yarnbombing: call for submissions

April 18, 2008

I just found this link via Craftzine.com’s blog.  Submission deadline is May 30, so if you have something you’d like to submit…hop to!

I am so nuts over knitting “grafitti” (otherwise known as outdoor, public decorations).  I would really like to come up with a submission for this book!  I’ve had some different ideas for public knitting/crocheting installations, and maybe this call for submissions will be an encouraging push to think something up.

Yarnbombing seems to be a fairly new blog, and promises to profile yarn graffiti groups around the world.  I’m definitely looking forward to watching this blog!  It’s a co-blog by friends Mandy Moore (tech editor of knitty.com, not the American former-singer, current-actress) and Leanne Prain (apparently she started a knitting group at a pub, which is what GFF always suggests I should look for).  Their book will come out in fall 2009 from Arsenal Press.

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shrug it off

March 25, 2008

After the mini rock camp event on Saturday, I needed a whole weekend to recover my mental wellness. Sunday GFF and I spent the whole day napping, taking walks, watching Harold and Maude, and eating. And then yesterday, I did more of the same, but alone. Minus the napping and Harold and Maude, plus Project Runway. I still have these gift socks I’m working on, but I was feeling the need for a quick-and-dirty, large-gauge project, and I thought I’d give a garment a go.

As you might recall, I was the lucky beneficiary of a large box of odd balls of yarn from Skrillaknits stash, via the Ravely group Stash and Burn Groupies thread “Would you like to try?” Cirillia was getting rid of odd balls left over from projects, as well as some yarns that don’t match her season. Included in the box was three balls of Southwest Trading Company’s Phoenix soysilk in Rose.

When I first pulled those out of the box, I thought I’d make a third Clapotis with the yarn. I made my Mom a clapotis with SWTC’s Oasis yarn (another 100% soysilk yarn, but finer and sort of slinkier) and I love that one. But as soon as I started the set up rows with this yarn, I could tell that I wasn’t going to like the resulting fabric. So I started trawling around on Ravelry, and came up with this little pattern. It called for exactly the amount of the same yarn that I had, so I cast on right away and just started knitting.

IM001705

I sat on the couch and knit away on this baby for several hours, watching Project Runway and listening to podcasts. That picture shows my progress after about 4 hours.

I kept going last night and knit some more this morning and here’s where I am now:

IM001707

This is maybe the most accurate color representation.  I watched an episode of My So Called Life online this morning, and the color reminds me a lot of the kind of lipstick Sharon Cherski would wear.  This is not a color I would normally wear – certainly not in make up, but also not in clothing – but I kind of like this little shrug.  I’ve tried it on over one shoulder while I was knitting to gauge the sizing, and the color is cute.

My birthday is Friday and I’m going to a conference upstate, and then on vacation for a few weeks to warmer climes.  I’m hoping to have this done before I leave so that I have something new to wear for my birthday and my travels!  Shouldn’t be a problem.


this one goes out to my granny

March 24, 2008

So. I’ve been crocheting.

I’ve told you before that I started out crocheting before knitting, and it was sort of disastrous and bad for me and cursed — if you shouldn’t knit your boyfriend a sweater, you REALLY shouldn’t crochet him a slip-stitch acrylic blanket, fergodsake, and that goes double if you are gay. In my experience, it causes pretty bad back pain. I’m just saying.

humble blankie beginnings

This blanket is soooo much better.

I started out making lots of little granny squares that I was going to combine into an afghan at some point down the line.

IM001702

But one of the things that appeals to me about making a danged blanket is being able to see it grow. I want it to be a massive and unwieldy pile of fiber that I can work on while watching Buffy on hulu.com. There’s not much a winter left, but while people are still wearing down coats and my radiator hisses, I want to be buried beneath fiber. Even in the form of cheap crochet thread like I’m using for this.

Plus what if I can’t figure out some good way to get these little squares arranged, let alone attached? What the heck am I going to do with hundreds of squares?

Better to crochet one ever-increasing square.

I don’t actually have enough crochet thread to make it into an actual blanket at this point, though. I might rip out my little squares when I need more thread for the big square.  And then buy some more at Hobby Lobby in my midwest travels.

I am having such a good time with these crochet projects! I’d forgotten how lovely and sculptural crochet can be. My mother used to crochet afghans some when I was growing up, and she taught me the basic stitches a long time ago. I’ve had to re-learn online for this project, and even though I feel totally lost reading any sort of crochet pattern (is it just me, or do the crochet stitch names seem to have nothing to do with the actual stitch?), I’m feeling the urge to crochet some more. I feel like it might be easier to make things fit well? Is that crazy? I found several projects I want to crochet through Ravelry, like the Victorian Shrug + Wrap on the cover of Crochet Me!, and the Spiraled Flower Shawl from Vogue on the Go Crocheted Shawls (by the same designer, will you look at that?).

Do any of you crochet?  Like, actual garments? Where do you find patterns?  Is there a free online crochet zine, like Knitty for crocheters?  I’m not sure I want to take the plunge buying these books while I’m in my early obsessive stages.


a taste of rock

March 22, 2008

I promise to have some fiber content tomorrow (I have updates on my Pomatomus socks as well as photos of my granny square mania), but I wanted to do a quick plug for a rock camp event we have going today. In conjunction with the premier of Girls Rock! (which was so awesome, by the way!), Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls is holding a mini Rock Camp in Williamsburg, Brooklyn at Union Pool.

Mini-Rock-Camp-flyer

Girls and Boys ages 5-18 are invited to participate in mini instrument lessons, band art activities, and general rockness!  Performances throughout the afternoon of camper and kid bands!  Plus the opportunity to bid on some cool raffle items and a Girls Rock! Limited Edition Fender Stratocaster Guitar.

If you’re in the area and you have some little rockstars of your own, bring them out!  Adults with kiddos get in free, and adults without kids are $12.  If nothing else, I gotta say — all the performances are going to be awesome.

Knitting content?  I’ll have my gift socks with me, and if you come say hi you can take a peek!


been gone so long

March 17, 2008

Oh my, that was an unintended break in posting. Would you believe it if I told you that I’ve been so busy with some new crafts that I didn’t have time to take any pictures or write out some thoughts? I clearly jumped the gun naming my blog, but I suppose that it’s pretty common for so-called “knit”bloggers to also sew or embroider or bake or or or…

I’m not a knitter that has a big problem with crocheting; I originally learned to crochet and tried to knit an ex a forest green afghan out of dk-weight acrylic yarn. Entirely in rows of slip stitch. (Even you monogamous knitters probably know about the slip stitch – this is what gives stability to some pieces or holds some pieces together.) I had to visit the campus health center for back pain the summer I was working away on that thing, and the doc prescribed me some heavy-duty muscle relaxers. The tension in that thing was so tight, I could barely get the hook through the loops of the previous row, and despite the fact that I didn’t rip out a single stitch and worked on the thing every night for months, at the end of the summer I had a rectangle of dense, stiff fabric that was neither long nor wide enough to be used even as a scarf. I have no idea what happened to it or the leftover yarn during my next semester, but I wish I had it around now to compare to the things I’ve been crocheting this weekend.

“Things?” you are probably thinking. Um. In the past 24 hours I’ve knit 13 granny squares. It all started because I sewed a no-cash wallet last weekend and then wanted to sew again. So I sewed another one. And then I sewed a bunch of triangles of scrap fabric together to make crappy little pyramids. And then I took another scrap of fabric and made a sampler with all the different stitches my cheap-y Singer machine can make (not that many). And it had only been an hour, and I couldn’t think of anything else to make without a pattern.

And the urge just struck me. I suddenly really needed to crochet some granny squares. I have a bunch of DMC Senso wool/cotton and wool/linen yarns my Mom bought and never really used last year, and a set of plastic crochet hooks I added on to a Joann.com purchase to get free shipping. So I just googled “how to make a granny square” and followed the directions in the first link (this really excellent one if you are interested in joining in the madness). And now I have 13 of them.

But I’ll tell you what. The madness does not stop at 13 granny squares. This time around, my crochet tension is nothing like that slipstitch crazy-making afghan. I feel more relaxed looping and scooping my double crochet stitches than I do knitting stockinette in the round. I got on Ravelry this morning and started trolling for crochet patterns to add to my queue. I came up with some beautiful sculptural capes, lacy tops, and tawashi. Tawashi are like fancy, cute dishrags, and although some are slightly more complicated than the infamous ball-band dishrag, they are just so fancy! and cute! Look!

I have a pair of gift socks just languishing on the needles now, because I have become obsessed with knitting teensy granny squares and glorified brillo pads. Forget public knitting — I’ll be on my couch with my hooks for a while.


spring knitting

March 12, 2008

New Knitty is up!

(Remember when you would find out about that several days after it had gone up from reading one of the knitting blogs you checked individually? You know, before Ravelry?)

I don’t find myself being so taken with spring and summer knitting patterns as I do with fall and winter patterns, so this issue of Knitty isn’t as exciting for me as some others. There’s obviously something brewing for Veronik Avery’s Lace Ribbon pattern though, as my friend’s activity page on Ravelry shows:

Ravelry Friend's Activity, 24 hours after Spring Knitty 08 was released

I’m almost done with the Poms (just have to knit the toe of the second sock and weave in all ends), and then I will be knitting the second of the gift socks I’m working on. In three weeks I have several long bus and plane trips planned, so I might be knitting Lace Ribbon with everyone else!


link roundup

March 11, 2008

I’m still knitting away on my Pomatomus socks, about halfway down the instep at this point. They should be done in the next few days, and I’ll post a FO report with pics. (Speaking of pics, I need to apologize for my not-so-great photos. I’m using an old HP Photosmart camera that can only take 5 pictures at one time on the highest quality setting – and even that setting is pretty crap. We have a better Canon Powershot camera, but the lens is broken and we are still working on getting it fixed. Anyway, onward with the post!) I’m also working on some gift knitting that I don’t want to post yet, so that will be coming as well.

Here are a few links I’ve been digging lately:

  • Look at this gorgeous sweater! These days I want all my clothing to feel like walking around in a cocoon blanket, but this is like a sophisticated, beautiful family heirloom blanket. [via knitsane]
  • I’m planning a trip to the Museum of Art and Design to view Pricked! in early April. Last winter they had the Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting exhibit, which I really enjoyed, and I’ve been anxious to see this new exhibit which seems like a logical extension of the first. I haven’t heard much talk about it, but one of my favorite poet/artists was involved in the public programming…
  • Jen Bervin! She has been working on a set of Emily Dickinson’s fascicles in a project that combines poetry and embroidery. (Take a look around her site at some of her other projects; if you are interested in embroidery and other fiber arts and poetry AT ALL, you will probably be fascinated!)

I also brought out my sewing machine this weekend and used it for the first time to make an improvised CD holder and the No Cash Wallet from Bend the Rules Sewing by Amy Karol. No pictures, unfortunately, as we were being assaulted by sheets of rain all day. I think maybe I named my blog too soon! I have too many ideas for just one craft…


girls rock! the movie

March 7, 2008

Hey y’all.
girls rock movie flier

Something you might now know about me! I volunteer with the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls, which is just one of a BUNCH of girls rock camps around the US, UK, Canada, and Sweden. Mainly I do band art workshops, where we teach the girls to make buttons, do screenprinted band logos on t-shirts, and make zines.

There is a new documentary premiering this weekend which focuses primarily on the first camp, Portland Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls.

From an email promoting the movie:

“If you’re in New York, come on out to the Village East Cinema now through March 13th to see this awesome film. We’re pleased to announce that Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls is participating in 2 special film events this weekend:

TONIGHT, Friday 3/7 after the 8:15pm screening
National Organization of Women NYC hosts a panel discussion after the show with campers and reps of Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls, Amanda Petrusich from Paste Magazine and others!

TOMORROW, Saturday 3/8 after the 8:15pm screening
Join the filmmakers, Arne Johnson and Shane King, and a Willie Mae Rock camper for a Q & A after the show…

Buy tickets ahead of time at Movietickets.com.

The film also opens today in San Francisco/Portland/LA/Berkeley/Chicago. Other screenings are happening all over the country in the next few months. For more information on where to see the movie in your area, please visit www.girlsrockmovie.com/special/screenings


kip: pomatomus socks

March 6, 2008

One down...

Pomatomus Sock by Cookie A from Knitty Winter 05

Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Lightweight in semi-solid colorway Jade

Lantern Moon ebony 7″ dpns, US size 1

I’ve been knitting these socks for a few weeks now. I started the first one and finished it within a week (pretty fast for me), mostly knitting while watching the first season of Felicity on DVD. I started on another sock that I’m knitting as a gift for someone, and waited until that first one was done before casting on for the second sock. Now I’m through 1.5 pattern repeats of the leg of the second sock. It’s not going as quickly as the first one, probably because we haven’t been watching any TV or movies.

To move along with this sock a little more quickly, I’ve turned it into a travel project. Yesterday I did a LOT of public knitting on this sock, with some interesting results.

Any of you that knit on public transportation in New York probably have funny stories about looking up from your project to notice people all around you trying to seem as if they are not watching you while being very involved in watching you. People look out of the corners of their eyes, or even stare at you blatantly until you look up, when they quickly start looking at the ad above you.

Yesterday I was knitting in a fairly empty train car while the train was above ground. A woman sitting a few seats away from me was talking loudly to a friend on her cell phone about plans for the afternoon. I was concentrating on picking up a dropped stitch when I heard her say “That’s so nice.” I assumed that she was talking on the phone at first, but then I noticed that she wasn’t saying anything else. I began to think she might be talking to me, but felt sort of arrogant in that assumption. Finally I looked up and she was looking at me encouragingly. I was about to thank her in surprise when someone else asked for the time, and the train pulled into her station. I was so flustered that she had actually commented on my knitting! (This NEVER happens to me.)

I wonder if she is a knitter or just a knitting admirer?

I also went to see Hell on Wheels last night, with a Q&A session afterwards with the film makers and some derby girls from around the country. After the movie we went with our friend R to have cake and coffee and I knit my sock while we chatted. I rarely feel brave enough to do this when we go out with friends, but it felt totally normal last night. Neither of them even mentioned my knitting while I worked my way through half of a pattern repeat, and conversation carried on as normal. Maybe my feeling that knitting during a meeting would distract from conversation is unfounded.


beginning again

March 5, 2008

Yesterday Ana from snowangels made a good point in my comments – the high cotton content of the Vickie Howell Craft yarn means that the yarn will stretch like crazy, and knitting at an ultra-loose gauge will only compound that. Good thing I have Clara Park’s Knitter’s Book of Yarn waiting for me on the hold shelf of my local library! I forget to take into account the properties of yarn when I’m cooking up projects in my head, but paying attention to what your yarn will do out of the skein and all looped around itself is a huge part of any knitting project.

This is actually part of something bigger that I’m trying to focus on in my knitting this year. For the past year and a little more, I have been knitting pretty obsessively. Mostly I have used yarn that has been given to me or bought on the cheap to make free patterns. I have knit most of my projects while also watching TV or movies or — occasionally — while reading a book or magazine. My attitude towards mistakes has been to get things back to the right stitch count or to close up holes as quickly as possible and damn the craziness this often causes. So my alpaca Fetching mitts have some ribs out of alignment, the toes of the Hedera socks I made for my girlfriend do not match at all, and I spent most of last summer knitting Orangina in complete denial that the top and arm holes were going to be way too large and the ribbing ridiculously tight. (I’ve since ripped out Orangina and started knitting the Josephine top from IK, and I’m now in denial about the fact that the back is two inches wider than it should be to fit properly.)

I’ve yet to make a garment that I can wear, and before I invest more time and money into making one, I’ve promised myself that I will start to be more mindful and careful with my knitting. I am dealing with the fact that I need to rip out the whole back of my Josephine top (all the knitting I’ve done on it) and start over; likewise I need to rip out the entire first sleeve of my Must Have Cardigan (my “gauge swatch” which has already been ripped multiple times) and begin again.

Begin again. Begin again. This is something I’m trying to incorporate into all parts of my life, actually. Approaching life as a beginner, and not persisting in past thoughts or actions, but looking at things afresh…over and over again. It’s hard, obviously, but also – dare I say it? – transformative.

So it’s back to the drawing board with both sweaters currently on my needles. As I think about it, when I began the Josephine top I decided to make it almost tunic length, which I’m no longer convinced is the best thing for this 100% cotton top. With my Must Have Cardigan, the needle size I used caused the fabric to be quite tight, not nearly drapey enough. I’m not just trying to get through these projects, I’m trying to create wearable garments that I will love. It’s time to rip; it’s time to begin again.

And I’m going to go back to my swatch, and begin again with it, too. In No Sheep for You, Amy Singer tells us to not just knit the darn thing and measure the stitches, but to wash it, pin it up to test for sagginess, carry it around to see how the fabric will wear, and really find out what that yarn is going to do while you’re at it. My swatches are partly for teaching myself new stitch patterns and techniques, but there is much to learn about the yarn itself, too.