Skrilla Knits

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.



...that I should happen upon such a thought-provoking band when I decide to shift my mental energy from the crafty to the cerebral. I've been listening to Why? all week and it feels like being in the bathroom at the Montague Book Mill/Lady Killigrew.

I'm not saying that crafting isn't cerebral, I think it is. I feel like I've had a very lucky perch here in the knitting craze and what I notice more and more is a trend of sameness. The best designs/yarns/bloggers quickly attain cult status and they're deified in a way I find almost embarrassing. That isn't to say they don't deserve this, but it seems counterintuitive to the DIY ideal of self-sufficiency and creativity...

Anyhow, lately I have been thinking about weaving. I had my reasons for resisting it, despite the fact that I work at weaver's mecca (before the knitting craze, Webs was known for being the source for weavers). It takes a ton of yarn, space and know-how. I didn't dare take up another fiber hobby lest it take over the apartment entirely. Then I saw these linen towels woven by Sharon Alderman. They are beautiful and functional and all of a sudden weaving made sense. My plan is to use my last few store credits to buy the simplest of looms, a rigid heddle loom.

I took it as a sign when I found Learning to Weave for a 1/4 it's usual price at the Book Mill.

Over and out,



Rock Stars.

Firstly: thank you so much for all congrats on my grad school admission, especially new readers. I'm walking on clouds and will be all summer. For anyone who was curious about what I'm studying and where, I'll be returning to my alma mater, UMass, specifically the department of Communication. Some of you may know that Sut Jhally was one of the main reasons I came to transferred to UMass and while I fit a lot into the two years I had there I feel like there is much more to learn. My interests fall under the cultural studies umbrella, and I focus on the use of consumer goods/consumption in identity performance. It encompasses many areas and affects all of us, in ways as small as the coffee we drink to the careers we choose. It's complex and I'm going to have to work very hard to pick just one topic to cover in a thesis!

The theme of today's post is rock stars. This weekend was full of them. Eric and I had a picnic feast with some squirrels at Smith College, then nerded it up at Haymarket (him with the Sudoku and me with my knitting). At ten we went over to the Iron Horse. I was completely in the dark on the artists and was expecting to have a drink and knit. The minute Why? took the stage I was a mess. Later I would make a complete ass of myself trying to relay my enjoyment to Josiah the drummer, saying that the music made me "afraid in a good way". Yeah. I said that. Brilliant. It's urgent, spastic, enthralling, and sharp, and I want to see them over and over. Here is a video, which features a flying pug; obviously, I'm in love.

Another of the band in action elsewhere:

After the show the three bands took to the streets with a snare and some guitars in a wild roving parade, jumping on cars and causing a ruckus, drawing stares, cop cars and a huge ecstatic crowd. When it was determined that every bar was closed and every party too far, the crowd dwindled to a handful of UMass freshman, Eric and myself. I asked lots of questions and squirmed a lot. Come back soon, Why?

Onto other rock stars. The Yarn Harlot came to Webs, perhaps you've heard of her?

This was my favorite handknit sighting:

The woman said it was a Brandon Malby (didn't catch her name unfortunately).

I'm hoping to finish up my Webs knits very soon, so I can go on picnics with books and balls of linen, cotton or silk and knit some summer clothes. Stuff like this and this and this. And this, this and this. Slightly optimistic.

It's cold and rainy today and Eric is leaving me for the lab. I wish I had a kitten to run around with.





Eric surprised me with a bottla'champange! Awwwww yeah!

Back to reality...May 1st deadline looms and my first designs are going well, but not quickly. Time to bury myself in this pile of this knitter's "essentials": sweaters to use as giant templates, Lexie Barnes bags, 1995/Colin Firth edition of "Pride and Prejudice" (thanks again Melissa and Megan!!!) calculators, Denise needle kit, measuring tapes, reference books, little half-knit sweater zygotes, a yoga mat, a Glampyre pattern for diversion when needed, a cone of Webs' new alpaca-silk blend, vintage circular needles, etc...



EDIT: Okay, holy crap, today RULES! Lexie's site is updated, and your's truly is on page one along with a foxy lady whose name I forget and Lexie's adorable baby boy. Her new prints are AMAZING and it looks like I'll be adding another to my collection.


Look what Mrs. Weasley made me!

This thing was supposed to be done for the premiere of Goblet of Fire...oh well, at least it is done now. It's very comfy, but I only had a few balls of the yarn (Jo Sharp Silk Road Aran Tweed) so I was skimpy with it, but didn't need to be. For instance, this thing has quite the wide boatneck. People seem to like it but I think it's weird. I worked at a much larger gauge than I would've liked to (to conserve yarn) and the duplicate stitched letter R reflects this. The first few attempts looked very drunken, but I now I think I've settled on charmingly homemade, which is what the Weasley sweater is all about, right??

Just a simple top down raglan, the colors are Heather (main color) and Bramble (contrast). I'm tickled to have such a nerdy garment.

In about five days I will have a solid answer about graduate school. It'll be nice to know, at last. Until then, I'm taking it easy, very very easy.

Eric is off to California to give a presentation at an engineering conference, a.k.a. the Science Fair for grown-ups. He said "if I don't win a blue ribbon, heads are gonna roll!"

Next for knitting? I am close to finishing Eric's birthday Aran, if I hurry on it it can be his blue ribbon. I have to knit a couple of things for the store before May 1 and a few hats for friends. For myself? Well, I have been watching the 1995 (BBC mini-series) version of Pride and Prejudice and I have an immese desire to recreate this look:

Classic Elite Skye Tweed is on sale at Webs and I have set aside the perfect orange. This fits into Project Spectrum! The pattern I will use is Stefanie Japel's Forecast, with most of Winnie's modifications, and most likely a different cable insert. All I can say is, I'm pretty stoked. I feel like a Jane Austen fan shouldn't use words like "stoked", but whatever, I do what I want!

In addition to this, I am starting a top-down class on Wednesday and my teaching aid will double as custom-made sweater for my friend Kyle. I'm nervous! He wants "stripes and autumn colors" and I've already overwhelmed him with questions.

It's time to hang out with the boys...




New shoes! To replace the well-worn, well-loved Skullies. These have red roses on GRAPH PAPER. I love graph paper! Good for designing, and working out plans for forts. Also good for Eric's new Sudoku addiction.

After Matt's radio show and chowing down at the Miss Florence diner, we explored the impressive and large Bookends used bookstore, where I met the most plush cat I've ever seen and found this gem from 1978:

The ISBN turned up nothing, and neither did a Google search, but it's a really interesting read. I may have mentioned it before, but I have a habit that usually garners some sort of teasing about biological alarm clocks going off. I have a small collection of things going for any future children I might have. Things like Roald Dahl books, The Adventures of Pete and Pete DVDs, Dale of Norway patterns, and now this cool book about decommercializing holidays.

Last week I stayed up all night to sew a new hand. I still haven't started using the amazing antique sewing machine that Gail gave me. This is silly of me, but I do love the look of hand sewing. I decided to try to make some simple curtains for the apartment, since we're staying in the same one for another year, and it could use some spiffing.

Top to bottom: a Kaffe Fassett manly stripe for the living room (it kind of matches the hardwood floors), a really cool metallic print for throwpillows, hilarious deer print flannel for another pillowcase, green and brown leaf print for the bedroom's curtains, eyelet for the kitchen or maybe an apron, and some very soft cotton to make myself some sort of sleepwear, hopefully nicer looking than all of my Old Navy PJ pants.

More day off fun--I went to Barnes and Noble to mine decorating ideas and read through magazines I can't afford, like Selvedge ($20) and Delicious ($9 and from Australia), and books I can't afford, like Quilts by Denyse Schmidt and Mason-Dixon Knitting from Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne. I love both books and will buy them one day! I really can't get over how enjoyable Mason-Dixon Knitting is--the patterns are incredibly original, and that is coming from someone who spends her days absolutely immersed in knitting. I hadn't really been a reader of their joint blog, so the hilarious and sharp writing was a surprise. It reminded me of Amy Sedaris, decidedly Southern but with a darkly comedic edge. The stand-out projects for me are the curtains inspired by champange, the linen robe which looks like a dramatic kimono and all of their creative knits for the home. I can't wait to read this thing cover to cover.

Even though I had a dull headache (the good kind, if that makes sense) I ended my outing with a trip to the Jones Library. I wanted to pick up Color by Victoria Finlay for Project Spectrum reading. These were a bonus:

Since this is already turning into a monster post, I'll go ahead and reveal something that has been on my mind for awhile now. I got a letter from the department I applied to for graduate school, it said that I have been placed on their waiting list. After assuring me that this was a good thing, they told me that they've admitted 15 applicants with the anticipation that 3 will not accept. If they dip below 12, they'll go to the wait list. BUT-they have to maintain a balance of concentrations, so the only way I'll get in is if someone says no AND was going to study what I hoped to. My chances are slim, but I'm trying to stay optimistic. The deadline for the admittees to make a decision is April 15th. Until then, I'm thinking of back-up plans.

Textiles are a possibility, as is education. One crackpot idea I had that sounds better and better is being a home economics teacher. I know that there isn't really a huge need for that, but here's the deal: I love crafting, I love food, and I love sharing what I know. In college I spent a huge amount of time scanning ads from old issues of Good Housekeeping magazine for an independent study I did about the history of ads. The issues were kept on the 27th floor (I think) of the UMass W.E.B. DuBois Library along with a lot of other books stamped with the label "PROPERTY OF UMASS AMHERST DEPARTMENT OF HOME ECONOMICS". While I should've been mastering Marxist economic theory, I was happily hidden in the stacks of cookbooks and antiquated images of motherhood and domesticity.

After reading through an archive about the history of home economics put together by Cornell researchers, I realized that it marries many of the interests I have about feminism, consumption and practical crafting. An Australian website had this list of the skills a home economist fosters:
  • To help students understand and confront the way they influence and are influenced by broad societal factors such as media, advertising, peer pressure, government policies and changing technologies
  • Design, evaluate and make decisions related to textiles and food
  • Utilise design and technology relevant to families and households
  • Balance work responsibilites with personal responsibilities and leisure.
  • Provide opportunities for students to develop vocationally related knowledges and skills such as those related to food technology, hospitality, childcare and the design and textile industries.
  • Negotiate for effective and diverse family and interpersonal relationships
  • Understand and take action to enhance human growth and development
  • Take control of their health and develop health promoting behaviours
  • Choose nutritious foods in a changing market place
  • Prepare nutritious foods and develop health promoting food behaviours
  • Make informed, responsible and ethical consumer decisions

I guess I'll end with my favorite response to the question "What do you want to do when you grow up?"

"I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that. "

--Lloyd Dobbler in Cameron Crowe's "Say Anything".
Over and out,



I'm going to be on my new friend Matt's Valley Free Radio show Passion and Survival tomorrow morning, 9:00 a.m.! He keeps a blog called Passion and Survival as well.

Give a little listen, if you can.


In Bloom.

Two bandwagons jumped on, a day late and a dollar short. Flash Your Stash Day and Project Spectrum's March/Red month have come and gone, but I haven't had much time to blog lately and discovered them last minute.

bloom, originally uploaded by skrillaknits.

I played around with Flickr last night, uploading pictures of the majority of my stash. It was fun, and now I can throw away the shabby, cryptic lists I currently use as my Stash Archive. I wanted to sort it more but I am only allowed THREE photo sets as a free member and I'm too cheap to sign up for a pro account...sorry.

More about my Project Spectrum thoughts later, Sunday is flying by!