfast just for him, and wouldn't leave me alone.
I won't duplicate all of the progress photos here, but here's one I took from the porch this afternoon after I put the tarp down to kill the grass.
Because I'm a total cheapskate and also a slob, instead of a tarp I'm using the cover from the pool that was here when we moved in, all cut into pieces. Because I don't really care what the neighbours think of me, or of my yard. It was a nasty job; the tarp's been lying on the ground in the back yard all winter, killing grass, so it's collected all kinds of mud and tree droppings and slime and when I lifted it up it was stinky like something died in it way back in December. The grass that was underneath it out back is well and truly dead, and the birds have been having a heyday out there in the bare patch, chowing down on all the snails. Yum.
The piss-poor weather isn't stopping me from planning this year's roster of slutty summer knits. Camocleo only needs some triangles to cover up my boobs and she is finished.
The lace detail doesn't show up all that well in the mixed yarn, but I think this top is going to be hot hott hottt anyway.
I've also started working on Kim's "Sexie" halter from S'n'B Nation. I love this little top. I'm making it out of a red ribbon yarn recycled from secondhand (did someone say cheap? Yeah, I'm cheap). I bought this ugly ribbon pullover a year ago thinking the yarn was kind of neat, and have been despairing ever since of ever finding anything good to knit from it; it's glam in a frumpy middle-aged lady polyester accordian-pleated slacks kind of way, and even though I may be on the cusp of middle age, I'm not really striving for frumpy polyester glam. Frumpy, at least, is a look I can pull off without really trying very hard.
The yarn's got this crazy sparkle (see? middle-age glam! It makes me want to paint my toenails salmon pink just looking at this stuff) that's impossible to photograph.
This is what it looked like knitted loosely in the big awful pullover. This is what it looks like worked on 4.5mm needles, in Sexie's eyelet pattern:
Much better, no?
Also on the slutty summer knit list:
Soleil (not slutty on its own, but I think I'm going to carry the lace through more of the torso, and narrow the straps);
finishing the red peekaboo skirt;
and both of Stefanie's boobholder/skirts from S'n'B Nation. Because I was only going to make the mesh one (I'm a big sucker for the mesh) but then I saw the Cap'n's version of the other one in progress, and now I want it too. Even though it's not quite as slutty. I might want to make a few things I can wear to job interviews too.
May 08, 2005
Nobody here but us fully clothed people
Ahh. What better way to spend a sunny afternoon than out on the deck with knitting, bare toes and a sleepy kitty?
A recap on the week from heck: I got my submissions done for the magazine: four designs, three of which have three or more variations, so lots of options.
I gave my conference presentation yesterday, and it went pretty well despite the fact that I was totally unprepared and only started putting my notes together the night before (and even then I ended up watching about 4 hours worth of the Live Aid dvd with my houseguest instead of doing my work, and finished up my notes in the morning). Fortunately I have the gift of the gab, so I don't really need notes in order to talk and talk and talk. All was good. My talking even made sense for a change.
The Big Girl Knits sample is almost done. I'm going to work on it some more tonight, and it will definitely be put in the post tomorrow. And then, since the weather's finally warmed up, I can get on to the yard work that needs doing, and starting some slutty summer knits.
Does anybody know if cats can get stomach flu? Fat boy puked all weekend; I had to get out of bed twice last night when he woke me up gagging in the hallway (better to deal with it in the night than to have forgotten it's there by morning).
Oh, and I did a Google search for live nude girls, and although a search within the results shows that my site is there somewhere, I looked through about the first seventy pages and I'm not there. And yet "live nude girls" shows up in my search query stats almost every single day. Who the hell are these people, who have the time to slog through so much p*rn and still find me? Why don't they just go buy a magazine?
May 03, 2005
The week from heck
I thrive on deadlines and often find that my brightest flashes of creative inspiration happen when I'm right down to the wire (at least that's my excuse for so often putting off creative projects until the last minute). As always, all of my deadlines are happening at the same time and I'm scrambling to finish lots of things at once. These are the things I need to get done this week:
1. Finish knitting the sample for Big Girl Knits by the weekend and send it off. I'm finally in the home stretch, but I have to say, I'm so fucking bored with knitting this. I'm using Jo Sharp Desert Garden Aran Cotton, which is a gorgeous yarn that I will never. use. again. It hurts my hands and wrists so much that I can't work on the piece for long stretches of time and have to take frequent breaks instead, which is why I'm not as far along with it as I wanted to be (like, done). It also twists like you wouldn't believe, and tangles up on itself. If I had realized this yarn would be such a pain in my arse I never would have chosen it, but I'd never worked with it before and it's just so lovely.
2. Make a chart key for the BGK project, which I forgot to include when I sent in my pattern and charts. Write down the two things I noticed that need to be changed in the pattern and send it to Mandy.
3. Bind two blank journals, in leather with raised crosses on the front covers, by Wednesday afternoon. These are going to London and are to be given as gifts on Thursday (the glue has to be dry on them when they leave my house on Wednesday, because these are for people who don't know me, and therefore won't be as understanding about receiving wet books as some other people who love me have been in the past, um, Dad, Mary, Chris). Here are the books waiting for their covers to be laced on:
4. Hem a pair of trousers for Peter, also by Wednesday afternoon.
5. Organize my slide carousel for the conference presentation I'm giving Saturday morning. And, uh, write down what I'm going to say.
6. Make sketches and swatches for five new designs to submit for another publication (deadline Friday).
7. Clean up the kitchen and bathroom and get a bedroom ready for a houseguest who is arriving some time on Thursday.
Just because I have no time to work on other projects doesn't mean I'm not, of course.
When my hands get too sore from working on the other thing, I've been putting in a row or two on the top down baby raglan cardigan in the centre there; it's nice soft, soothing, boring Bernat Cotton Tots. Ahhh, that's better. These are the best colours I could get this stuff in (I think poor Peter wanted to disown me in the craft store when I told the lady that no, I didn't want those sucky baby colours because I don't intend to enforce gender stereotypes on other people's children, I'll leave that up to the parents to do. Really, people, those baby colours suck!). Since it's spring and once again every woman my age except me is pregnant, I've got four babies to knit for so far, but I'm sure one or two more will turn up before the spring is through. I'm a little behind; this sweater is for a baby who has already been born, then the next one is for the baby whose shower I missed. I'm not doing so well on the baby knitting front, I guess.
On the left is camoCleo, which I only started because I had to go to a meeting in a smoky bar and couldn't risk the BGK thing or the baby sweater getting stinky. It's a good thing too, because camoCleo reeks of smoke now.
On the right is what's left of my boobholder. If I was smart I would have unravelled it just to the armholes and worked the body portion a little narrower. But I am rash and impetuous and not so smart; I took the whole thing apart and then thought of that. Oh well.
All right, back to work. I need somebody here to crack a whip over me.
Nah, that would probably just distract me more.
April 28, 2005
Why Stephanie Pearl McPhee rocks my world
Some of you have already heard the first part of this story. But a look back through the comments tells me that you guys comment more when I write about knitting, and since I'm nothing but a comments whore and don't have any knitting stuff to show you (still working on the one project, and it's still top-secret), I can at least offer a knitting-related story.
Windsor has only one small independant bookseller who sells new books. A few weeks ago I had a disagreement with the owner of the store that left her mad at me (even though it was totally her fault). My CanLit professor had ordered all of our course books through her and since I'm poor and underemployed I bought them as I needed them throughout the semester. Peter went in one day to pick one up for me, and didn't notice that she charged him twenty dollars for a thirteen dollar book. So when I went in to pick up the last two books I needed I brought it up and she didn't believe me, couldn't read her own scrawl on the receipt, and tried to say that the receipt was for a different ($20) book, not for the book I had bought. In the end I got my seven dollars off my other books, but I didn't really want to face her again and ask her to order in Stephanie's book for me, because I know she still thinks I'm a liar; I noticed her trying to glare a hole through me at a poetry reading a week later. Unless she was just thinking I was a disrespectful asshole for knitting during the readings. Anyway she also smokes in the store and that pisses me off enough to not want to buy from her anymore.
Instead I went to Big Name Book Chain, in Windsor's only mall. We try to avoid this mall whenever possible, because it's an unholy place that sucks your soul out through the bottom of your shoes (Peter's back gets sore every time we go there, so it's obvious that it must have evil soul-sucking floors. They look like innocent terrazzo but this isn't the same kind of terrazzo your high school had, unless you went to an evil soul-sucking high school). We had to go there, though, for a friend's birthday dinner (Laura, I've decided not to post the picture I took of you looking totally cute and holding up your favourite birthday present, the vibrating cock ring, because I don't want to be responsible for the Google hit that will bring down your political career. You can thank me by not making me go to that mall restaurant and eat that bland reheated food again).
So. Big Name Book Chain. We checked the knitting section and the book wasn't there. Not willing to subject ourselves to the hell that is searching BNBC for a book, we asked someone: while the computer said they had 8 copies, apparently they were lost in the store somewhere, mis-shelved. Not on the table they were supposed to be on. So we checked every table in the store, and in all kinds of places like self-help, humour, the "Mom's night out" section, and the place where all of the horrible daily-affirmation crap is. No book.
In desperation I went home and posted to the RAOK list to see if someone in Canada could go pick me up one and mail it to me, and offered to send the money by paypal. Stephanie, generous soul that she is, immediately wrote back that she would send me a book, as a gift. And it arrived today.
Why are there two books in the photo? In the meantime, even though we try so hard to stay away, we had to go back to the mall to look for a birthday present for Peter's sister. We found ourselves back at Big Name Book Chain, and immediately inside the door, there were Stephanie's books. On the Mother's Day table (YES, I looked there. Twice. They weren't there). I thought it was only right that I buy a copy and send it to someone else.
The one on the left is about to become dog-eared and tea-stained very quickly. The other one is going on a little plane ride first.
April 26, 2005
Show and tell time
What was a supercute, perfectly fitting boobholder pre-blocking would now be a perfect holder for boobs. . . well, bigger than mine. To prove that it's really finished, though:
Unfortunately I think this garment needs to be really snug to look its best, so I'm going to reknit it on a smaller needle. It's only a one-day knit, so I'm not too bummed. When I get it fixed up I'll post a close up of the cool button, too--it's not bright white like it looks here but it's hard to photograph and I can't be arsed to try right now.
That's the Clap underneath it; I dyed it one more time and finally got the colour I was hoping for all along. Would you believe these two pieces are the same yarn, from the same recycled sweater? Back here you can see the yucky green that it was (that's not even the original colour; it was pink/brown, and I dyed it icky mint green with Kool-Aid); I subsequently dyed the shawl with umpteen packets of blue moon berry and grape Kool-Aid to get the rich blue (it's now the same blue as the swatch in the old photo, although today's photo doesn't really do it justice). The extra yarn I dyed a gross pinky-red, then after knitting the boobholder I tossed it in one final bath of a bright orange, cheap drugstore dye to get the amazing deep orange it is now. You can bet I'm going to wear these together too.
I thought I'd used up all but about a two foot piece of the yarn with the little sweater, but as soon as I finished that, one more ball of the pale green stuff appeared on the dining room floor, fetched by the cats out of their secret hiding place (where they keep the socks they steal, so that they can continue to bring us socks when we've blocked their access to all laundry).
Hey, Crumpet, check out what I had with my tea today:
You were right, these are a lot better than English Muffins.
(what? doesn't everybody take their tea in front of the computer? Shut up, you do so)
April 24, 2005
I'm dreaming of a white May Two-Four weekend
Yup. Still snowing.
This time next year, of course, I'll be living in Georgia and complaining about the heat. When that time comes, just remind me to come back and look at this picture, okay?
There in the foreground is the pile of sticks I was planning to deal with this weekend, but I think I'll wait until they're not covered in snow. And lest you think that's garbage in my yard, that tarp on the ground (right hand side) is actually there to kill the grass so we can put in a garden. This weekend I was also going to move it closer to the fence to start killing the grass over there too, because we hate grass, and want it all gone from our sight. Those long white metal things between the tarp and the fence? Okay, those are garbage. But they hold the tarp down, so we can't throw them out yet. At least that's my excuse; in reality, as I'm sure you all know, I'm just too much of a lazy slackass to do anything about it right now.
In other news, I finished my last exam, a take-home essay for my Ecopoetic Readings in Canadian Literature class, and that's it. No more undergraduate work for me, ever. I would celebrate by running outside with no clothes on and rolling in the flowers for a while but, well, see above.
I'm still chugging along on the sample for Big Girl Knits; it's getting heavy, and just seems to go on and on. I feel like I could break it into pieces and clothe the multitudes with this much fabric. I don't mean that to sound like a fat joke, it's not the size I'm knitting it in that's the problem, just that I designed a big, long garment.
Since it's now too big to take on the bus, I allowed myself to start something small, and did so much waiting before my history exam on Friday that I now have a finished Glampyre boobholder to show you, just as soon as Peter gets here to take a picture of it.
April 19, 2005
Oh, are you guys here to read about knitting?
Well, there hasn't been much of THAT going on around here, at least not that I can tell you about. I've finished writing up the pattern and drawing the charts for my Big Girl Knits project and I'm pretty much going to be working on nothing but knitting up the sample until it's done, but I can't show you pictures of that. I've also been reluctant to show progress on Peter's birthday sweater, partly because there hasn't been much (BGK is a higher priority) and partly because it's so exciting I thought you all might pee your pants if you saw it.
Four by two ribbing! Careful, don't pee!
Since I know you can't handle this kind of excitement, I'll try not to show every inch of progress. It's Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed, which is beautifully lofty and a joy to work with, except for all the little bits of grass. The sleeves will have a cable on them, kind of like Mariah only a better cable, but don't expect to see them any time soon, I've got other things to do first. And it's exam week, not that I've done any studying.
"The Incinerator" might not be such a good idea for a wrestling persona
Remember the Iron Sheik in the attic? Well, he wasn't the only pro wrestler living in this place. I found this mortally wounded wrestler doll gasping his last in the backyard today:
The previous owner's delinquent teenagers must have torched this guy and left him for dead, and what do you think it says about the way I keep my backyard that we've owned the house for almost two years and I only found him today? (yes, Sanford and Son live here. In the attic, with the four little children we keep up there).
After a bath and a photo shoot, I think he's finally dead.
Peter sent me a link to this game the other day. This does not bode well for my chances of avoiding the RSI that's been courting me.
April 06, 2005
Don't fear the beaver
And you guys all thought I was going to lay off talking about my beaver for a while. Hah! As if.
Actually, it's not so much my beaver I want to talk about but just the whole experience of getting paid to be naked in front of people. For the last three and a half years or so I have worked part time as a nude model for drawing classes. This is in the same art department that I just graduated from, so the people I model for are my classmates and friends.
(No, I don't really show them the beaver. At least I try not to, but you know, the beav is right there in the middle of the body and sometimes it's just going to show a little. These students are young and uptight and they can't really handle that; I know one model who is not at all shy about giving the beaver shot, she gives it all the time and there are some kids in the school who are totally freaked out by her. I guess because it's not Brazil waxed and airbrushed like the ones they see on tv, they just can't even bring themselves to look at it. Hopefully they'll grow up and learn to love the beav like I do, but if not, well it's their loss, isn't it?)
The modeling is important to me for a number of reasons. I first started doing it because it's fifty dollars for a three hour class; that's nothing to sneeze at when you're a poor student. But it's a lot more than just the money. When I started modeling, it really got me thinking about what the female body means in art, and the complex power relationship between artist and model. It was a weird feeling to be on the other side, to be the object instead of the objectifier. Because I model in the same place that I study and make my art, I would do my three hour stint, then put my clothes back on and go to my studio, switching roles at will. At the same time I was starting to model I was starting to bring my own naked body into my work; before that I had been doing work like this:
(see the knitting?)
You can see that the work was always about the body, even when mostly nonrepresentational (go read my statement if you want to know more). Getting naked for other people made me want to stop avoiding the figure in my own work; I was always trying to find ways to speak about the body without explicitly showing it, and sort of had it in my head that the image of a female body carried too much "baggage", that for a feminist artist to depict a nude female would be a betrayal, an act of objectifying oneself. Now I think maybe objectifying myself is the point; I need to reconcile being an artist with being an object, and disembowel that power relationship slowly and then see what's left. I think I have a long way to go. The stuff I'm doing now is more like this:
contemplating my beaver, as usual (hey, what's that crawling out of it?)
The other impact that modeling has had is on my teaching philosophy. I have discovered that I love to teach drawing, and modeling has given me a chance to be a voyeur in other people's classrooms. I believe that in order to teach someone how to draw you first have to teach them how to see; I like to go around the classroom and look at what the students have drawn, and that has given me a great insight into how people see the human figure, and how much they don't see. I can take these observations straight back to my studio and apply them to my own work, but I can also squirrel this information away for the next time I have a chance to teach drawing. Students make a lot of assumptions about the body, and because they live in one and look at it in the mirror every day they think they know it, and know what it looks like. When they draw, often they are drawing based on these assumptions rather than on what is in front of them; the challenge is to make them forget what they think they know and actually see the body they are looking at.
Another thing I find fascinating is the way in which students will project their own body image anxieties onto the body of a model. I am five foot four and weigh a hundred and fifty pounds. I've noticed that young girls will often draw me much skinnier than I am, and much more stacked; it's like they fear fat so much they can't even draw it and prefer to pretend it's not there. The boys, on the other hand, often draw me fatter than I really am--I guess they look at me and see a chick who's kind of old and not their idea of hot, and they emphasize that. The people who tend to draw me the most accurately are the mature students (of both sexes). I haven't really got this whole phenomenon figured out yet but I'm working on it.
Whew! I wanted to get some of these thoughts down, since it's something that's so important to me and to my work. I'll probably talk about it a lot more, so be forewarned. Blah blah blah. I guess it's better than talking about my beaver all the time, eh?
The hazards of knitting in public
So yesterday morning I got on the bus and sat down and started to knit and the guy next to me started giving me a hard time, saying that knitting isn't really an activity for the twenty first century and nobody does it anymore. I said a lot of people do it. He said he bets there aren't even a thousand in North America. I said I know maybe three hundred, and he says "well that's not a thousand, is it?" as if the fact that I don't personally know a thousand knitters somehow proves his point. I said those are just the ones I know, there are millions of people I don't know (in my most derisive voice).
Then he said that more people go to Blockbuster Video than to the library. I said "that's their loss". And left it at that. But what I really wanted to say: what the fuck does that have to do with my knitting on the bus? Are you saying that knitters probably prefer the library, and are therefore smarter than those other people? Or that they're just more interesting? Or maybe he was just throwing stuff out there, not worrying about whether there was any connection.
Later that afternoon, sitting with my knitting and my tea in the library coffeeshop, I got my favourite kind of knitting in public comment, the one where someone asks what you're knitting but has absolutely no interest in your answer. One of the coffeeshop employees came over and said "what are you knitting?" and I said just some samples to see what this yarn looks like knitted up (I was making lace swatches for an article on dyeing that I wrote for Take Back the Knit 2). She grabs a finished swatch off the table in front of me and says "pretty. samples eh? someone give this to you?" and I said no, I knitted that. Oh, she says, are you making a sweater? NO, I said, I'm just making these little pieces. "Oh, how nice" she says, tossing the swatch onto the table and walking away.
Then today coming home on the bus a lady asked "are you knitting and purling?". I said yes (I really was knitting AND purling, on the Must Have sleeve). "Oh," she said, "I used to do that a lot but it gave me arthritis. But you're young, you don't have to worry about that yet, I'm 53".
W.T. Fuck? As if knitting gives you arthritis. I don't believe it, especially since I had just heard her telling someone else that she got a viral infection from being caught out in the rain. Oh yeah, then she said she doesn't like to heat her house in the winter because the last time she had the heat on her candles melted in a drawer (so the solution for turning your heat on way too fucking high is to turn it off completely? how hot do you think a house has to be to melt candles??).
A note from the comments: Alison asked about photos. I didn't post photos of the finished projects because I already posted pics when I finished those things, but I will post a photo of me wearing the skirt, just as soon as I get the belt loops on. As for the hair, it's actually still looking kind of cute right now, so I thought I'd wait until it was really bad looking and funny and then show a picture. But what the hell, here's what it looks like now, with the long blue bangs cut off:
I was also reluctant to post a picture because I know there's a certain segment of the blog world that poopoos things like blogging about your haircut. But hey, all bloggers are totally self absorbed, otherwise why would we be doing this? So suck it up, people.
Okay, that's quite enough talking about myself for one day, I think. I know I said I'd ask questions tonight but sorry, tonight it's all about me. I promise that tomorrow morning it will be all about you guys, and I'll finish up my interviews.
April 05, 2005
Just to recap. . .
My WIP Challenge is officially over. I did. . .okay. But not great.
I started with nine things I hoped to finish (notice how the language is changing, from "vowed" to "hoped"? This is code for "I give up now").
The green skirt and evening diamonds got dropped off the list for no reason other than I was crazy to think I could finish nine projects.
The olive cotton top down raglan got dropped because I tried it on when it was all but finished and it looked frumpy, which is not really the look I'm going for. I think the yarn is too stiff for this style, and I'm planning to use it for Alison Hansel's uber-cute t-shirt instead.
The red skirt has to be ripped back to the crochet part and redone; I'm not happy with the fit. It's close though, and only needs a bit of tweaking. My hope is to be wearing it in May.
The near misses:
Must Have Cardigan: almost done! I'm on the second sleeve, and would be wearing it right now if I hadn't spent more than a week too sick to knit. All that time spent on the couch seems like perfect knitting time, but just holding the needles made me queasy.
Granny square purse: close. It's put together, but I've still got about twelve inches or so on that endless garter stitch strap. And the whole thing needs to be lined with pleather.
But among all this failure, some success:
Funnel top, Clapotis, recycled skirt: done! I'm choosing to ignore the fact that I only finished the things that were easy, and had the least amount of knitting in them.
So. I'm not going to toss the unfinished items back in the stash, I'm going to set myself a new schedule for them. I am, however, going to allow myself to start a few new projects. First up: a couple of kerchiefs and hats, to cover up my funny looking head while I grow my hair out long. It's a curly mess right now; I cut off my blue bangs, and it's getting too long to spike up anymore. Once the curls take over it'll be time to hide it. Maybe I'll show a picture, just for laughs; it's looking pretty goofy already.
I have four more interviews to do: Anna, Mandella, La and Ghita. Hopefully I'll be able to get those up tomorrow night. I'd do it now, but I've got an article to finish for Jae that's already a little late. Woops.
One more thing: I'm sorry if I upset anyone with my joke about the Pope the other day. I certainly don't mean to mock anyone's mourning for the loss of their religious leader. Even if he is the leader of a church that has caused countless unwanted babies to be born and countless people to die of AIDS because of its refusal to condone the use of condoms. And even if he is the leader of a church that believes that men have a right to control women's bodies, and that rather than calling all the best candidates to the priesthood, god only chooses from half the population: those who have a dick. People still have a right to mourn him.
March 18, 2005
In which our heroine's Clap gives her the blues, and more hapless victims are interrogated
So. I got the bright idea on the weekend to mix up a little bit of Kool Aid in a bowl and dye a test swatch for Clapotis. I mixed up some Blue Moon Berry with a little bit of Grape, and produced the kickass gorgeous blue seen in the swatch above (the yarn ball shows the original colour). I then happily mixed up what I thought were the same proportions of Kool Aid in a big pot and dyed the whole shawl on the stove, the results of which you can see in the background. Hmmmph. A nice purple, but not a colour I will wear. I'm assuming that I just didn't have enough blue to cover the whole thing, but will have to wait until after grocery day to get more and try again. Phooey! How many times can I immerse this yarn in Kool Aid before it just won't suck up any more?
Interview questions, part deux
1. You may have noticed yesterday that I'm a little obsessed with other people's stash; as a poor student, I have to stash vicariously. So let's hear some intimate stash details: how big, how many WIP, does your husband resent the size or storage of your stash?
2. What are your thoughts on the things that American Library Association president Michael Gorman has recently written about bloggers, and blogging librarians?
3. What first got you interested in blogging?
4. Have you ever written anything in your blog that you regretted later? Have you ever gone back and deleted a post?
5. Of all the states you've lived in, which would you most like to move back to, and why?
1. The other day you posted a picture-heavy blog entry of recent visits with friends, in which you sported three different hair colours! How often do you dye your hair, and what are the best/worst results you've ever had? Does your hair ever get dry and yucky from all the dyeing, like mine did when it was long?
2. I also saw a little peek of ink on your shoulder in one of those photos. Tell me about your tattoos: how many have you got, what are they, are you planning any more? Have you ever thought about getting matching tattoos with anyone?
3. What are you going to make with that freakin' amazing yarn that Amy sent you?
4. How much yarn have you bought since you started working in a yarn store? Did you work in a yarn store in Calgary too?
5. Which knitting project have you been most disappointed in when it was finished? Why? Did you frog it?
1. Hey chica, we move to different towns and the next thing I know you're knitting! Who taught you? Tell me about the stuff you've made so far.
2. What are you planning to knit next?
3. I just read in your blog that you got accepted at U of T--congratulations! Maybe I didn't look back far enough in your archives, but what MA programmes are you applying for? And which school is your first choice?
4. Where do you see yourself in five years? And where do you see Dru?
5. House Redhair is celebrating our campiversary this summer (ten years!), and the whiskey will be flowing like water. Will you be there to celebrate with us? Will Corrig?
For Rob. Now, Rob doesn't have a blog, but he has requested an interview, and while I know it's against the rules, well, I just can't say no to Rob. So, dearest, you have two options: 1) you can get a blog, and make this your first entry. I'm dying for you to get a blog anyway, and I think you would enjoy writing one. There are plenty of places to set one up for free, you should go for it; or 2) you can e-mail your answers to me and I will publish them here on my blog. I will only do this for you because you are Rob. Be aware that if you choose this option I will edit your answers for spelling; if you want to preserve the integrity of your typing, go get a blog. Now, here are your questions:
1. Did you ever finish those purple socks, or did you frog them? Did you keep the yarn? Have you done any more knitting, or did my bad teaching, and the fact that I neglected to tell you that that yarn on that size needles would make huge giant socks that would fit over your head, put you off knitting forever?
2. What's wrong with naming cats after ABBA anyway? Don't you think maybe you contributed to little Agnetha's psychosis by changing her name to Pandora?
3. What sort of plants native to my area would you recommend for a rock garden made out of 5-pin bowling balls, assuming that there's not room for a lot of soil between balls? Keep in mind that our front yard is very small, maybe 25 by about 12 feet. (see, I'm not above using this game to satisfy my own nefarious ends)
4. What one person in the world would you most like to shag, that you've never shagged before?
5. When are you coming to Windsor?
1. What is the butt-ugliest thing you've ever knitted? Do you still have it? (can we see?)
2. Watch out. . . here comes the obligatory stash question again! Is it a beast or a pussycat? Can it be contained? Does it cause domestic strife? (some of you more astute readers may notice a theme here, and wonder what I'm trying to say about my own stash-related domestic situation. I'm just trying to find out if I'm the only one taking over more than my fair share of the house, okay?)
3. And because I'm apparently obsessed with other people's ink, as well. . . that's a nice new tat! Do you have any others, and if so, what/where are they? Any more in the works?
4. What is you oldest WIP? How long has it been since you worked on it?
5. What do you eat squeezable shrimp cheese on? (please, for the love of god, don't say Pittsburgh Salad). Does that cheese come in any other flavours, and if so, have you tried them?
There you have it, kids. More questions tomorrow.
March 13, 2005
. . . I gotta wear shades
Yesterday I promised some exciting news and then like the teasing skank I am, almost forgot to follow through. I've been accepted to the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia for a printmaking MFA. Since it's all about me here, I'll risk pissing off my harassing stalker commenter (who hates the blog but for some inexplicable reason still continues to read it) to tell you that they are only accepting three people. Somebody get a pin! and pop my swollen head.
I pretty much had my heart set on Georgia the whole time I was putting together my applications, partly because I had been to visit the campus in October of 2003, and it's a strong, well-respected art department on a beautiful campus in a very cool town, and the printmaking area has great facilities and talented, friendly people. Then I got accepted to the University of Wisconsin-Madison and visited there and guess what? --it's a strong, well-respected art department on a beautiful campus in a very cool town, and the printmaking area has great facilities and talented, friendly people. Aaack. It's nice to have Options, but I want this decision to be easy and it's not going to be.
It's been a year and a half since my visit to UGA, so I think I'll need to go back again to refresh my memory and hopefully meet some more people; then I can be sure the decision I make is the right one for me. I'm not sure that Peter will be able to take any more time off work to drive me down though, so it might be difficult, since I don't drive. I've taken the Greyhound from Detroit to Atlanta once before and it is a long and painful trip. I may need to appeal to the knitblogging community in Athens to give me a place to shower in between the bus trip and visiting the school!
Of course, money is going to have to be a big factor in my decision. I don't have the money to pay my own way, and won't be able to work legally in the States except for within the school I'm attending. So I pretty much need to have an assistantship or I'm not going anywhere. I have a (Canadian) friend who was accepted to UWM for a printmaking MFA and they were not forthcoming with an offer of money, so she ended up going to another (American) school and it was a crappy experience for her there. Peter thinks that I may have to take a chance and accept, hoping the money will come, but I don't want to make a commitment and end up being screwed. Ah well. I'm applying for assistantships, so we'll see. So far it looks like the procedure is a lot easier at UGA; I've submitted an assistantship application but wasn't asked to apply for any specific job, so I guess you must get approved first and then apply for the available positions. At UWM it seems that I'm required to apply separately for every assistantship position I want to be considered for and hope for the best, and I can't figure out where I'm supposed to find the information I need to do this. The university's website is hard to navigate, and all roads seem to end up in the same useless places.
In knitty news, only three more to go! I've finished this, although ends still need to be woven in:
And for your viewing pleasure, you also get a nice look at my ueber-sexy underarm hair. I think hairy armpits are hot hott hottt on girls, and haven't shaved since I was about twenty. In fact, all through my twenties I had hairy legs too, but last year I decided that as feminist statements go, it wasn't that meaningful to me anymore and besides, it pokes out of the fishnets and that looks stupid. Hairy legs feel a lot softer and silkier that waxed legs though, and sometimes I regret getting rid of it.
Okay, project specs on the top: it's the Girl from Auntie funnel top, super easy and quick to make provided you don't knit 8 inches and then throw it in a drawer for six months like I did. It's worked on 5.5 mm needles in Stahl Portofino, a super soft cotton blend that I like so much I bought a tonne more in blue at the same time. It's the kind of cotton that you can wear without a bra and not chafe your nipples off. I did mine in two colours because while I love the lime green, the lime green is not so fond of me; I keep relative peace in my relationship with the lime green by following a few rules, like not forcing it to hang out too close to my face.
I also did a little more Kool Aid dyeing this weekend, with less than stellar results.
The top skein is Icelandic Lopi and the other two are more of the "Emerald Irish Knit" stuff. The only one I like is the green/purple one; I'm not sure why I even use purple so much since it's about my least favourite colour, but what I'm hating here even more than the purple is the turquoise. Blue Moon Berry, never never again. In the green and purple one, there is one tiny spot of the most gorgeous, cobalt-y blue. I'm going to do some mixing with the colours I used and see if I can find it again. Actually these skeins all look a lot prettier wound up into balls, but I'm not going to swatch any of them until after my WIP deadline. So expect to see an extremely swatch-heavy post coming in the first week of April. Admit it, you want to see it as much as I do, we're all geeks here.
March 08, 2005
Time to renegotiate the terms
Sorry kids, but I'm just not going to have all those things finished by March 20th (you all knew that from the start, right?). Please don't roast me. I'm not a total failure, look:
I finished this skirt; all it needs are some i-cord belt loops so I can wear my belt with it. To recap: I took a secondhand acrylic sweater that fit like shite and cut it off under the arms, unravelled a sleeve and used the yarn to make a deep ribbed waistband. It looks pretty cute on; after the beltloops are on I'll have Pete take a picture of it in action.
Here's the finished back and two fronts of the Must Have:
You might not be able to see it in the photo, but I miscrossed the braid cable on the left front, way down about 5 inches from the bottom. So it'll be more than just a trip to sleeve island to finish this; I'll have to drop those nine stitches all the way down and recross the cable all the way back up. Yawn.
I also worked to the waist on the top down raglan t-shirt and bound off, only to discover that it's pretty much a total write-off: the body is too baggy and I want the neck to be bigger. It needs to be completely redone, so it's officially off the WIP Challenge list for now. After I finish my revised WIP list I'll allow myself to start a few things, and set a new deadline for finishing the things I'm dropping.
Also off the list are the green skirt and Evening Diamonds. The top I still intend to finish for summer and the skirt for fall.
The main reason I've decided to go back on my word and disappoint you all (other than the fact that I was crazy to make such promises to begin with)? This arrived yesterday:
A box of yarn! Am I going to show you the yarn? No way, it's a surprise. I've had a design accepted for a book, and a real deadline has to come ahead of my arbitrary one. The written pattern is due on the same day as submissions for Summer Knitty. So I have to start this now, and I should also start Peter's birthday sweater so that it's done in time for his birthday and for Knitty.
So. I'm still going to try to finish the rest of the things on my list, and won't be starting anything other than these two projects until my list is complete (I'm pushing the deadline back a bit, though). Here are the new, more reasonable terms for my WIP Challenge:
By March 31st I will finish the following things:
1. Must Have Cardigan
2. Girl from Auntie funnel top
3. granny square satchel
4. sassy red skirt (which needs to be unravelled right down to the crocheted part and redone)
During this time I will also work on two other projects:
1. Knitting, writing up and making charts for super-secret book pattern
2. Peter's birthday sweater, deadline April 9th, needs to be charted and written up by April 15th
But I won't be starting anything new.
I got something else done today that's been on my to-do list for a little while: look over there in the sidebar, there's a link to my new reader gallery! In there are all the finished Mariahs I've gotten permission to post so far (I know Michelle is reknitting hers, but I thought I'd put up the old one until the new one is finished). Does anyone else have photos I can add?
March 01, 2005
Ueber hot pants
Feast your eyes on another sassy little number from the vaults:
I can't decide which I like more, the pouchy, bunchy shorts or the split skirt that draws everyone's attention to your crotch.
February 27, 2005
Clap on, Clap off
One down, eight to go.
Behold Clapotis. Of course, the last thing started is the first thing finished; this won't make the rest of my challenge easier.
I finished Clapotis in the car on the way to Madison, and also finished the back of the Must Have and got a little past the armhole on the left front. Clapotis hasn't been blocked yet because I've decided I hate the colour, and I think I'll dye the whole thing blue so it will match my hair. But not Blue Moon Berry Kool Aid blue:
Eeeew. Looks more like my blue hair when I let it fade to a horrible teal (like it is right now). Fortunately I got smart for once and did a test before throwing the whole shawl into that ugly dyebath.
So. We're home from our trip to Wisconsin, and exhausted from the drive back. Poor Peter had to work today; I on the other hand get to sit on my arse at home. The trip was fun--we got to visit with some friends that we otherwise only see once a year, when we all camp together in Pennsylvania in August. Some highlights:
I was working on Clapotis and Ghita's son Donny asked me if I was knitting, I said yes and he said "are you making a baby?".
Hah! Not on your life, kid.
Michael and Elyse took us to International Exports in Milwaukee. I can't talk about what went on there, though. But I can tell you this: there are no spies in Canada (honest!).
We got to meet Elyse's lovely daughter Angelique and adorable two-year-old grandson Kiernan. Kiernan is an absolute doll; after he got into the purple gouache paint and smeared it all over the workroom floor, he came up to me and put one purple hand on the couch and one on my leg and said "come see my mess!" with a big, gorgeous you-know-I'm-too-adorable-to-be-mad-at smile.
I think the paint will wash out.
On the highway between Milwaukee and Chicago there is a place called the "University of Lawsology". This is where you learn Natural Law. It looks like a classy place too; the barn is hardly falling down at all. I wonder if Doug Henning teaches there?
On the same highway we saw a sign that's a good reason not only to take your digital camera everywhere, but to keep it on, draining battery power but poised and ready to shoot all the time: Bong Recreation Area. (It's also a good reason to get a driver's licence, because if you're relying on someone else to drive you all the way to Wisconsin and back then you really don't have a lot of choice about whether to stop at the Bong Recreation Area or not. Peter's choice was not.)
I wonder if they rent out bongs for those who forget to bring theirs?
[a note to any U.S. Immigration officials who may be checking up on me before giving me a student visa: I don't own a bong. I don't know how to use a bong. We didn't even have that kind of technology where I grew up. And I don't know anything about spies in Canada either.]
Peter just e-mailed to tell me that Madison isn't farther north than my hometown after all: Madison, 43deg 4' 45" N, Huron Park, 43deg 16' 59" N. Windsor 42deg 17' 59" N. Huh. Geography has never been my strong point, no matter how much I think in pictures and love maps.
Wait a second: does that mean that my hometown is only twelve feet farther north than Madison? I think I can handle Madison, then.
I did get one good picture on the highway:
Although not as plentiful as in Canada, apparently the northern States have moose hatcheries too! Maybe it isn't such a foreign country after all.
*added later: woops! I forgot to add links and while rectifying that I found out that Doug Henning is not teaching at the University of Lawtology, because he's dead. Who knew.
February 15, 2005
All the cool kids are doing it
Okay, MK is in for the WIP challenge, and has declared her works in progress outstanding in today's blog entry. She's even finished things already, so she's way ahead of me. Tracy and Jenni are also in. Anybody else brave enough to finish before you start?
You don't have to declare everything you have on the needles, or as many as I did. Just choose which works in progress you're vowing to finish before starting anything new, and post them on your blog. The reason I chose to finish nine plus one things is because I am a crazy woman and like to torture myself once in a while just to see if I can handle it (once I fasted for a week; once I listened to all the records I own in alphabetical order. Fasting was easier, and I have now weeded some crap out of my record collection that I never want to force myself to listen to again).
My ten WIPs (grammatically speaking, shouldn't it really be WsIP?) are everything I have on the needles, but only because I went through my entire stash and made some harsh decisions, and everything I will never, ever finish (and don't want to) I pulled the needles out of. Remember those black and red mittens? Those bitches were going to felt the first time they hit the outside air; they're off the needles. I had to say goodbye to a sweet little blue lacy top that I started six years ago on my first Greyhound trip to Atlanta, because I lost the pattern and it's really not my style anymore anyway.
I think we should all set ourselves some kind of deadline, but I'm not going to impose one for everyone else, because this is a personal challenge. I have set myself the deadline of March 20th to finish my nine things, for two reasons:
1. I am a crazy woman.
2. Peter has finally agreed to let me make him a sweater, and even given me some direction for what he wants it to look like. His birthday is April 9th, and I'm deluding myself that if I get my WIPs done by March 20th then I'll be able to design and knit his sweater in time for his birthday, and I'll be ahead of the deadline to submit it to Knitty's summer men issue. Hah.
3. We are going to Wisconsin next week, and since I don't drive, this means Peter is driving me to Wisconsin and I get to knit the whole way. I should be able to finish something in all that time.
I have made a little progress on Clapotis,
and since the web is full of photos of half-finished versions of this, this is the last picture I will show you before it's finished. I'm going to be putting it aside for a bit, because I should have been working on my Knitty submission (it's due today but I'm going to be late), but that has colourwork that isn't in a regular pattern I can memorize so I haven't been able to take it with me, thus I've been bringing easier things to knit on the bus and in class. Now that I'm past the colourwork section I can take the Knitty project instead; my deadline for that is now Saturday morning, because we are going bowling for my brother Kela's birthday, and wouldn't it be cool to photograph the finished garment in a bowling alley? Because it's going to look so damned cute with bowling shoes.
February 08, 2005
The WIP Challenge
Oh hell, kids, is this going to hurt.
I have decided to do something drastic, in order to save Peter some agony when I go away to grad school next fall and leave him with a house full of my
crap creative materials. Because, when it comes right down to it, I love Peter more than I love my stash. This doesn't mean I'm throwing out stash, although I did just get rid of a large amount of half-sewn clothes I'm never going to finish, and some truly crappy yarn. What I'm going to do is make some more room in the chest of drawers for stash by imposing some severe limits on myself and moving some items from the stash dresser to the clothes dresser.
I am not going to start any new projects until I have finished and am wearing all nine of these things:
So, what have we here?
Top row, left to right:
1. A skirt with a cable up the front, of recycled cotton. I want it to end mid-calf, so I'm only maybe 1/3 done. This is a boring, boring knit.
2. Sassy red skirt, also recycled cotton. It's almost done, just needs an inch or two more ribbing and a drawstring.
3. Top-down raglan Glampyre-style, recycled cotton, dyed by me. This needs maybe six more inches, then I'm going to add a very narrow ribbing on the sleeve and neck edges. Then I'm going to duplicate stitch a black star on the front, just like my star tattoo.
Middle row, left to right:
1. A very tedious garter stitch shoulder strap for a granny-square satchel. The strap will go around the whole bag to make the width, and be long enough to cross the body, so it's taking forever. I'm going to line the satchel with silver pleather and put in some nickel pyramids and 1/2 inch spikes, to punk it up a little.
2. Funnel top by Girl from Auntie, in Stahl Portofino (see, sometimes I buy new yarn). I'm almost to the armholes, where I'll switch to the black, but I still have the whole front to do too. It's a quick knit though.
3. Marnie MacLean's Evening diamonds, in a cotton with rayon slub that I bought about ten years ago and dyed blue. The whole thing just needs to be re-knitted smaller, so it doesn't hang off me. (this is the one project here that I might allow myself to drop, because the yarn is possessed by demons and I can only handle the heartache of one more failure. The whole sordid story is here, down at the bottom of the page).
Bottom row, left to right:
1. Skirt made from a cut-off secondhand sweater; I'm just adding some ribbing at the top (it probably needs 2 or 3 more inches) and some belt loops.
2. The Patons Must Have Cardigan, in recycled lambswool. A quick, fun knit, but one I just can't motivate myself to work on very often. Maybe I'll take it with me more now that I've got it on a circular needle; the straights I was using before poked holes in my purse when I carried it around.
3. Clapotis. Even though I just started it, I'm almost to the point where I can stop increasing, so I think it now qualifies as a work in progress rather than just a swatch.
The tenth item, not pictured, is my spring Knitty submission. Which I'd better get a move on with.
So. Anyone up for taking the WIP Challenge with me? A finish-along, perhaps?
Hah. I have a feeling that won't be a very popular knitalong to join.
February 05, 2005
Everyone else has the Clap, so of course I want it too
I'd been resisting the lure of Clapotis just fine, but lately I've been seeing a lot of pictures of other people working on and finishing this pattern, and I can't resist any more. I too want to be beautiful without even trying. So I cast on this afternoon:
How do you like my exotic stitch markers?
The yarn is, of course, recycled (what? you think I buy yarn? hah). It's merino from a secondhand sweater that was a pinky colour with darker pink and brown running through it; I dyed it with green and blue Kool-aid. I'm not sure I like the resulting colour all that much, but I'm going to give it a while to grow on me and if it doesn't I'll just dye the whole thing later. I do like how the green parts and the brownish parts are forming a stripe pattern, but I'll have to wait and see when I start dropping stitches. I'm a long way from that, though.
I've been battling a sinus infection all week, and just as I was starting to feel better, on Thursday I started feeling like I was getting another cold. Ugh. It seems to have mostly passed, but I still feel like I need to sneeze. So I haven't been getting much work done, and I'm seriously in danger of not having my spring Knitty submission ready in time (wouldn't be the first time. . . ). A case of STARTITIS isn't really what I need right now.
January 31, 2005
The knitting has been finished for a week, and it's taken me this long to weave in the ends and put the sleeves on. Lazy cow.
The pattern, of course, is Rogue from Girl from Auntie. The yarn is a recycled mystery wool, unravelled from a pale gray Value Village cardigan and dyed three times to get the perfect red. I first dyed it with cherry Kool Aid (ugh! I can hear the purist dye snobs groaning) then again with some other red Kool Aid flavour. It still wasn't perfect, so I overdyed it with red Tintex. I know, that stuff is crap! but hey, it cost me three bucks to get the perfect red, and if it fades I'll just dye the whole thing again.
My row gauge was way off, which I didn't realize until I got to the end of the sleeves and they were too short (I added about three inches), and by then the body was done. I don't think it looks too bad, except that I don't think the pocket is supposed to go all the way up to my boobs like that. I might be able to block it out a little longer, but as this is used yarn, don't count on that. In fact, because it's used yarn I didn't block the pieces before putting it all together, and now she's draped over the chair in the bedroom and every time I go in there I can hear her shouting "block me! BLOCK! ME!" in that Exorcist-kid voice. Maybe tonight.
(special bonus points to anyone who can name that wrestler up on the shelf behind me, and his tag team partner who got cropped out on the left there)
If you want to see how fab Rogue looks when you don't make her too small, go check out Claudia's, it's gorgeous. I think later on I'll make a cardiganized one, like hers.
This morning I sent in my last online application form for grad school. I'm just putting the finishing touches on my portfolio package so that I can put it in the mail tomorrow, ahead of the deadline for a change. (I'll spare you all the photos of slides in sheets or a plain black binder; I know I'm more excited about these things than most people are).
So. All my grad school applications are done. Will any of them want me? The Magic 8-Ball says
January 29, 2005
33 inch Mariah
As requested by Eilene, here are the directions for making Mariah with a finished bust measurement of 33 inches. Later on I'll make a special Mariah page and post the instructions there, but for now I've posted them to the knitalong group and here.
For the back, cast on 81 stitches and work the set-up row as follows: k3, p1, k2, p1, then starting at point "c" work the 22-st repeat (not the whole chart!) 3 times, then work (k2, p1) twice, k2. Your first and last stitches will be worked in garter stitch for the selvage, on wrong side rows work all other sts as they appear.
For the right front, cast on 41 sts and work the set-up row as follows: k2 (selvage), start chart a at point "d" and work to the end of the 22 st repeat (not the end of the chart), work the 22 st repeat (starting at point "c") once, then work k2, p1, k3. The first 2 and last 1 st will be worked in garter st.
Your left front will be a mirror image of the right front: cast on 41 sts and k3, p1, k2, p1, then work the 22 st chart rep (starting at point "c"), then work half of the chart repeat again (start at point c) to last 2 st, (you will end at one st before point "d" in the chart), k2. First st and last 2 sts are worked in garter st.
Work the sleeves as for the smallest size.
When you reach the yoke, after working the joining round you will have 327 sts.
Work the yoke decrease row a total of 20 times, so that you will be left with 167 stitches. Work the hood as for the smallest size.
*Note: the total number of stitches in the yoke were wrong, and although corrected numbers were sent in to Knitty I don't think they've been posted yet (corrected numbers should be in pink). Don't worry about it; you can work most of the rest of the sweater without needing to worry about the exact number of sts since you are only decreasing from the edges and where your original markers are. When you reach the top of the hood, instead of counting the sts to know where to place the final marker, simply place your marker in the centre of your row and continue the hood decreases to the end.
January 28, 2005
I've never made a drawing of Jesus
I am addicted to checking my server stats, especially the search query part. Look at the breakdown from yesterday:
It's nice to know that I come up in so many masturbation searches, but how come nobody has ever found my site while spelling masturbation correctly? See, Farrah, you're not alone. (note to the person who did the search at the top: I hope you were very, very disappointed with the results of your search, you sick fuck). I think we need to keep our masturbation stories private for a while and talk about something different, to throw these losers off our scent.
Here's something funny: if you search Google with "how to install a toilet seat" in quotations, mine is the only site that comes up. Rest assured, you are not going to learn how to install a toilet seat here (although I do know how).
I know you're all dying to know what happened to Rogue. I'm still weaving in ends, my least favourite part. There are more ends than usual because I used a recycled yarn. I'm putting the sleeves on before I block, because it's not brand new wool, it's not going to block out that much anyway. Soon, you'll see her. Maybe tomorrow.
For Nancy, who likes the Star Wars sheets: that is a Star Wars comforter, the only one I have ever found. I used to buy a lot of those sheets in thrift stores (and other ones too; A-Team, Dukes of Hazzard) and would make stuff out of them. I had a great dress that I made from a sheet from the first Star Wars movie that was a different pattern than the one you saw yesterday--light blue with head shots of the characters--but I can't find it, I must have given it away. (Emer, do you have it? if so, send a pic!) But here's a picture of Miss Polly modelling a parti-colour cotehardie that I made about ten years ago (to piss people off at an SCA event); one half is Star Wars and the other half is Empire Strikes Back.
This is possibly the geekiest garment I have ever made. No, I don't wear it.
*edited to add: Look over here! A finished Mariah!
January 27, 2005
Secret identity revealed!
Meet Mr. BooHoo. My pesky commenter was none other than my beautiful and dear friend Farrah (who knows all about the joys of masturbation, even if she can't spell it), playing a trick to bug me. The bitch. I think posting this picture of her getting drunk at my grad show is probably punishment enough, so please don't offer to pee on any of her belongings for me, okay?
She really pissed me off, though.
The papermaking classes on Monday went swimmingly, and I'm going back a week from Friday to do a more in depth, hands on session just with the students who are interested. I took the camera along and was going to take lots of really exciting pictures to show you all (the Hollander beater, a wet sheet of paper, maybe some pulp in buckets, riveting stuff) but I was so busy I forgot. Next time (you can't wait, I know).
I also made some great new friends, the professor of the native studies class and her partner, who took me to their house and fed me dinner, so I got to drink wine and have good conversation with some cool people instead of sitting in the Greyhound station for three hours waiting for my bus. It was splendid.
The only knitting I took along was the back of the Must Have, and only got a few inches done on it; it's just past the armhole decreases now. I had someone beside me on the bus ride down, so every stitch that makes my right hand needle jut out dangerously (k2tog tbl, and any cable cross, since I don't use a cable needle) had to be done p-a-i-n-f-u-l-l-y s-l-o-w-l-y so that I didn't wake my sleepy seatmate up with a POKE! I should have brought a circ along for it, but ah well.
I think I promised not to post boring progress pictures of the Must Have, but since I just joined the Must Have Too Knitalong I figured I'd show where I am.
I promise not to show any more partial pieces, but if you don't know what a slutty promise-breaker I am by now, it sucks to be you.
January 20, 2005
Slap the beaver
So I come up number one now if you Google search "beaver jodi".
Small pleasures, folks.
In other news, my wrist feels much better; I've been taking some time off from knitting and going to bed every night with this castor oil poultice my dad told me about, which feels really good. I've also started lifting weights again.
Because of the time off I've been giving my wrist, I haven't had anything to show (hence the recycling of old stories). I have done some work on the printmaking front, but so far it's all just naked pictures (of me) on the computer, and sorry, you're not seeing those. I hope to get in to the shop and work on something tomorrow, though.
Rogue is still not quite put together (the sleeves still need to be put in, that's it!) but I finally got the hundreds of ends woven in on my Cathode and wore it to class yesterday.
Now I'm off to Google "slap the beaver" and see what happens. God, I'm a geek.
January 15, 2005
A Bill Bixby moment
I was about twenty-six years old when I figured out that Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno were not the same person (okay, I didn't really figure it out. Someone had to tell me). I mean, I knew who they both were, but somehow I thought that when Dr. Banner turned into The Hulk, that was just Bill Bixby in makeup. It just never occurred to me to wonder how they got him to look so much bigger.
Have you ever had one of those moments where something you really should have known all along suddenly becomes clear? I had two Bill Bixby moments today:
I was chatting online with my cousin this afternoon and she mentioned in passing that our family used to be Mennonite. I said "what! you're making that up" and she said "Pennsylvania Dutch". Well. I thought Pennsylvania Dutch just meant German. Okay, I knew they were Mennonite. But I guess because our family was Lutheran, I thought that some Pennsylvania Dutch were Mennonite and some were Lutheran. Well, I was wrong. Not that anyone's religious beliefs really matter that much to me, except for mockery purposes (but I'm trying my best to quit that, lest some higher being decides to break my blog again for spite). So I won't even talk about what horrible things Amish men who take the Greyhound to Bowling Green, KY carry in their suitcases. That could get me into trouble.
The other Bill Bixby moment happened in the pub, where instead of the usual crappy tweedle-dee-dee music they had the Detroit classic rock station on: I never understood why you always heard Queen's We Will Rock You and We Are the Champions together. Pete said they are the same song, and I laughed and laughed, and probably called him a mean name. Well. They are the same song.
In other news, we've had a fairly successful graft:
You can see the graft, but I think that only a knitter would really notice. Actually, I know a lot of knitters who probably wouldn't notice (not you guys though, you guys are hawks). Now that I feel like I'm racing, I've got the hood done and one sleeve sewn up. But, true to form, halfway through seaming I started something new.
I bought this sweater secondhand; it's cheap acrylic, but I liked the mix of red, black and white, and there's a cable in it that you can't see in the picture (a boring rope cable though, don't get too excited). When I tried it on it made me look like a middle aged former football player--huge shoulders, beer gut. So I cut it off, and I'm making a skirt. I'm not even sure I'll like it as a skirt, but we'll see.
January 14, 2005
All I need is a little kick in the arse. . .
All ready to seam up:
Of course, as soon as the photo was taken, Miss Fatty had to get in there. Look, she's bigger than Rogue!
And now, to bed.
This big mouth is a curse
So. After showing you a picture of Rogue the other day and then not touching it since (I'm the queen of abandoning a project in the home stretch; there's a vast collection in this house of lovely, nearly finished garments I've jilted at the altar), I saw how far Claudia is on her hood. And challenged her to a race to the finish.
Well. I was working on something new, something fun and spring-ey and NOT CABLED to submit to spring Knitty. But then I threw that silly gauntlet down, and I can't not follow through, especially when my last post was all about how tough I think I am. So I did a few more rows, and I'm now right where I think Claudia is (at least, where she was when she posted this morning. She might already be done and I'm wasting my time). So here's a picture, at row 62:
Wish me luck.
January 06, 2005
First of all, go and check out what Stephanie's up to; the running total of donations she's solicited for MSF Canada is past eighteen grand--woo hoo! And all from knitters and knitting bloggers. I guess we're not just a bunch of geeks wanking about our craft in public. (woops, I almost wrote pubic, but hopefully most of us don't wank that in public either).
I'm chugging away on Rogue's hood, a little slower than I'd hoped because of pain in my right hand (the knitter's curse). I started to feel it while trying to knit while watching Canada whip Russia's ass the other night, then it got really bad while knitting last night at a meeting. So I'm taking it in smaller bouts for a while. But hey, wanna see the hood?
Here's what I'm doing today.
Putting together some of my grad school applications, because deadlines are coming up pretty fast. Thankfully I only have one set of slides to send out this week, but you can see that I still haven't even taped these off yet. I have to put the knitting down and hurry. Ugh.
December 29, 2004
I think I need to get it out of my head that ease=frumpiness and start making some things that aren't so skintight. I like the way this fits, though; I can wear it under my close-fitting jackets, and when I do a cardigan version I'll make that a little bigger.
Since the hood looks like it will be the most fun part, I'm not letting myself start it until both sleeves are done. Here's how far I am:
So close I can taste it. Before I do any more on this today I'm fixing my Cathode. I have to work tonight and I know it will be die toten hosen, so I'll save Rogue's sleeve to work on there (and get paid for it).
I'm going to have enough yarn left over from Rogue for at least half a sweater; I think I'll dye what's left brown, then put it together with this
December 28, 2004
Chapter 37, in which our heroine savours her triumph and is threatened by an enemy well-known to her
Here you go. To prove that I did indeed have Cathode finished in time for Christmas Day, here I am wearing it in front of the water tower in beautiful downtown Huron Park, Ontario (YES, I grew up in an industrial park. Let's not discuss it).
Here are the details: Stefanie Japel's Cathode pattern from Winter 2004 Knitty, worked with recycled (mostly acrylic) boucle yarn (with two strands held together throughout) on a 9mm circular. The ribbing is worked in Dalegarn "Daletta" on 3.75mm needles. I had to make the collar four inches shorter than the pattern called for in order not to run out of yarn; I'm not happy with the way the neck bunches up as a result, but I think if I redo the ribbing along the edge with more stitches it will lie a lot flatter. I also think the whole sweater still looks a little short, so I'll probably add an extra inch or two to the bottom ribbing (I probably should have made the next size up; I think it looks shorter than it is because it's a little tightish and is riding up on my chub). So expect to see some pictures soon of this sweater improved and looking better.
I had to put Rogue on hold for a bit in order to make some socks for my mom; I'm just starting the second sleeve now, and still have the hood to do. I worked on it as much as I could while fulfilling the family holiday obligations, but there's a heavy workload of card-playing expected by my mom's family, and present-opening expected by the others, so it was hard to get a lot done.
I'll leave you with my favourite picture from our holiday visits; here's my little cousin Justine trying to scare me with a very ugly doll.
This doll used to belong to my mother and her sister. It has always been in my grandma's house, and the kids of my generation were all afraid of it. Just look at her abnormally bulbous forehead, and the way her evil eyes bore into you like a maniacal drill bent on destruction. And the way her disgusting hair comes out of her skull in clumps. I always knew that she was waiting for the perfect opportunity to sink her little plastic teeth into my throat.
Well, the next generation of kids in this family love this doll. They have no fear. I suspect they may be biding their time, planning to unleash the fury of the doll on their parents and grown-up cousins when we're least expecting it, lulled into a false sense of security by the narcotic effects of Christmas turkey. But in the meantime, Justine takes every opportunity to stick the nasty little thing in my face, just to watch me jump and get some cheap thrills. It always works.
December 23, 2004
Jesus freaks broke my blog
Okay, they didn't really. But you shouldn't delve too deeply into the other pages in that last link I provided yesterday; it's really, really scary (see, now that my blog's fixed I'm getting ballsy and mocking the Jesus freaks again just to see if there are repercussions). I hope nobody thinks I'm ripping on Christians, I'm only ripping on the scary weirdo ones. If you really want to get into the scariness of the Lake Hamilton Bible Camp people, here's a good one: check out what they say about puppets.
(What do you think these people would say about my good friend Sock Monkey?)
So now that my blog's not broken anymore, let me show you the presents we got in the mail.
Whee! Skull 'n' bones polar fleece scarves for me and Peter, plus evil kittycat hair clips for me. Thanks, Krista!
Here's a closeup of the ubercute kitties:
And here's a blurry action shot of Pete's scarf:
Since I love to plug my friends, let me do so one more time: you can get this stylish gear over at pixiefashions.
And I can show some Cathode progress; although there hasn't been that much progress what with all the unravelling and all, she's finally on the right track.
Yesterday we performed some neck surgery:
Then I frogged that bit of collar and added it to the torso, which is now six inches long, like it's supposed to be:
Much better. I'm back in the home stretch now, just ribbing and weaving in ends to go. And when I make my next Cathode, I'm using store bought yarn to avoid all these hassles. But I'm only a week behind schedule; I'll be wearing it on Christmas day, and to prove it I'll take some pictures of me wearing it in my home town, so you know I'm not fooling ya.
December 16, 2004
Thirty-three and sexier than ever
If I do say so myself.
In honour of my 33rd birthday, I'm wearing my sweet sixteen underpants today. That's right, I'm wearing underpants I've had since I was sixteen years old. Sorry, no picture, my parents read this blog sometimes. They're cute pants, black with flowers, but they're a little threadbare and don't quite cover as much arse as they used to. But hey, it's a long way from 16 to 33, at least they still fit.
I should have been under the needle right now, but the birthday tattoo has had to be postponed, because qpaukl messed up his back so badly that he can't sit bent over me for that long without collapsing. Hopefully we'll be able to do it next week. So instead I'm working on Cathode, putting the ribbed edging on the neck. Then tonight, I'll be pigging out on Ethiopian food at my favourite restaurant (I won't be wearing a new sweater, though). I might take one of Rogue's sleeves to work on while we wait for our food, depending on how pissy that makes Peter. We have an ongoing argument about knitting in public; he thinks it's antisocial. Obviously, I disagree.
Here's a picture of my neck decreases:
December 15, 2004
This sweater makes my neck feel short
I'm making progress on Cathode.
I ran out of yarn when the body was four inches long (it's supposed to be six). I literally had NO yarn left, and even had to go fishing in the trash can for a tiny piece in order to finish the last few stitches in my round. So I just switched to the black right there and started ribbing; I think it will look okay, because I am a lot shorter than Stefanie and I have a short torso, so hopefully it will still look hot hot hot and not make me look like a football player.
These are not colours I wear. I wanted to show a picture of the four different yarns I used but, seriously, I didn't even have enough left over to photograph little scraps on the table. They are all boucle, probably mostly acrylic, one strand of rust colour, one teal (yuck!), one slate blue (the only one of these colours I actually like) and one multicolour that has all of the above plus purple (eeew). Here is a close up of the colour mix in the fabric:
The sweater is made up of hundreds of short, short pieces. I'm trying hard not to think of all the ends I'll be weaving in on Friday night in order to wear this on Saturday.
December 12, 2004
First snow day!
I know, I know, we're probably the last city in Canada to get snow, but still I'm excited. Too bad I stopped working on my mittens here,
in order to concentrate on Rogue and Cathode (Rogue is up to the neck and Cathode, after TWO f***ups that made me have to rip back to the collar, is back down to the armpits). Alas, there's not really enough mitten here to keep my hands warm. Ah well. My birthday is on Thursday, so I know this snow won't last (I haven't had birthday snow since about 1979).
A note to Mariah-knitters: there was an error in chart "c" (thanks, Dana, for pointing it out to me!). The chart was fixed and went up on Knitty last night, so if you already printed out the pattern you'll need to make another copy of the chart. And if anyone spots any other mistakes, please let me know.
December 10, 2004
First of all, let me just say that this
has totally made my week. Thanks to Eklectika for starting this, and for making such a great button for it (and since I'm always happy to plug my friends, the ubercute skull 'n' bones hair clip comes from pixie fashions; tell her I sent you!). And thanks so much to everyone who wrote to me about the sweater; getting published for the first time was pretty exciting, but deep down I kind of didn't expect that people would really want to knit one (my life is a constant battleground between low self-esteem and raging egomania, although the egomania *usually* comes out slightly ahead). What with the grad show last week and then Knitty coming out right after, I've been getting the ego-stroking of my life, and I like it too much.
If I wasn't such a two-timing slut, Rogue might be keeping me warm right now (but as it is, she's only been keeping my lap warm). I've been working on Cathode and Rogue at the same time, while taking breaks once in a while to work a few rounds of ribbing on the skirt.
Cathode is a really quick knit, but I had a little setback last night and had to rip: I had reached the end of the raglan shaping and put the whole thing on waste yarn to try it on, only to find that while it was wide enough to fit around my body, the yoke didn't reach all the way down to my armpits! My row gauge was off by about a third; shame on me for being a half-arsed swatcher. So I've ripped back to the collar and now I'll have to do my increases every third round instead of every second. Here's a picture of her collar:
It's four different boucle yarns, worked with two strands together and alternating the colours. The only drawback to using this yarn: can you see all the little ends sticking out all over the place? This yarn was given to me about ten years ago, the leftovers from a blanket that a co-worker of mine wove. I made it into a striped t-shirt, then didn't like the fit, ripped it out, and made the boxy striped pullover you saw in pieces on the floor a few days ago. So this is the second time it's been ripped, and there were tons of short pieces from all those stripes; it's covered in knots! I want to have this finished to wear out to dinner for my birthday next week, and getting the sweater done will be no problem, but I don't know how long it will take me to weave in all those ends. Eeek.
I think the colours are going to look great though, so hopefully dealing with the knots will be worth it. They're not colours I normally wear, but with the black borders to set it off, it will look fabulous on me, I'm sure.
Rogue's back is finished, and I'm just about to start the cabling for the front of the neck. This one is a quick knit too, so I expect to be wearing both sweaters home for the (insert chosen religious festival here) break.
I haven't been able to bring myself to work in the studio since the grad show; I've really felt like I needed a bit of a break from it (also, I'm not doing any more printing until the intro print students have had their final crits, because there aren't many presses and I don't want to take away any of their printing time). Adele, one of my advisers, asked me the other day if I was feeling down at all, now that it's over. I said it was a kind of euphoric depression; a mix of relief and regret. Anyway, it's only an undergraduate degree, and I'm eager to get on to the next thing. I'm a little sad, though, to be having my last meetings with Daniel and Adele next week.
And just because I like to show lots of pictures, here's another.
This is going to be my birthday tattoo, which if all goes as planned I will be getting next Thursday. It's from folio 124 recto of the Book of Kells, the same page from which I adapted the pattern for Mariah's sleeves.
December 07, 2004
A little piece on the side never hurt anyone
Well. Rogue and I had our first little disagreement last night. . .I had cast off for the armholes and knit up about half of the back portion when I realized that my gauge looked different on the flat knitting than on the knitting in the round. I did swatch for both (I cut off all those ends of yarn to swatch in the round, even though I consider it a waste of yarn, out of respect for Rogue's designer, who is a way smarter knitter than me), and found that my gauge was the same in the round on a 4.5mm circular and flat on 5mm straights. Even so, the portion of knitting on the straight needles was clearly looser. SO, I had to rip out and continue knitting flat on the 4.5mm circ instead.
Since Rogue tricked me with the gauge thing, I felt the need to get passive aggressive with her. I dug out this old beast, the last remnant of the days when I was an enthusiastic young knitter who knew squat about shaping, drape or stretch, and started unravelling it.
Then I swatched for Cathode.
Is this a mere dalliance? Hard to say. It's easy to start something and then drop it like a hot potato when it's from recycled stash yarn; there's really no sense of commitment there. But then, when I was in the yarn store today buying something else, somehow this wound up in my bag.
Don't you think this would be perfect for Cathode's contrast ribbing?
December 06, 2004
Up to my armpits in glorious red stuff*
I'm dying to start Cathode right away, but Rogue is chugging along so nicely that I'm not sure I can push her aside just yet. When our relationship descends into the Seventh Circle of Sleeve Hell then maybe Cathode and me can have a little talk. Dinner, maybe, a few drinks. One careless night of passion.
How's Rogue coming, you ask? Well, as promised, I haven't been showing boring pictures of every inch of progress, but today she's
finished up to the armholes! She opted to pose in the potted plants instead of the cold, wet garden.
Now. I promise, no more pictures until I'm knitting the hood. If I make it that far; I may be showing you a finished Cathode first.
Just so as not to have you think that I took a picture of those works in progress and then shoved them back into the chest of drawers and forgot about them (okay, I did shove them back but they're still on my mind, honest) I put this skirt on waste yarn and tried it on.
I've learned the hard way, repeatedly, not to assume that I know what I'm doing and that things are going to fit. I'm trying to train myself, when designing on the fly, to always try things on. So now I know that I'm about four or five inches from being done (I guess that sliver of kittycat underpants showing means this is no longer a family blog; good thing my Grandma doesn't have internet access). I think I'll do some dramatic decreasing in the next row, then switch to a 2 x 2 rib for a nice deep waistband. If I could just put Rogue down, this could be done tonight, not that it's warm enough to wear it. The effect of the generous amount of thigh exposure would be kind of lost with thick winter tights, I'm thinking.
Believe it or not, since I decided to stay home today, I'm NOT going to devote my day to knitting in front of the computer while watching my music downloading program in action (uh, this would be how I spent my whole weekend). Instead I'm going to do some real work, filling out online grad school applications (while knitting and downloading music, duh).
So far, these are the schools I'm applying to: in Canada, NSCAD (Halifax), maybe Concordia (Montreal). In the States, the University of Georgia (Athens), the U of Louisiana (Baton Rouge) and the U of Wisconsin (Madison). I'm starting to think, though, that maybe that's not enough. I want to go to the best school, but I have to remember that there's a hotshot like me in every printmaking department on the continent, and they'll all be my competition for these places. On the one hand, I'd rather wait an extra year or two for the right school to want me rather than settle, but if I only apply to the very best then I'm setting myself up for waiting, hmm? So, I don't know what to do. I guess for now I'll just work on applying to these places, then talk it over with Peter later.
*better than being up to my armpits in not-so-glorious pig manure. Once was enough.
December 02, 2004
If you've got a bandwagon, I wanna be on it
After creeping into the school gallery early to take the Day Without Art drapery from yesterday down off the artwork, I took the whole day off from thinking about art and dug a little into my stash of unfinished knitting.
These here are my top priorities. Clockwise from top left:
1) a long cotton skirt with a cable up the front. I stopped working on it around July.
2) a sassy red cotton skirt with a deep crochet openwork hem and a plain jane stockinette top. This has already been finished and ripped out once, and was abandoned when almost done. Typical of me.
3) the Must Have cardigan in orange lambswool. Started on summer vacation then dropped like a hot potato when I got an exciting design project in my head, it doesn't even have a full back yet.
4) Rogue, in mystery wool, which really shouldn't be included here since I only started it yesterday, but right now Rogue and I are in the giddy flush of new romance, and I can't bring myself to prioritize any of these others above her. Give us time, all new wool relationships sour eventually (usually around the seaming stage, if the rocky second sleeve period doesn't do you in). But for now, I love Rogue so much that last night I forced Peter to admire all three inches of her and tell me how lovely her pocket was (it was all I could do not to invite him to stroke it).
5) a cotton top down raglan cap-sleeve t-shirt, a la Glampyre. This is cotton recycled from a sweater that I dyed before unraveling so it would be uneven like that. It took me three dyebaths to get this boring olive colour. I think I'm going to duplicate stitch a black star on the front, like my star tattoo.
6) Jenna's funnel top, also started on vacation, didn't get very far (I think I worked on it for about two hours). I really want it for wearing under stuff before spring, though. When I get to the armhole bind-off I'm switching to black; I love me some lime green, but not too close to my face, please.
The funnel top is Stahl Portofino, all the rest are recycled yarn, meaning it is torture to work on the cotton ones because cotton from commercial sweaters isn't spun and splits like crazy. I won't be recycling anything but wool from now on but I still have a big stash of cotton to get through.
There's also a blue openwork dress that's kind of a high priority, but I finished the whole thing already then decided to use a different stitch and knit it sideways instead, so I don't want to show a picture because someone will say it looks fine the way it is and that I am too obsessive, I should just leave it. I just think it could be better, that's all.
I won't be showing too many progress photos of Rogue or the Must Have cardigan, because although they're both beautiful sweaters, most of the cool bloggers have already made them ages ago, so everyone's sick of seeing them. I promise I won't show Rogue until she's at least to the armholes, and the Must Have not until at least the knitting part is done.
So: after getting all this stuff out, do you think I worked on any of it? Did I even spend any quality time with my newest love, Rogue? Hell, no!
Since I haven't been allowing myself any knitting in the last 3 months while getting ready for my grad show (a wire dress doesn't count, I mean knitting I can actually WEAR, that doesn't shred my hands up), I've been living vicariously through the knitting of others. It seems there's some obsessive behaviour regarding mittens going on, and it made me realize that I am currently mitten-less and it's cold here; I want mittens like Stephanie's. I don't have any of those great mitten books (or a desire to haul my lazy arse to the library right now, thanks anyway) so I dug out my copy of Nancy Bush's Folk Socks instead. Although I love this book, I've only ever made one pair of socks from it: the Mamluke socks. So rather than branch out at all I decided to make mittens with all of the pattern elements of the Mamluke socks, plus Estonian braids (a disgraceful mixing of cultural traditions you say? Oh well. I'm a bit of a slut that way).
Here's my cuff, with braids (I learned that technique today!) and the "Allah" pattern from the socks. Oh, those tiny, tiny dpns, they've been languishing in the needle jar for too long. My hands get too hot in mittens, but too cold without them, so I need mittens that are sort of thin. The black yarn here is a Value Village score that I think is a mohair/wool blend, and the red is an angora blend unravelled from a secondhand sweater (did I mention what a cheapskate I am?). The yarns are both really fuzzy; I hope they don't felt into a ball the first time I wear the mittens out. Because then they will be too warm.
I think these patterns will work well in red and black, though. I'm just trying to ignore the fact that my jacket is green.
I'm such a fickle lover though, I don't know how long I'll be able to stay with these mittens. I had a little browse through the winter Knitty patterns (apparently designers get to have an early peek! a perk I hadn't anticipated) and there are a lot of great things in there; I already want to start Stefanie Japel's design before the issue even comes out. Only the lack of good enough yarn in the stash stops me.
November 22, 2004
Because I can't be arsed to take pictures of anything new today, here's something old
While I was frantically searching the house for my 1/8" grommets (I didn't find them, but now that I've gone out and bought more, and a new punch, I'm sure the old ones will turn up in a stupidly obvious place) I came across those old speaker wire socks that I made four years ago. So just for Krista, here's a picture.
Check the stripe in the cuff; that's BLUE speaker wire. Do these rock, or do they rock? Too bad no-one can get their feet into them.
Last night I finished a quilt top for my show that's 16 by 13 feet; once I get it backed and take it in to the school I'll take a picture but right now it's impossible because it's bigger than my house. That'll be two quilts in a week I've finished! See, I am the queen of working to a deadline (it's FOUR DAYS AWAY). Eek.
November 21, 2004
I can't see the difference, can you see the difference?
Who knew that you had to worry about dye lot when buying speaker wire? I got two 300 metre spools and one 150 metre spool of the stuff, and they are three different colours. On the left is the colour I started with, the smallest spool. In the middle is the colour I'm knitting with now, different but (hopefully) not disastrously so, and on the right is the very awful mauve-ish colour that I'm hoping I won't need to use. If the difference is too hard to see, take a look at what the knitting looks like at the point where the two colours meet:
Of course, I noticed that the wires don't match AFTER knitting up the first 150 metres, and since this piece needs to be finished by next Saturday, I have to just let go. Take a deep breath, centre myself, and not care. Anyway it's not like the room it will be in has really high quality lighting, maybe nobody will even see it. Maybe.
I guess the colour is just not a big concern for the stereo geeks.
On the upside, I think I'm going to have up to 300 metres of speaker wire left over, so e-mail me if you need some. jodi(AT)jodigreen(DOT)ca.
In other news, we installed the first part of our show today. Here's my piece in action.
The crazy quilt will go right in front of it, on the floor. It's all finished, look!
I'm pretty happy with the way it looks; printing it was really scary, since I only had one chance to get it right. Opaque white lithography ink is not as opaque on fabric as it is on paper, which worked out for the better here. The fact that it is subtle and the figure is not immediately apparent is a total accident, because I am just not about the subtlety. Peter says I can learn a little bit about subtlety from this and maybe use it to my advantage. But I'm not really much about the learning from my actions either; I didn't learn not to plug the toaster in while my thumb was inside until the second time I electrocuted myself that way.
November 12, 2004
Lose thirty inches in just six minutes!
So. After swatching the speaker wire four times on the same needle size and getting four different results, I cast on for the dress based on a gauge of three and a half stitches per inch. I'm not going to wear it anyway, but since it's supposed to stand in for my body I at least want it to be my size. After I had struggled to knit five rows, with 140 stitches bunched up super tight on my circular needle, I started to doubt my math. Then Peter said "it looks pretty scrunched on there, are you sure it isn't too big?".
So I started taking it off the needle, just to check. It was as if the knitting was enchanted, like an endless thread or that bottomless barrel of flour from the bible; it wouldn't end. It just kept coming off the needle, stretching out unbelievably huge, and there were always stitches still on the needle. We were laughing like crazy, I don't know what the heck was wrong with my swatches or how I managed to mess up so badly but I ended up with an enormous piece that I was able to put on and do the classic "after" pose with, you know, the one where the newly thin person stands inside their old pants to show how fat they used to be.
Then I measured the gauge of my messed-up piece: two stitches per inch! So I cast on 80 stitches and now the knitting is flying.
November 09, 2004
When knitting leaves your fingers bruised
I finally got the speaker wire for the dress, and after wasting an evening swatching and trying to cast on with it I decided to split the wire in half and knit the dress with just the copper strand. The last time I knitted with speaker wire I split it and used the two different colours separately (I made work socks, copper with silver cuff, heel and toe). So why did I think that I could get the same gauge wire (18) that I used before, and have it be just as easy to knit with the two strands attached? Uh, I was being dumbass. Trying to knit with two strands of 18 gauge wire on a 9mm circular needle is not impossible, but I was averaging about 3 stitches a minute, which means it would take me about 2000 hours to finish the piece. As if.
October 26, 2004
Finally, an FO
The secret sweater is finished! Here's a peek:
I wore it yesterday, even though it was sunny and 17 degrees.
Now that that's out of the way, I need to concentrate on studio work. I'm not allowed to start a new knitting project until after my grad show. It's hard, I really want to start Rogue right away but I don't have the time; I had to put the red yarn I'm making it with in one of the spare rooms so I can't see it and be tempted by it.
Today I am cutting the rest of this lino block.
I'm shooting to print it tomorrow afternoon. It's halfway there, and smaller than the other blocks so I think I can finish it in a few hours. So by tomorrow night I should have some new prints to show.
October 22, 2004
Today I went into the recording studio and recorded the sound of knitting. Man, they have some kick-arse gear in that place, but I went in there with some goofy delusions. I kind of thought I'd be behind glass, with headphones, like a rock star. I guess I watched too many videos in the 80s, Do they know it's Christmas, you know.
Instead it was just a room, the mics were set up right there where I was sitting at the table and I knitted with them pointing at my hands. I didn't get to hear the results yet but Garth seemed pretty happy with what we got and he's the expert (he got to wear headphones).
I was surprised at how bad my knitting got when I was just concentrating on the sound; now I think it's best that I didn't wear headphones because that would have created too much distance between me and my hands, and I would have messed up even more. I was dropping stitches, splitting yarn, it was a mess. And the unbroken rhythm of really quick stitching that I can usually maintain forever just wasn't happening; stage fright I guess. Microphones have always made me nervous. Still I think that's going to work better for this piece in the end. I also became acutely aware of my breathing, my swallowing and the gurgling of my stomach, and hopefully some of those sounds will be there too.
For anyone who cares (read: geeks), for the recording I used 4.5mm straight aluminum needles (really noisy clanky ones), and a lambswool/nylon blend that's nice and squeaky (20sts/26rows=4").
So. This weekend I am weaving in ends and blocking the secret sweater, then I'm working on this:
I need to finish the embroidery and get all these squares sewn together in the next week or so. It should be doable, there's only 18 squares. Three guesses what I'm going to print on it.
October 21, 2004
A little quickie
The secret sweater is oh! so! close to being finished. Today I finally got my submission in to Knitty, a little late but better than never; Amy said she likes it so far so hopefully they'll accept it (crossing my fingers). All I have to do now is finish the last of the hood, put it together and block it and take photos. If Knitty decides not to publish it, I'll publish it here on my website instead; I know my Aunt Mary Lou at least wants to make one.
Then I can get back to my real work; there are only four weeks left until my grad show. Yikes!