monster vs. monster

the final countdown
May 10, 2010, 3:48 pm
Filed under: knitting | Tags: , ,

We all know that priorities are relative. It was not necessary for me to pack the majority of my belongings a full six weeks before my move-out date. Not at all. But once finals season rolled around, it became very, very important to me to have visible, tangible proof that the end of this school year is nigh, and that California is only a matter of days away.

Likewise, it was not necessary for me to make two cowls out of sock yarn. I already have a cowl made out of sock yarn, and while it is lovely, it rarely sees the light of day. There are reasons for this. A sock yarn cowl does not offer the soft squishy yarny goodness of a big bulky scarf. A sock yarn cowl cannot be wrapped around long, frizzy, renegade hair. A sock yarn cowl does not mask a voluptuous bosom.  A sock yarn cowl does not keep your neck warm during freak cold spells, nor dry during freak thunderstorms (speaking of which, Providence-weather-in-May, it has been so nice to make your freakish acquaintance). Moreover, in this neck of the woods, a sock yarn cowl likely comes into being after months of hatred and frustration directed at the yarn in question. Let’s face it – if I really liked the yarn, I probably would have made something else. These cowls served a single purpose, and that purpose was to get this yarn out of my hands.

So. For the record. If the yarn you choose makes you want to light things on fire, and the pattern you choose features two picot edgings that insist upon folding in the wrong direction, you do not have the makings for a good project. But considering all the stress and frustration and ugliness that constitute my academic life at the moment, I’m thinking maybe I just needed some ugly, stressful, frustrating knitted manifestations to exorcise my demons. Tangible proof. I’m all about it.

I will get through the next two weeks, and I will not knit any more ugly frustration cowls, and I will not watch any more ’90s vampire dramas until all of my papers are finished. These are all things I can accomplish. In the meantime, can I please have  this cocoon blanket/armchair combo? Please? I think it would really help me through the next ten days. Or, failing my actual survival of the next ten days, this chair of warmth and wonder would definitely help to hide me from the deadline enforcers. The evil deadline enforcers. With watery eyes.


without a plan
August 12, 2009, 4:17 pm
Filed under: knitting | Tags: , , , , ,

I don’t have much of a yarn stash, and here is why: when I walk into a yarn store, I’m all business. Don’t get me wrong, I do my share of cashmere fondling and color palette ogling, but I have to have a specific project in mind before I’ll actually take something to the register. Normally I’ll spend hours on Ravelry sifting through other peoples’ yarn choices and modifications so that I know exactly what my project will look like when I walk through my LYS’s front door. This approach has kept my stash from overflowing and my bank account from evaporating, but it has also turned yarn shopping into a somber, utilitarian process and left no room for imagination or experimentation. I decided a few months ago to stop buying yarns strictly for function and instead reach for unique handdyed or handspun yarns that catch my eye. I’ve since accumulated a small but delicious pile of yarns, and I’ve had as much fun staring at the skeins and contemplating their possibilities as actually knitting them. In my month of packing and moving, I turned to my weird yarns for solace and comfort and came out with some truly lovely pieces.

beeflowers cowl colors

This Cashmere Cuff, by Jessica Vaughan, used up every last inch of the amazingly soft Kim-X yarn I bought at Maker Faire in May. The artist’s description of the yarn goes like this: “Inspired by a photo of a bee visiting ice plants, this landscape yarn will knit up in slowly changing swathes of color to evoke the original scene.” I love that the final result maintains the integrity of the original vision, but that the cowl is still quite wearable, since it looks like a solid color from the front and a different solid from the back. I can’t wait to find buttons for this. It’s so soft, I want it around my neck NOW, 95 degree weather be damned.  

mitts 3

I don’t have a lot of experience knitting with handdyed yarns, so I was delighted to discover that these mitts not only show off my beautiful skein of Shades of Earth from Spincycle Yarns, they also match! This is a heavily modified version of Emily Wessel’s Handspun Fingerless Gloves, and I’m quite happy with the result. They knit up quickly and they’re surprisingly wearable and so begins my addiction to fingerless gloves. 

hat silly face

I got this gray thick-thin hands + notions yarn at the Renegade Craft fair in July. Three days later, as a friend and I enjoyed coffee and tofutti-topped bagels, it magically transformed itself into an Unoriginal Hat with added earflaps and tassels. We had a sudden cold spell in Oakland and I had already packed my warm clothes, and this hat saved me from days of shivering. Everyone looks ridiculous in this hat, but it’s that sort of self-aware ridiculous that is also full of humor and personality, so it works. 

giant cowl

In that same ridiculous vein, this Marian cowl has completely won my heart. I’ll admit it’s neither handspun nor handdyed, but it is made of the candy-colored Twinkle soft chunky that I had never let myself buy because I never had a practical pattern to make it into. As soon as I stumbled onto Jane Richmond’s möbius design, I knew I had to make this, and that even if I never had the guts to wear it, I would at least have something to cuddle on those cold Rhode Island nights. (Richmond’s designs, by the way, are bright, easy, elegant, and either free or cheap!)

So there you have it. This has been the good stuff. Next post, you’ll get a little bit of ugly.