Itchy. Tuesday, Mar 20 2007 

I’ve got a raging case of the mean reds. Could be because sewing is so distracting to me that I can hardly get any real work done or leave the apartment. I’ve taken up watching The View for a number of reasons, but I’ve got to stop. It derails my day. I get up around 9 (late for someone who used to row and work a ‘regular’ job) and do some organizing/reading/craft planning. Eric makes coffee and eat cornflakes really noisily. I glower. He leaves. At 11 I’m watching the View and eating a little brunch. I started off just watching the opening ‘hot topics’ segment but now I usually watch straight through. By noon I still haven’t showered (there is a reason I’m admitting to this publicly–I NEED TO BE SHAMED!) and I don’t have to be to campus for any particular reason. This isn’t just a spring break schedule, it’s like this every week. The earliest I’m expected to be anywhere during the week is 3:30 p.m. Yeah. It’s bad.

Anyhow, the View. Rosie O’Donnell and Elisabeth Hasselbeck have the most ferocious political arguments, I am just waiting for the day it turns physical. Rosie jokes about not liking her job as ‘gay mascot’ of the show but the fact that she discusses alternative sexualities on an almost daily basis and gets applauded for doing so blows my mind. It’s not the lesbianism that I’m necessarily impressed by it’s her voiced attraction to various celebrities regardless of gender. She endorses a carnivalesque approach towards human attraction, claiming that we’re all on a spectrum that is above all things mutable. She pulls no punches politically and it’s a thrill to see it happen on daytime television in front of audiences that I’d (perhaps unfairly) assumed to be the very opposite of forward-thinking.

Oh! And on a lighter note, her and Joy Behar talk about what it means to be a woman in comedy almost daily. I’m currently cobbling together a paper on Sarah Silverman for a conference in April so anything about the subject catches my interest these days.

So anyway…I’ve been sewing more than knitting these days. Here are some pictures, and all the details are over at Craftster:

It’s only Tuesday and it feels like my break is flying by…I’ve been buying a crapload of sock yarn lately and I swore I’d finish some very old chunky weight projects (I just typed ‘problems’ instead of ‘projects’…is that a sign?) so hopefully my next post will be…yarn-ier.



Home Ec x 2 Tuesday, Mar 13 2007 

I have a feeling you’re all going to get soooooooOOooo sick of this top!

It’s another Built by Wendy Home Ec top, and anticipate making about one zillion of these! My size takes just under 2 yards of fabric and it’s the perfect project for trying out lots of different seaming/edge finishing techniques. It’s getting super fast and I absolutely love wearing them, they are super comfortable. This one is also a size 10 but I’ve since purchased a new pattern and my next will be the right size, a little less fitted. Right now it’s a bit snug under the pits and the back is a little blousy:

The best part–my very own label!! I had these made at, I also have some ‘skrillaknits‘ ones, I’ll debut those as soon as I finish a dang sweater. I haven’t come up with a good way to sew them on, any tips? This is the best I could come up with…

Lastly, it appears that my worrying about Interweave was for naught–the scholarly, reverent Eunny Jang is taking the helm! This is by far the coolest blogger hits the big time story yet. I’m psyched, I bet it’s going to reach encyclopedic proportions!

Speaking of being excited about academics…I’ve been really up and down about graduate school this year. On the bad days I feel incredibly inept and frustrated, but on good days I feel the way Emily does about her artwork/cottage industry:

“It’s strange to say, but The Black Apple has been pretty much a best friend for the last few years, even before I had my online storefront or blog. It has been my constant companion through two different wonderful-but-difficult-in-their-own-way relationships, the changing and shuffling locations and closeness of friends, and two big moves. People ask all the time for tips, or pearls of wisdom about the success of my cottage industry, and maybe it’s as simple as that. It’s my companion and if I’m not working for it, I’m thinking of it.”

I just dug through some old papers looking for a syllabus from a colloquium I taught as an undergrad and it was really heartening to see that I’m pretty much following the trajectory I dreamed about 5 years ago…it’s hard to stay the course, but I think I will. Speaking of Home Ec (my name for the easy peasy top), I’m cornering my thesis idea more and more, I’ll tell you all about it soon…

Oh! A public thank you to all the Western Mass. blogladies who joined me on Sunday for a knit-together. We were all tempted to photograph it for our respective blogs, but we showed remarkable restraint. Inside joke time:



Stitches West 2007 Saturday, Mar 10 2007 

Hi everyone! I know I promised to stop making such infrequent gigantic posts, but I’ve decided…maybe that’s just how I roll. Onward:

I had to laugh when I read Yarn Harlot’s freak-out about white paint. I recently re-organized my pattern stash and had to find a way to decorate that outer spine since they hog so much of the shelf. I dug out my stash of paint sample cards and settled on all watered down versions of primary colors, but not before flipping through about 20 cards of ‘whites’. My reaction was more ‘awe’ than ‘rage’ but I can totally see her point.

I’m glad so many of you agreed with my Interweave makeover reaction, which I felt wildly snarky about. I fully acknowledge the need to innovate, especially aesthetically, but I couldn’t help but feel a good deal of loss. To get over it I placed an order for color cards and yarn samples at the decidedly old school (in the best possible way) Schoolhouse Press. I threw in a wheel of unspun Icelandic and look how neat it is:

It’s supposed to be ‘nested’ in a box, not wound into a ball, and it’s like working with cotton candy. Very soft, very lovely.

Project Spectrum: My first Socks that Rock ( lightweight in the Lucy colorway, my mini-review to follow) totally fits this month’s call for blue, white and grey, neutrals that I love. Yes, blue is neutral to me. In another ‘late to the game’ move, I picked Grumperina’s Jaywalker for my pattern. If I’d known how addictive and easy to memorize it was I would’ve knit these a long time ago!! BTW, my new Knitpicks double-pointeds are JUST the thing for all those double decreases.

Stitches West 2007 haul/highlights, or The Gluttony:

  • Grass green hemp from Lanaknits for a lacy summer top. This booth was an oasis of calm–burlap lined walls just like Moving Mud, clean and modern designs, and a fun ‘by-weight’ way of buying that A) evokes a farmer’s market and B) feels a lot more accurate than buying by the skein. Did I mention hemp is a dirt cheap fiber? For $100 bucks I could have purchased a whole new summer wardrobe. I exercised restraint but I did show a slight moment of weakness when I purchased a…wait for it…poncho pattern. The lovely designer heard me making jokes and said “no no, it’s a ponchETTE!” Absolved! And a good thing too, since I’ve admired Winnie’s for…3 years now? Yikes! I’ve got a bit of a backlog going, eh?

  • A kit for a Habu bag that I’ve stalked for 4 Stitches now. Takao works her booth with one of these draped across her small frame, knitting swatches with the yarn nested in the bag. I’m thrilled to finally have the pattern, and to have found a kit in such atypical colors (for Habu)–instead of the usual stony neutrals, this one is orange and deep plum. I’ve started to play with this–it’s slow knitting, but so cool. Hmm…I’m just now realizing that the pattern was living in a magazine of mine all along. Oh well, it’s still fun to play with the new fibers.

  • Socks that Rock–I finally joined the cult, in a big way. I walked away with 6 skeins of sock yarn, many patterns and a severe sinking sadness that I wasn’t in the Club (for serious, that first kit for this round is so ‘me’ it hurts!’) I started working with the stuff and all I can think of is the sort of ice cream I enjoy–really heavy, extremely rich, full of exciting surprises to excavate with my spoon (or in this case, with each new round) and what gourmands call ‘good mouthfeel‘. This yarn has fantastic mouthfeel! I’m sure you’ve heard it called ‘delicious’ or ‘yummy’, I never knew how literal the evaluation really was until I started knitting it. Besides the two bright skeins picture first, I gravitated towards all of the colorways with a good dose of white. Odd, since they’re so famous for their saturated brights, but I went with it! To my dear friend Andra, it isn’t just hype, you have GOT to knit this stuff sometime! I UPS’ed my purchases home and was shocked that it was 8 lbs. In my defense, I had several bottles of wool wash, lotsa hemp (yarn, heh). I had to laugh when I came across this site that calls the yarn “atypically dense”. Amen to that!

  • The lovely Tina at BMFA (I think) laughed at me because I declared myself cut-off many times but kept stalking this amazingly soft top knit with their Bambu–it literally felt like water running through my hands. In the very last TEN MINUTES of the 4 day show she aptly cried “You’re obsessing!” and gave me the “pitiful grad student” discount. I couldn’t have been more thrilled, I truly did stalk the garment, and probably sold it to ten people while I did so! I was a total pain in the ass picking a color, she said Thunder (stormy pinks and purples), I was contrary and took Savannah (sandy browns and blues with a shot of rust orange), then switched at the last minute, in that panicky insane/typical Stitches customer fashion. Anyhow, I was quite the pusher for their booth and dragged my co-workers Sarah and Karen over before the show opened. They were smart and snagged the Bambu top ingredients the first night, but not before witnessing the stamPEDE of women running towards the booth the minute the market opened. We kept making bathroom detours to get a fix–a skein here, a pattern there–it kept us sane (make that elated) through the madness!
  • Lastly, I got a good deal on some Manos del Uraguay. I ripped out my heavy, droopy chunky alpaca version of Hot Lava and will hopefully have more success with this yarn, the one called for in the first place!

Okay, do I feel appropriately guilty yet…? I’d say so. Time to get to work.