Knitting has long been considered antiquated, something for grandmas and whipped little housewives. That just isn't true. Knitting is one of those minute to learn, lifetime to master deals, and I'm in it for the long haul.
After I emerged from my paper on language theory, I took a class at Webs on color theory. I'm sorry to say it was pretty elementary stuff. Building a color wheel, learning some basic terms (primary, secondary--didn't get to tertiary--, tint, hue, shade). I would have liked a little more practice designing unique palettes or analyzing color use in Fair Isle. The instructor touched on the Bezold Effect and simultaneous contrast, which are both kinds of optical illusions that occur when specific colors are placed beside each other...this was the sort of thing I wanted to explore, but oh well. Coolest lesson: use hexagonal bits of cardstock to make little interlocking swatches that are easy to rearrange:
I was hoping to kill two birds with one stone and pick up a little something something, but Dena and I couldn't find the non-floor model. Sigh. Probably for the best, I think I might prefer a Kromski Sonata for its foldability. I got a Teach Yourself Visually Handspinning book, the new Interweave and some hot pink tweed, Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran in Treasure.
The wheel urge is just worse and worse, I've been practicing on the drop spindle and have realized that a lot of my favorite yarns have a slubby, handspun quality (Terra by the Fibre Company, Noro Cash Iroha, Tahki Donegal Tweed, Kureyon...). After reading that Gandhi was a big proponent, I was kind of sold. There are a lot of amazing quotes here under Charkha.
I have some random deliciousness to show you. When I bake bread I usually use a recipe from the Enchanted Broccoli Forest (do click, you get the whole recipe!) that calls for a 'mix' which is a potion comprised of melted butter, honey and activated yeast. This was a souped up mix, an attempt to imitate a Ploughman's Loaf from Northampton's Woodstar Cafe.
It contains Kate's salted butter, chunks of English cheddar, caramelized onion, and some Coleman's mustard powder, sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper. It was tasty but the heat in the apartment wasn't on (I didn't notice, I was bundled up) and the poor bread barely rose. I'll try it again, probably with some Cotswold. I am OBSESSED with Cotswold these days. I almost choked on a piece when it was mentioned in this week's episode of 'ER', #298 Coming Home.
Okay, that's it for now. Next post will be yarn heavy, I have some new lovelies to show off (see my Flickr page if you're curious), and I hope to have this plied up and knittable:
I am knitting by the way, but I don't want to reveal anything before the contest ends! I have made two dog sweaters for my friend Shara's pomapoo, I'm hoping for photos soon!
Undoing, thy name is:
And it had to arrive the week I have a major, must get an A paper in which I have to "engage" readings from the following big guns: Antonio Gramsci, Kenneth Burke, J.L. Austin, Jurgen Habermas, Erving Goffman, Raymond Willimas and John Searle. No biggie, right? Ain't nothing but a 20th century language theorist's paaaaaaartaaaay...all I have to say is, where my ladies at?
Speaking of modeling, I did some hand modeling last week, for Edie Eckman's next book. I kind of have man-hands, so I found this amusing. They aren't going to get any prettier if I keep beating up on them with this crazy game. Eric has already requested a knitted wristband for padding! Oof. I can't help the addiction, they're the songs of my youth--from the 80s (Guns and Roses, Foghat, Dead Kennedy's) to the mid 90s (Weezer, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against the Machine)...I'm such a Nintendo sucker, and I'm already coveting a DS Lite with the brain-builder vocabulary/memory/hand-eye coordination improving games! Wow. I'm a geek.
So you've heard of NaNoWriMo and it's knit twin NaNoSweMo. Meet NoSoNaFiSweMo.
It's my very own Not-So-National Finish a Sweater Month...contest!
You see, the cold has finally arrived. My closet is pretty slim in the sweater department. The ones I wear the most are Salvation Army rescues. I've stupidly felted a few sweaters recently. My go-to black cardigan is full of holes.
L.L. Bean is offering free shipping at the moment so I went over to score some wool cardigans. I was happily creating a cart (tempting items: a red plaid coat a la Little Pete from "Pete and Pete," a union suit and red plaid duct tape). Then it hit me--I have one kojillion unfinished sweaters all over the apartment. Well, I'm rounding up, but let's take a head count of all the sweaters I have just...stopped mentioning (lots of Ravelry links, sorry):
1. Tilted Duster
2. Blood Orange Cardigan
3. Enid Cardigan
4. Hudson Hoodie
5. Treeline Cardigan
SO--I've decided to finish these. In November. Pretty sure I can't do all of them, but I'm going to see how many I can pull off. Here is the contest: guess how many sweaters (and which ones) I'll finish by December 1st! There will be a blog runway show to show off the finished objects.
The info about these sweaters is on the blog, on Ravelry and on some knit-along pages. Some of it isn't up to date and starting now, I will not edit or update ANYTHING related to these sweaters until December 1st. No new info!! This month is a busy one for me but there is Thanksgiving break and residual energy from all the caffeine I'll be chugging to get through the schoolwork. You can ask me ONE question in the comments before making your guess.
Winners will receive a custom prize package, most likely a combination of some stash items, books or Lexie Barnes bags I'd like to pass along and new items purchased especially for the winner. If no one guesses exactly correctly, I will choose randomly from whoever guessed the correct NUMBER of sweaters. Unclear? Please ask away.
The gauntlet has been thrown down!
P.S. My statcounter tells me that I had a random jump in readership on Monday...but I can't figure out why. The Visitor Paths are only reported for the most recent 100 visitors. Does anyone know who linked to me?
I don't know what has gotten into me, posting three times in one week. Maybe I'm inspired by the NaBloPoMo participants? Or maybe it's that there are some exciting things happening. First one: Lexie is looking for ladies (actually, I'm sure dudes are welcome too, I just like alliteration!). She really means it when she says "All ages, ethnicities, shapes, and sizes are encouraged to submit an entry," this is the woman who lets/loves for me come to photo shoots with chipped black nail polish and whatever Van's slip-ons I'm wearing that day. You can probably tell from her bags but Lexie's aesthetic is one of kind, and now you can be a part of it!
When I mentioned Norah Gaughan's exclusive to Webs (for the next two weeks at least) Lotus Cardigan, I did NOT give it it's due. Here is a better picture (still pretty bad though, photographing catalog paper is difficult and I struggle with digital photography in general):
It was knit by Andra Asars, a woman I'm proud to call my adopted yarn mentor. She is brilliant at what she does, including whipping out perfect, custom-sized garments like this one in about two weeks. Here is us at Stitches watching the Red Sox, fanciest fans ever! We look like a demure Betty and Veronica, no?
A sample garment of hers went missing at Stitches...if anyone has a friend who "whips up" a size 42" red Chantal in a record amount of time...please let me know. It is sad to lose garments this way, and it happens way more than it should. You'd think fellow knitters would understand how many hours go into sample garments.
P.S. If you're watching the Office and you squeal at the amazingness of the Finer Things Club and your boyfriend immediately suggests "You should make a Ravelry group for it!" you MIGHT be addicted to Ravelry.
So I mentioned Fashion Plates in my last post and I've had a few questions about long sleeves on the Gallery Jacket. It was absolutely meant to be long-sleeved! I was basically trying to recreate a favorite sweater (seen here in all it's ribby wrappy glory) and ran out of time. Luckily, the time constraint forced me to cut corners (in a good way, IMHO) by picking up stitches around the armsyce and knitting down until they yelled "CUT! Put it on. Look pretty!" I plan to make mine long-sleeved and it will be easy for all of you to do so--just keep knitting! It might make sense to work some decrease rows past the elbow. I'll cast on for my version soon and share those numbers with you (and Webs, so they can put it on the pattern) soon.
About "re-interpreting" sweaters...a Ravelry thread about design/pattern theft got pretty heated recently. It's always an interesting discussion and I've even taught a colloquium about the contested nature of originality. We explored the possibility that it might not be possible anymore, and looked at it from a number of angles (planned communities like Celebration, FL, media mash-ups, iconography and semiotics, mimicry and homage, etc.). You can read my thoughts on this here. For non-Ravelers, I will just say that letting go of a fetishized notion of "originality" was the first step I had to take before engaging design and setting my creative output loose into the world.
The store-bought sweater uses a different rib pattern and of course, a different sleeve. Mine is practically seamless, which the store version isn't. It also incorporates some clunky, very visible decreases that I nixed. I would never claim to have dreamed up this sweater out of thin air--it's more like a jazz standard. Fun fact about me--I used to work at the Acton Jazz Cafe and have heard approximately 312 versions of "Stella by Starlight." Ooh, another--I still don't know the words! My mother used to sing professionally and my father is a jazz drummer but I am notoriously bad at learning lyrics.
The STR Sock Club accepts enrollments today. Hate to say, it was easy to resist signing up. I've signed up for two, yes TWO seasons of the Sundara Season's club and I have billion skeins of STR in my stash anyway. Working as a Stitches vendor is it's own little sock club...you get to shop the amazing booth before the attendees! Heck, Deb and Kaci will tell you that I shop the booth while they're UNPACKING. Yes, I am annoying. I can't help it, look at this!!
Anyhow, I'm saving my BMFA $$ for the Raven series. I'm oh-so-curious to see the BMFA non-brights, and Kaci tells me that the patterns are fantastic.
It's deliciously grey today. Does anyone else love these damp, foggy fall days? They get no love!
P.S. Whoa. I just searched my blog to see if I've mentioned the colloquium before. I have--look at the title. SEE-nothing is original!
The first Gallery Jacket! Is it vain if I say that I think it's freaking adorable? Julie is right, you can style it a million ways...it was difficult to pick one way to show it in the catalog to be honest.
I haven't been the best blogger lately...I've been consumed with school stuff but somehow, after chatting with Lisa Shroyer at Stitches East, I thought it'd be a good idea to submit a few designs to Knitscene. I was all flattered and big headed for a few minutes but then I saw that it was more of an open call...heh...oh well, it was wicked fun to play designer for a week, it was just like playing with Fashion Plates! I suck at sketching so I did a little collage work. I'm in love with some of the swatches, here is a peek:
Speaking of secret designs, I can reveal the secret from an old post. Norah Gaughan designed a pattern, Lotus that was knit to fit my exact measurements (acoustic guitar-like: long neck, long torso, flared bottom/hip region, also monkey arms)! It was knit in Jasper, velvety soft Jasper in a deep wine red colorway that had stripes of charcoal of beige. I love it!!
What else...I'm knitting some simple winter accessories, the cold has finally arrived and they're very much needed, I play the same game the Harlot mentions here. The most exciting is the shawl I've started with Jenna's handspun:
I'm calling this the Girl Power shawl because Spunky Eclectic dyed the fiber, Jenna spun the yarn and I'm knitting it up, using a Spunky Eclectic pattern. The cirrrrrrrcle of yaarrrrn...
Poor Jenna was at my house for the final Red Sox World Series game...she is a Yankees fan and...we...may have bickered. The lovable underdog days are officially over, so I was kind of at a disadvantage, but I refuse to believe that Yankee fans outnumber the citizenry of Red Sox nation, which is much larger than just Massachusetts! Jenna ate some of my overcooked and bitter broccoli rabe and I felt slightly vindicated.
This song is currently stuck in my head and I don't mind at all...
I suppose I should blog...
Yeesh, October is crazy! I have let a backlog of events, purchases, etc. pile up and now I'm a little overwhelmed by it all. Here are a few highlights from Rhinebeck, I'll tackle Stitches East in the next post. Sorry for the links to pictures, I sized them incorrectly and they looked really bad here. I'll figure it out =/
This was my first visit, and it was lovely! Jenna and I used the buddy system and had an excellent, relaxing time. Maybe we were a little antisocial, we skipped meet-ups, the Ravelry party and Blogger Bingo but we're both having insane semesters, we're running on empty.
We feasted on the famous artichokes, as well as apple pie a la mode, milkshakes, and many tiny bits of cheese. Jenna's old BF Max showed us around Rhinebeck and we caught a snippet of the Darjeeling Limited from the projection room at his family's theater, Upstate Films. Met Jessica, that was awesome. I love meeting bloggers I've read for a number of years, it's really bizarre--we were both like, "haven't we already met?"
Minor purchases were made (Jenna was hyper-restrained/disciplined!). I picked up only one skein of yarn, tie-dyed angora from...I'm not sure where. I think it's the same booth and same yarn that Jenna and Huelo purchased from at Cummington Sheep and Wool in May, Acker Acres Angoras? I asked the woman what it looked like knit up and she said "I dunno, I just dyed it and haven't knit it!" I'm thinking it might end up looking like the sky in my favorite Van Gogh.
Some insane roving that looks like intestines from Foxhill Farm Fibers and Sheep. I'm regretting not picking up a bag that was really beachy, as well as two tiny ones that were yellow and bubble gum pink. I also grabbed some very cool wool fabric--tweeds and herringbones in amazing colors. It's actually pretty hard to find small amounts of soft wool in interesting colors, so I was excited to learn where they're hiding (rug hookers hoard them!). I'm hoping to try a Denyse Schmidt style scarf.
I'm starting to feel the pull for a spinning wheel! It's a big purchase but I've been really good this year. It might seem like I spend a lot on yarn, bags and shoes (and I do) but I'm really good at budgeting everything else. Clothing, food, books etc. are all done on the cheap. I really like this blogger's thoughtful approach to buying/shopping for a wheel. I have some offers to try some different wheels. The smaller/more compact the better so I'm thinking castle or folding. I know double treadle is supposed to be easier but I have an ankle problem that makes it hard to do things evenly with both feet...I might be better off with a single treadle. Aesthetically I'm drawn to the Kromski Sonata and Minstrel, the Ashford Kiwi, the Louet S75 and the adorable Schacht Ladybug.
One of the shopping considerations is what sort of yarn you'd like to spin. I love Jacey's yarn and I lust after Spincycle Yarns. What has really sent me over the edge is all the handspun garter stitch stuff that Adrian and Jared are churning out. Remember the Spunky Eclectic roving I bought at Cummington? Well, Jenna spun it up for me on her Louet S75:
It came out BEAUTIFULLY, and it's highly inspiring. It's South African Fine from Spunky Eclectic, colorway Rocky Mountain High. I originally thought I'd make a hat and mittens (Jenna reserved some of the roving so I could thrum with it) but it's so pretty I might do a really simple shawl instead, a Spunky pattern in fact! Full circle, nice.