Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Big Thoughts...

Barn Booster mitts, in process

I'm having big thoughts this afternoon. They are too big for me. But here I am trying to make sense of them.

Thought 1
I am, by nature, a pedagogue.

Thought 2
I want to write patterns.

Thought 3
I have no interest in making money from writing patterns.

Thought 4
Giving away intellectual property for free cheapens the market for other creators.

Thought 5
I believe our economic society should be mix of capitalism and socialism. We need capitalism to spur innovation, but socialism to check the insatiably voracious nature of capitalism.

Thought 6
Money does not motivate me.

Thought 7
The lack of money cripples me.

Barn Booster mitts, in process

Carry on.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Yarn makes the world go round, AKA Morti's guide to festival yarn buying

Last month I mentioned I went to the annual sheep fest in New Hampshire. This and the Vermont sheep fest are the only two I've been interested in hitting for the past few years. (Just the thought of all that human traffic at Rhinebeck gives me the heebie jeebies, which is too bad since it is an extensive festival.)

I also mentioned last month the lesson I learned regarding sheep fests. Now everyone is different and shops and stashes differently. Ergo this lesson may only be mine to learn, but be_that_as_it_may, I'm going to share it here 'cuz that's how I roll.

Well, now that I ponder on this subject there are several lessons I have learned over the years. So here they are, with no importance implied by their ranking:

1. At any given time, I have a tendency to be in love with a narrow field of colors. So I must remember not to buy more than one yarn in the same hue and intensity. Do not do this, Morti.

Why, you ask? Well when you get home and you lay the stash out on the nearest surface to oogle and breathe in those special festival yarn fumes you will look down and be like, geesh? I thought I bought more yarn than this. I mean I spent $___. Where did it go? Buying yarn in the same color family makes your haul look small.

And not that a small haul is bad, because that's not the point I'm driving at. The point is that a festival is a one day a year event. I want it to be memorable, as well as filled with rainbows and unicorns. If I look down at a stash in a narrow paletted range, I'm gonna feel I didn't take advantage of the festival. I'm gonna feel I failed that festival, and the yarn gods, themselves. And regret is on my list of feelings never to feel ever ever again.

2. If you want specific books or specific issues of knitting mags write down the names and titles and, where appropriate, author names. You think you are going to remember that title, or that author, or the cover of the magazine you are looking for but you won't. You will be overwhelmed by the sights and sounds and completely lose your focus.

3. Don't lose piece of paper with info for #2.

4. Really, don't lose piece of paper with info for #2.

5. (See how I'm padding this list, like I know what I'm talking about and have important expertise to impart? )

6. Try not to buy commercially available yarns. Specifically, if you can buy a yarn at your LYS, don't buy it at the festival. Save this business for your LYS.

Yes, festival participants are paying for a booth, too. They're just as good as your LYS, but that's not the point. Your local LYS needs your business. She is most likely a small business owner making a go of it in a really tough economic climate. She is a priceless resource that you may only need rarely, but when you do you want her there, so make sure to spend money at her store even if all you like is indie, artisanally dyed yarns.

You need conventional yarns sometimes, and you want your LYS to sell them to you when you need them. Otherwise, if she goes out of business, you'll printing out all the locations of nearby Michaels and A.C. Moores and spending an entire weekend tooling around trying to find an acceptable substitute. Your LYS has the yarn for you in a pinch. Support her. (Now, get off soapbox.)

7. If you're at Rhinebeck, or by default any large festival like Maryland Sheep & Wool, you should buy a yarn you love when you see it. You may regret it, but you can easily rectify this by selling it on Ravelry. You probably won't lose much, festival yarn has a cache that some rav buyers crave.

Now, if you don't buy that yarn, you can never rectify anything and you will die a lonely death with a large, but diffuse air of defeat about you knowing you failed to buy the perfect skein of yarn. You know that skein I'm talking about. That skein would have made all of your knitting perfect, because it was perfect. You'll never ever find a yarn as good as that again. Go get a tattoo of Festival FAIL on your forehead. You suck.

At smaller festivals, you don't have to worry about this worry. You can spy that perfect skein and then come back to it some time later to make sure it is the perfect skein and not a transfigured Peter Pettigrew of a rodent. A stasher needs perspective to zero in on the perfect festival yarn. Smaller festivals allow you this perspective. Since I am an anti-socialite and don't go to festivals for the people this makes small festivals the best places to find the perfectest, one-of-a-kind yarn.

The perfectest, one-of-a-kind yarn is what makes a festival full of rainbows and unicorns people. If you learn nothing, learn this.

8. And lastly, but not leastly, and probably not even lastly but it has to be for now because I've run outta steam, break the bank if you really need to. Short term banking problems are nothing compared to regretsy. Remember? There is nothing worse than yarn regret. Nothing.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Condescension, how I know thee


madelinetosh sock in Creme de Menthe

So I worried half the weekend about a lot of things. And yet I still had a wonderfully decadent weekend doing very, very little.

One of the things I worried upon is whether or not my last post comes across as condescending. You see, one of the things I'm really starting to be able to see in myself is that my snarky temperament comes across as condescending. The way I think and express myself does not comply to easy, modern social discourse.

Most people don't want as much information about things as I seem to feel the need to express on any host of topics. If there is something being discussed, and I am partaking in said discussion, I operate under the assumption a decided opinion on the matter is my obligation as a participant.

I know now that this is not true. Furthermore, I think the aforementioned belief is a byproduct of my previously unharnessed narcissism. Further furthermore, I am currently convinced that shame has been the byproduct of realizing my opinion/my contribution is unwanted.

Sometimes I cringe when I read the Austen quote in my blog's header. I think to myself who the fuck am I to compare my musings to the genius of Jane Austen. I can't help that this viewpoint exists in me and maybe in people who cruise through here misled by teh Google that there are scrap knitting suggestions here.

What I can work on is the cringing. I exist in a world that could give two shits about my opinion, my thought processes, my everyday struggles with being the happiest mofo there ever was. And I identify so completely with the snarky complaint about the diminutive product that results from all of my verbal and crafty striving. The quote is a mission statement housed in snark. I'm a micromanaging toiler of my inner psychological framework, as well as with basic knitting using artisanal yarn.

I feel Jane's pain.

DIC Classy in Shiny Moss

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Scrap + Yarn + Knitting, then an FO!

As a blogger I must come clean. There is really no scrap yarn knitting here. I am so sorry Google keeps bringing you here.

Years ago I installed google analytics on this blog so that I could monitor the traffic to see how many people stop by and from where they hail. One of the things the analystics details are the keyword searches that get people to your blog. Almost all of the searches that bring people here are a variation of scrap + yarn + knitting.

Oopsie! In these modest times I envision hardworking folk with not a lot of money trying to find ways to make their dollar stretch by knitting with yarn scraps and whoop! here they come to my blog full of expensive indie yarn pinny porn where I wax moronic about insipid things to which only women of privilege have the time and inclination.

And because I expect everyone to be a bitter 'ol bitch like myself, I believe I hear them grumbling about my undeserving good fortune and the unfairness of it all. Well, something like that.

One never forgets what it feels like to have one's nose pressed up to the window looking in on all the things you don't have, nor never will. Somehow my 'never' evolved into a unforetold prosperity. All of these feelings about the scrap yarn searchers comes from what seems to be a congenital prosperity guilt. And also guilt about the guilt, too. Seriously, how dare I wallow in guilt when I have so many blessings in my life?

Okay so with that crazy thought train out of the way, let's get to an FO, the first of what I hope will be many iterations of a simple pattern I have named "A Fir to Remember."

"A Fir to Remember" was borne out of repeated viewings of a Peicework magazine ad that featured what looked to be a garter knit edged scarf featuring the fir cone motif in a lovely peridot laceweight yarn. My love of the fir cone is evidenced by the many Shetland Triangles shawls I have knit. Only now, I have nearly outgrown my prior interest in the triangular shawl shape. So it seemed only natural to convert the motif to a new shape, the rectangular stole.

A Fir to Remember

It's such an easy peasy project. I think it boils down to the 1-2-3, 1-2-3 rhythm of the pattern; it's lively enough to keep you wanting to knit and simple enough not to need your full attention.

This particular project was gifted to a fellow crafter, my Aunt. She asked for a shawl and pointed toward some yarn she saw on this here blog and well, mix in a little bit (or a lot) of time and voila.

On the blocking wires, the shawl measured 25" wide by 67" long. I expect it contracted some once off, but I never found the time to remeasure.

A Fir to Remember

I totally forgot I bought the foam interlocking squares I picked up for larger projects like this, so this was blocked out to fit on a twin sized, spare bed.

The yarn is madelintosh's Pashmina, a wool/cashmere/silk blend, in the Norway Spruce colorway. My photo's don't capture the vibrancy of the color very well, although this last photo captures some of the color's ins and outs. Bleh, I'm a poor photographic scholar.

A Fir to Remember

And finally, the obligatory confession on how one day I am going to write a pattern and publish it here and on rav (for free). I've eaten these words so many times, but I can't help putting them back out there. I'm nearly halfway through with the second shawl (as seen in my prior post). I'm thinking of adding on knitted border, practice for the Evenstar shawl border I'll be knitting sometime this summer.

Well, I'm not giving up on me and my pattern publishing prognosticating. I'll do it. Someday. Someday. Just not today.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

More on what I want out of photography, pinny porn, the universe and everything...

I think part of the problem with the terms "pinny" and "domestic" porn and the whole miasmic hoopla over that book I mentioned yesterday, "The Gentle Art of Domesticity," is that said hoopla falls easily into the diodic (a word I derive from diode) war on feminism.

De wimmin' ahza fightin' amongst themselves again.

I fall easily into the condescension of the women's war. I'm trying not to, as if whatever plan I devise to be respectful of every stage on the continuum of the female experience will be the answer to the perpetual infighting among women. (I'm nothing if not full of myself. LOL. Yeah, that's me.) Add in that I am a woman who doesn't maintain a friendship with a single female person not related to me by blood. Being a bundle of contradictions is fun. Heheheh.

So I took some pictures this morning. And I thought about pinny porn in another light than the feminist muck above. What I want out of my art is reality. As for the art of painting, I have always been drawn to traditional portraiture, landscapes, and still life subjects. In my photography, I also want the stylization to be "real-time, real-looking." So my pinny porn obsession starts there. It is a snapshot of reality. A pretty, bland, sanitary, and mostly decorous reality to offset life's perpetual grays.

Life is so full of the greys, life is hard. Maybe the condescension I seem to be bucking against in being a collector and purveyor of fine pinny porn, is moot. It's me letting superficial, societal judgements interfere with what I enjoy.

Hmm...well I think that's enough free association on pinny porn for the day. I'll come back to it another day and see if I made any sense. I've reached that critical point where I want to stop mulling about crap and start gorging on actual domestic photography. Yum.

This is my relief...

Pattern: A Fir to Remember, by me
Yarn: the last of that festival I love and talked about a few posts ago.



I hope this means I'm finally growing a pair. Which pisses me off as a statement, because it indicates that one is getting stronger by becoming more male. I want something that says that but is more along the line of "Fight like a Girl!" my new favorite saying.

P.S. Bitch! Today is my fourth bloggerversary (and the first one I've ever mentioned publicly.)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pinny Porn and other needs...

A train of my thoughts this weekend...

1) I used to wish the world looked like pinny porn. (75% true today)
2) I only blog because I love to showcase my own pinny porn. (65% true today)
2) I read blogs because I love looking at pinny porn. (150% true every time actually I read blogs.)

What do these thoughts mean? First what does pinny porn mean?

Pinny porn, aka Domestic Porn, is defined on Urban Dictionary.com as "Magazines or shows that feature cooking, home decorating, or other issues of interest to women (usually yuppies), who get addicted to it the same way men do to porn." Somehow it all relates to the publication of The Gentle Art of Domesticity. But that is not a digression I wish to fluff.

Pinny porn to me is the photos. Specifically, the style of photography that is indigenous to craft blogs (like mine) and a great deal of women's fiction book art. The first Twilight book cover is a good example of of pinny porn:

But why, what makes it "pinny?" And what the fuck is pinny? A quick jfgi search informs me pinny is a derivative of the word pinafore. Logic goes pinafore --> apron --> housewife --> domestic. Okay I get this.

So, the soft focus photos, often macro images of "domestic" things. What is it about this photographic style makes me want to mimic it, to be a slovenly adherent? I am really drawn to this sentimental art.

It is dramatic. Small details writ large imbues the image with drama. I'm all about drama. And Meaning with a capital M. But there really is no meaning, just a porous canvas onto which I slather meaning where only emotional vacuity resides? Is this true? It could be true, and most likely is almost always true. And what does that mean? I don't know.

What I do know is of recent I sometimes wish my photography was different, grittier. I wish it was more emblematic of who I am. I don't want to proffer the world the sanitary, decorous, modest version of me that seems to be the sole purpose of pinny porn.

What else? I can't help but wonder what pinny porn will look like to world denizens in 100 years. 100 years ago it was memento mori, or post-mortem photography, that was de rigueur (pun intended!) If pinny porn is as foreign to our progeny as memento mori is to me now, color me amused.

sweater (in progress) knit in madelinetosh DK, colorway burnished

Friday, June 3, 2011

Around my mind in 15,452 days...

I'm not pregnant.

Those words used to be grade A surgical instrument sharp.

I've been oddly near mopey lately. And I've been getting down on myself for it. Concurrently, I'm having some of the greatest work days I've had in years. Maybe it's the contrast between the euphoria of the latter and the lack of enthusiasm in the former that is making me conclude I'm mopey, when I'm just not anything in particular. Food for thought...

But back to the pregnancy thing. I was out walking the dogs on my spare suburban street this morning. The sky was so blue and clear, the sun and the wind competingly fierce. (Spell check is telling me competingly isn't a word, but it is the perfect word for that thought.)

My chin instinctively reached up for more sun. There was plenty of sky and it felt delicious. It dawned on me that I could be pregnant. I feel different. I am so tired, but suffering from insomnia again. I could be pregnant.

Before I got to the end of the thought an acknowledgment washed over me, as only bliss can: warm and calming. I'm not pregnant, but until my friend visits, I can pretend. I can fantasize. I have been granted the luxury of fantasy, where once a tin drum of pressurized jealously laid seige. It is liberating. And I am blessed in this way. I should give thanks for this gift.

Thank you.

Maybe my baby is a girl and her name will be Minnie Ursalina Maria. (Hahahah! That is the name of my car, I couldn't do such a thing to my child as saddle her with that mouthful of a name. But this is a fantasy right? So M.U.M. it is. Or just plain ol' Minnie Lee, or Minli for short.)

So why haven't I been blogging again? Well, I lost interest in the yarn I bought at the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool, just as suredly as I lost interest in a lot of my yarn. Out of sight out of mind. My imagination is pretty weak - if I didn't have PMS, I'd have nothing. LOL.

But something quietly is happening in my coasting. I'm learning to live without FO's and I'm learning to take my projects one day at a time. Right now, I've made a mental commitment to my Evenstar project.


When each row is 616 stitches, commitment is a necessity for me. The picture above is one of two decent, but color deficient, photos I took of the project (poorly) dry blocked last December. Here is the second:


If this project is to be ready by September, I need to get a move on. I've been on the last chart for a while now. Like I said, 616 stitches per friggin' row! But truly the 30 or so more rows I have of chart 3 are not what concerns me most. It is the knit on border. I've never knit a knit on border. Now I can't imagine it will be difficult, it's just prospect of the border being 616 rows long that tugs at me. That future is one of seemingly monstrous proportions of tedium. I hate tedium.

That doesn't mean it will be tedious. The engine of my imagination has no problem finding things to fear. Learning to cut the power to that engine? Priceless.

Long Ridge Farm
DK - bombyx silk & CVM/Romeldale wool breed blend
NH Sheep & Wool 5/14/11


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