Saturday, January 23, 2010


When Ted and Sylvia Plath Hughes purchased their first home in North Tawton, Devon, England in the early sixties, Sylvia, the whirling dervish that she was, immediately set about making the house a home. She painted the walls, doors, woodwork, furniture, and probably even some of the floors. This part of her story is always guaranteed to make me feel like a sloth.

From the numerous biographical material I've read over the years, the house held a room on the second floor which was hers, and hers alone. A writing study. One of the room's most prominent features was a vivid red floor rug. Or was it walls (or both)? I'm pretty sure it was the carpet, but I'm far too focused on my thoughts to ferret the truth out of my bookcase.

Sylvia was invigorated by color, especially red. She believed it actively fed her creativity. As a knitter, I identify with this; color is my primary inspiration. What I realized last month is that the color of my projects can either inhibit or fuel my knitting.

When I didn't feel like knitting a pair of turquoise colored socks that needed to be done a week before Christmas, I panicked. Failure was not an option. I wracked my brain for way to trick my Id, for lack of a better metaphor, into sating the requirements of my Superego.

I felt the ennui in my bones. Eight days passed. Then, with less than a week left to finish and ship the socks my inner knitter came to the rescue with the idea that a new project, in a contrastingly colored yarn, might do the trick. The turquoise sock was the third project in a row in the blue family.

Although my favorite color, I had unwittingly reached my threshold for blue projects. I searched the stash, found an anti-serum to the blue and after a few hours knitting with the contrast project, my passion for the turquoise socks was reignited. The project was completed in four days and arrived at it's new home across the country with two days to spare.


When I need a short distraction at work I visit Sundara Yarn's web page. Ogling her yarn several times a week is one of my life's simple pleasures.

A week or so ago, some sport merino in the Glacier colorway sprung up:

It barely registered. Yes, it is one of my favorite blue shades: pale, steely, aloof, but at $28 bucks a pop, not a likely candidate for purchase. There are more vibrant colorways to capture my attention, fuel my imagination. I was finishing up my second candy colored pair of socks, pondering the wide open field I had for my next project.

Was it a day later, or two? It may have been three days, but it happened. I realized I wanted to knit a sweater in that glorious glacier yarn, and I wanted to knit it now! now! now! Yet, I can't justify the purchase of pricey, varying skein to skein Sundara yarn. Not for a sweater. My inner knitter has no doubts about this. She knows I have two sweater quantity stashes taking up room in my yarn closet. I must knit with this yarn first.

The first is some fabulous Jo Sharp DK Tweed. My new go-to sweater yarn


The second, some forest green Cascade 220 superwash. This opalescent yarn has been stewing in my stash for about 2 1/2 years. I've abandoned numerous sweater projects with it and have had a design swatching project sitting in my knitting basket vying, unsuccessfully, for my attention:

raglan scoop testing

What I didn't know until that aforementioned moment is that neither of those colors were the right color for a sweater project now. I wasn't knitting a sweater because I was lazy, I wasn't knitting a sweater because the right and perfect color hadn't knocked my socks off yet.

Now that it had, I did what any self-respecting, fiber-obsessed knitter does. I hit a local LYS on my lunch break. I found the perfect color in a not so perfect yarn. I was hoping for some serviceable cascade 220, but my muse came to me in the form of some Patton's classic merino blend.

Paton's Classic Merino blend

As I swatched, and I swatched, I felt some condescension towards this workhorse yarn. The haughty snobbery metamorphed into tension in my neck and shoulders and I grew crabby.

By last night it reached a point which I decided would be its zenith. I grasped, hopefully, for an antidote, a size US8 circular needle, and cast on with verve.

Ice-9 Raglan

Success is the best revenge.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

2009, a knitter's year in review


1. 2009mosaic, 2. Strange Fruit Clothilde, 3. Cable Warshrags, 4. Indian Rib, 5. Dishcloth, 6. Midnight Moon Clothilde, 7. Flinstone Rib, 8. Febrillious, 9. Eire Shetland, 10. Pumpkin Waffle knitting, 11. Pumpkin Waffle knitting, 12. Sunday Ribalib, 13. Cranberry Forest, 14. Retro Rib Socks, 15. Cool Haas Luke, 16. EOS_2184b, 17. Spruce Baby Llama Shetland, 18. Cinnamon Toast Ishbel, 19. Jen's Gloves, 20. Limeade Warshrag, 21. Another Shetland, 22. Jellied Beans, 23. Leaf on the Wind, 24. Marina Waves Socks, 25. Woodland Embossed Leaves Socks, 26. Gold Hill Cable Rib Socks, 27. Shetland Triangle Hat, 28. Tweed Seed Rib Sweater, 29. Cocoa Lace Scarf, 30. Shetland Tweed Mitts, 31. Pink Granite Lace Hat, 32. Pink Granite Shetland Triangle

1 Baby Blanket
5 Dishcloths
1 pair of Gloves
4 Hats
2 pair of Mitts
1 Scarf
9 Shawls
7 pair of Socks
3 Sweaters

31 Projects, 33 Items, 17 (52%) were gifts. I've seriously pondered calculating the yardage, but laziness won out. For now.

Last year's summary and goals were as follows:

1) knit more socks for me - partial FAIL
Considering I barely knit for 1/4 of the year, my failure did render a "teachable moment" (phrase barf!).

2) harness my creativity and design patterns - partial FAIL
I did write one hat pattern, but I lost all interest in connecting to the world to disseminate it. I started a pattern at the request of Knitting Kris, but I'm allowing my difficulty with worded knitting instructions get the better of me.

3) Knit more sweaters - partial WIN
I did complete three sweaters, two large adult sized. I added interesting design elements to all. I just can't make myself enjoy knitting large projects and I think I realized why I haven't cast on more sweaters.

Last, but certainly not least:

4) Knit a shawl that takes the "Best in Show" ribbon at the Topsfield fair - FAIL
Didn't even attempt this, but the goal is still active on my (very open ended) to do list.

There's a lot of failure going on up in there, but I don't feel like a failure at all. I didn't do what I said I wanted to do on January 27, 2009, but yanno? so what. I did what I wanted to do on the days I wanted to do it. Or at least I tried. I truly enjoyed the knitting I finished and I gleefully frogged the knitting I didn't enjoy. That's one of the best lessons I learned in 2009.

Enjoy enjoy enjoy. Viva la yarn. And remember what blessings you have when you have the leisure and opportunity to buy and knit beautiful yarn. I'm a lucky mother fucker.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Envy and socks. I haz both.

True to form at chez yarn, we are now on day who knows what of ignoring the suffering in Haiti. I am catching glimpses of it when the Hubster puts on the news here and there, catching the cover of a newspaper at the gas station, hearing an interview on NPR.

It seems like the world is really coming together to help Haiti and the pessimistic cockles of my heart are warming. What I am left with is my internal struggle. Because, ya know, the Haiti disaster is all about me.

You mean you didn't know? It's about how I am incapable of facing it. How I am incapable of being the person I should be/should have been on the one hand, and in the other hand, how the world is inadequate, deserving of my inert, self-righteous scorn.

I am as helpless in this as I am in my knitting. A mute passenger on the Morticcia express. Someday maybe I'll learn how to transmogrify my shortcomings into strengths, as I have begun to with my knitting.

Ginger Waves
Ginger Waves Socks

I spent a good portion of last year wanting to be the sock knitter I am not and found I was a lace knitter I never knew I could be. I so wanted to knit socks, and I so wanted to knit socks on tiny needles. The heel of my first attempt at Monkeys on US 1s/2.5mm stewed for four months before I realized I should move on.

Licorice Monkeys

I didn't enjoy it and why should I mold myself to some aesthetic I don't enjoy? Normal people learn these things in childhood. I missed that class. Too busy navel gazing.

Inside the four months it took to knit and frog one half of one sock, it took me two months to cast on and frog two Clothildes, as well as complete my first one.

Indecision Clothilde
Flickr Tag: Indecision

I accepted my limitations and moved on, and with that the knitter's block dissipated: I've begun the second sock, of my second pair of socks, all in less than three weeks.

sundara socks.  yum.

Comfort knitting. Nothing fancy schmancy. (It's interesting seeing how the two patterns, knit on the same size needle, both with Sundara sock yarn, have considerably different gauges. Ponderosa.)

So there is hope that one day I may be able to effect change, help others in need, rather than lock myself away in a bell jar of flabby indignation.

Friday, January 15, 2010

blah blah blah

My year in review post is languishing in the edits folder. I'm languishing in real life. Adrift. The agony of humanity has me in it's lurid possession. There's no funneh at chez yarn.

All I am capable of is mute rage. I am doing my best not to think of Haiti. I can successfully ignore the acute human suffering. I know I don't have the capacity to carry that burden so I keep it safely outside my heart. What I can't prevent penetrating and gnawing at the edges of my sympathy is the confidence that whichever multinational, for-profit organization(s) gets it's(their) dirty prongs on this crippled, destabilized country will be exploiting it for the next two generations or more.


Toasted Orange over Pistachio Sock

More yarn...

Dark Emerald Sport Merino

Sunday, January 3, 2010

green green green green

I'll be sad when green goes out of fashion again making purchasing things in this evocative color elusive.

Cakes of Sundara FSM

I luvs me some green.

Cakes of Sundara FSM

The yarn is Sundara's fingering silky merino in the limited edition colorway of "The Tree I Climbed."

Cakes of Sundara FSM

Friday, January 1, 2010

Dear reader, are you confused by my choice of reaction words?

If you like, you like.  Because who doesn't love vampires that sparkle? Definitely more bang for your buck than the snarkless shiny.

Literally stands for fuck you fattie.  It is a term of endearment with the rubberhoars, but should be used predominately to show disagreement or outrage at ideas or items presented by the blog author.  Or if you feel like being contrary, please show your endearment by clicking.  You only live once.

Literally stands for what the fuck.  Please use this when you think I've lost my marbles, or conversely, if you've lost yours and you need to hate on someone.

twu luv:
Show your love while simultaneously partaking in a gleeful dig at the absurdity of romantic fiction.

So you really wanna know?

I'm back dating this post and dating all of the entries. It's my version of 100 things about me.

May 20, 2010
1) When I used to read blogs I LOVED.LOVED.LOVED reading the 100 things about me. I'm a nosy bitch, so I scarf up any personal detail I can.

2) I am presently 42 years old. Yes I am an old bitter bitch. And I'm finally learning to love it.

3) I am a speshul angul snowflake. So send me your Sundara yarn. Now.

4) My favorite Jane Austen books are Mansfield Park and Persuasion. Depends on my mood.

5) I'm pretty sure I fell in love with the Twilight book series when I read Midnight Sun. I identify with Edward, not Bella. No, I'm not beautiful and I don't sparkle(!), it's more like "I am so tortured by my own imagined superiority." Yes I am that laughable. Please laugh at me. I try to, and I am happiest when I am successful. Seriously though, read the first page of Midnight Sun. It is the most funnest Meyer book ever. Okay, that and Eclipse.

6) I live with C-PTSD. I even traumatize myself. I'm that talented. Edward eats my dirt.

7) I have one half brother and one sister. I love my family but we are all kinda lone wolves. We love each other in our minds but we don't actually talk or see each other very often.

8) I am married. 10 years, October 2009. We've had a lot of rough patches, but this year has been our best year yet. I don't love the way it seems other people do, but neither does he. Together we make sense.

9) It is very dangerous to be yourself on the internet. I blog because I want to record the crazeh in my head. Letting people know the crazeh in my head is stupid. I know. But I'm a narcissistic exhibitionist trapped in the psyche of a hermit. Parodoxes hurt, so here is where I try to list the hurts and then hopefully, eventually, laugh at the wounds.

May 22, 2010
10) I love furry living things; I have two dogs and two cats.

11) I hate being sick. I only operate well at full health, otherwise I am a whiny useless black hole of pity.

12) I have some seriously grandiose thoughts about myself, and they coexist quite scarily with all the especially noted and intractable imperfections.

13) I went to college and received a BA. I graduated cum laude, although my first quarter grade point average was something like 2.47. Looking back years later I think some in my family expected me to flunk out, but that never would have occurred to me, because...

14) I am tenacious (when I'm not wallowing in self pity). Once something is decided, it happens. My will is strong. Conversely,...

15) With the exception of keeping a roof over my head and food in my belly, I have spent most of my life goalless. The former took all of energy until this past year. The act of knitting has taught me many life lessons I wish I had learned 30 years ago.

16) I am no longer goalless.

17) If I tried to restrict what I eat my brain will malfunction. It takes about 36 to 48 hours of bending to my will until something in my brain tells my body that I must eat everything in sight at every moment. All I can think about is food and eating - 24/7. The only cure for this malfunction I have found is to not attempt to control what I eat. Once the malfunction takes hold it can take weeks or months to cease.

18) I have pituitary tumor. Because I was infertile at such a young age the fertility specialists assume it is a prolactinoma. But they have no fucking clue and I'm sick of catering to their prognostications...I know that sounds looney. Call me looney.

19) Do I think 17 and 18 are related? Absolutely. But I've had my fill of doctors for the moment...

20) From 2002 to 2006 I underwent fertility treatments. I can't even remember the number of IUI's I have had. Health insurance pays for 6 IVFS. All six failed. We even went as far as getting an egg donor, our seventh IVF. Her eggs sucked too. I can't begin to describe how cursed I felt the day I finally conceded she was as infertile as me and that I had to stop doing what I was doing to my body.

21) I have accepted I wasn't meant to have human kids. I have my whole life to be a great aunt. I'll do my best with that.

22) I totally miss SPY magazine. I knew I was in the presence of greatness, and it was painful realizing how puny and paltry my own intellect was in comparison to the minds that put that rag together. It was like Jon Stewart but mean. Dorothy Parker mean - "you can lead a horticulture but you can't make her think" - mean. Brilliant. My favorite part was the letters to the editors, or actually the editors making fun of the letters.

June 9, 2010
23) I wish I could be mean on purpose. Over the past decade, I have come to understand that my family's tendency for idiosyncratically abrupt, barrier-free, interpersonal communication actually comes across as pointedly barbed. Our sarcasm, unwittingly, has a little too much bite, is more often than not, precociously rude.

© 2006-2014 | All Rights Reserved | two knits of ivory | Morticcia