!!! Wednesday, Nov 21 2007 

So I’ve decided to try and streamline my Internet life, and making the switch to WordPress seemed like a good idea. Can’t tell you why yet, still exploring, but so far so good!

I haven’t posted much new yarn lately…this is because I’m really not buying much (well, compared to what I usually do), but it’s also because entering it into Ravelry feels like enough. I purchased yarn for the Colette sweater in the new Interweave (I chose burgundy and grass green Whiskey). I special ordered an Autumn Rose kit. I got two Ravens:

J.Knits generously sent me a few skeins of her new spring yarns to sample. I’d never seen these yarns, but Andra reps them in New England and speaks highly of them. They are GORGEOUS, look at this Camel in Nebraska (it feels thick and luscious, yarn Haagen-Daaz):

jknitscamel

This is Charming in Iowa. The yardage and the fiber content are really excellent–300 yards of lambswool, cashmere and angora. I’m thinking ridiculously luxurious socks.

Charming

And speaking of socks I had to grab this skein of my favorite ice cream flavor from Keegan Lane Yarns (I love the realism of the chocolate ‘chips’:

Mint Chip Sock Yarn

In other news, a Ladybug has landed in my apartment! Jenna and Melissa graciously rang me up past the official Webs closing time so I could take my Ladybug home. Thank you both, ladies, I know it was an annoying sale on a few levels =/ I did assemble it and find my ladybug (she’s on the right side of the…the part the looks like a phallus, I’m sorry, it does).

I’ve decided to name the wheel Lexie Sedgwick, a double homage to how I earned it and a theorist I’m fond of who writes about gender, performance, deconstruction and textiles! I didn’t know naming wheels was a “thing” but I used to name my cars, so why not the wheel?And speaking of spinning, check out my first plied yarn, this was spun and plied on the drop spindle.

First plied yarn

I totally love it, flaws and all! Those fat fuzzy slubs (and the uh, unspun bits) are right up my alley. I couldn’t believe how cool plying was, it went from overspun, kinky singles to a relatively balanced, pretty yarn. I really think that this fiber (wish Foxhill Farm had a website to link to) is what prompted me to pick up the drop spindle again. As for the wheel, it was equal parts Adrian and Jenna. Again, it makes so much sense that my next fiber endeavor is spinning, I’m the sort of knitter who is somewhat ashamedly in love with miles of stockinette–I’m in it for the fabric, and beautiful yarns speak to me more than complicated stitch patterns or ambitious construction. There, I said it. I’m a knit simpleton, with expensive tastes.

CR

In theory… Monday, Nov 19 2007 

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!

CR

Undoing, thy name is: Thursday, Nov 15 2007 


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?

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.

CR

NoSoNaFiSweMo Tuesday, Nov 6 2007 

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

6. Thermal

7. Forecast


8. Spray/T-Storms

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!

CR

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?

Post monster! Friday, Nov 2 2007 

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.

CR

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.

Grey area. Thursday, Nov 1 2007 

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!

CR

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!

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