Friday, July 28, 2006

Zeus Knits, and Zeus Will Fuck Your Shit Up

Consider the scene yesterday: Matilda has some serious time to kill before her Guitar 4 class at that den of hippy iniquity, the Old Town School of Folk Music, because her Sea Shanties class is not meeting this week. After a fruitless search for staitonery that would allow her to answer her young nerdy nephew's letter, Matilda decides to head for The Grind Cafe, which has free wireless and yummy food.

The Grind also boasts outdoor tables and on a day like yesterday, Matilda was confident that very few people indeed would be availing themselves of them (a) because it was really fucking hot and (b) because the evil sun was not beating down every nanosecond of the day. Chicagoans fear rain, but not Matilda. And given that Matilda was feeling generally grumpy and unhappy with the world, an isolated table outside seemed much preferrable to bumping elbows with everyone inside.

But just in case not everyone is properly reading Matilda's "Leave me the FUCK alone" body language, she deploys some redundant security measures: Sunglasses on, despite overcast day? Check. Headphones plugged into laptop and ears? Check. Intimidating-looking book propped up on bookstand? Check.

So where did Matilda go wrong? What did Matilda do to deserve the possibly demented old man on a bike deciding to interview me about the grind? Knitting. That's where Matilda went wrong. When a certain kind of person see knitting, s/he sees softness. S/he see woolyness. S/he sees the knitter frisking about like a little space lamb. S/he fail to see sharp pointy death in its various dark materials heading straight for his/ehr damnably unobservant eyes.

But Matilda digresses. Matilda was telling you about the gathering fury as she tried to shake the interloper, despite the fact that SHE was physically unable to vacate until her goddamned grilled cheese arrived. So Matilda pretended to focus ever more intently on her knitting in the vain hopes that this guy would get the message. And yet, Matilda's attention was sorely divided between knitting lace and mentally examining all the places in which she could ditch the body if it came to that. And so Matilda fucked up the entire row by forgetting the second bloody-fucking yarnover. AGGGH! Matilda SMASH.

Ultimately, the guy left (probably because Matilda stopped responding at all), and Matilda set to backtracking to salvage the row. But such rage has its climatological consequences, it seems, because the temperature suddenly dropped at least 15 degrees and things started looking distinctly Ark-of-the-Covenant-y overhead. Shit, shit, shit shit. If Matilda were to be interruped in mid--row fix, she felt certain that she'd wind up having to pull out a number of rows. But the desire NOT to have the laptop as well as the cotton-silk yarn smoted was as strong as the desire to never have to undo another fucking row of that lace pattern ever fucking again.

So Matilda knit like the hounds of hell were snapping at her stitchmarkers. She finished the row and shoved the shawl tadpole into the safe confines of her shit hot Lexie Barnes Mimic Bag, shoved everything else into her backpack, and strode purposefully libraryward as the entire employee population of Lincoln Avenue emerged from their places of business to look at something above and behind Matilda.

Matilda still has no clue what that was about, but if she had looked back and turned into a pillar of salt, her last earthly thought would have been "It fucking figures." And, of course, it never did rain. Not a drop.

Matilda's Knitting CAN stop the Weather Machine!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

WTF?! This turning the heel bullshit? IS EASY.

Cashmere or cash blend sockyarn, here I fucking come.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I am on a yarn diet, people. No yarn purchases till September.

I totally see some sock yarn action happening then though. You had all better hold my hand as I hyperventillate my way through the first sock.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

'Turning the heel' and slipping stitches terrifies me, yet the thought of handpainted cashmere sock yarn allures me.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Oh Rowan, you whore, you whore for taunting Matilda so. Matilda, bring the parts with to Kansas, and I will sew the fucker for you in trade for alcohol, the next time you're in town. Seriously.

Tell me you didn't size Gabby up like Skully. TELL ME. Says the woman who also sized up in Rowan, and is now contemplating how to magically shrink a Jude a size, short of ripping the seams, steeking, and resewing. At least I got my second Jude and the Beth right.

My knitting life atm:

One log cabin baby blanket. For the office manager at the, uh, office. When I handed over the last stinking albatross, aka Big Bad Baby Blanket number 5? 6? I have buried that knowledge deep so as to avert the need for therapy, I announced I was not knitting another baby blankie for months. That night I got heavily guilt tripped at dinner about how baby blankets are much more classic and enduring than a bunch of hats and sweaters, and and and.

I am doing this in the 50% alpaca 50% wool 'Shenandoah' from Valley yarns, aka WEBS. I am wondering why I picked a pattern than involves picking up a bajillion fucking stitches.
I am wondering if I can say, next time, I have taken a blood vow to never knit another baby blanket again, except for a select limited group of people (all of whom are unlikely to spawn). As I type this I have just remembered other friends of ours are pregnant. FUCKING FUCKER FUCK FUCK FUCK.
Why yes, I am raising a sweet child and talk like that.

Garter cuff gloves from Weekend Knitting, in blue sky's 100% alpaca, various cream and beige shades. Yes yes, this is one step away from socks. Shut up.

Color block sweater from miss Bea's Playground, the back's done, now for front and sleeves. Will be resumed once blanket is done.

Matilda, if I start spinning and dying, how much would you mock me if I gave you handspun, hand dyed yarn? (why yes, what is your price?)

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Rowan: Smackier Picture

So continuing in the "Knitting and Low Self-Esteem" series, I'm now done with both the front and back of Gabby from Rowan Bigger Picture (because nothing says "I feel sexy" like knitting---in the middle of July, no less---an unshaped sweater that takes its cowl neck seriously).

The neck- and shoulder-shaping directions were a little special, and I actually awoke in a cold sweat the other night, positively CERTAIN that I'd read part of them wrong and decreased at both ends of rows when I was only supposed to decrease at the end of the row. But I got through it, and it's all nice and soft and I've only been working on it 10 days and hey! 75% of a pretty sweater, right? Rowan Big Wool might just be my new 100% merino boyfriend.

I'm volunteering tomorrow at the Old Town School of Folk Music's Folk and Roots Festival. I may be handstamping madly all day, or I may have lots of knitting friendly downtime. Certainly, I'll have a good chunk of public transit time for knitting, though, and I thought how ideal it was that I should have come to the very portable sleeve portion of the exercise. So I read through the sleeve directions a few times to banish the crafty fucktard.

I kind of think that knitting sleeves separately is cruel and unusual punishment, though, so I was half toying with the idea of joining a shoulder seam and knitting them right on, upside down (my fearless working without a net is either charming in its wide-eyed innocence or tragically pathetic in its delusional nature---I can never decide which), but blergh, I don't want to drag the front, back, and shiny new sleeve all over Chicago with me. Also, I don't want to try any math and reverse patterning highwire acts in a situation where I'm likely to get distracted and heyanywaylookatthecollardirect . . . WHAT. THE. WOOLY. HELL? They've got me knitting the goddamned COLLAR separately and then sewing it on? I bloody well ask you, is this knitting or sewing?

I think I'm breaking up with my new 100% merino boyfriend.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

TMI Gibbing Update

I suppose I should have worked this into my last self-esteem post. So sue me.

Um, my ass hurts. Kind of a lot. And it's rather baffling, because I have achieved loyalty to my work-out schedule that I previously believed to be impossible. At least 5 days per week, I take the hound out for a walk lasting somewhere between 35 and 50 minutes, and at night I work out on the elliptical machine for at least 45 minutes.

The elliptical workouts have been going on with religious regularity for a year, so that's unlikely to be the source of my ass pain. The dog walking is more recent, because the dog is recent. (And because I'm not yet insane enough to walk a fake dog harness. Give it time.) So, dog-related ass pain is not at the top of the list, either.

That leaves . . . Guitar Hero. We have a mammoth hi-def television (thank you, tail end of the boom) that sits on the floor. It's a touch too low for comfort viewing, but we haven't found anything that sits low enough and will bear its weight. Not a major problem for sitting on the couch. For the purposes of rocking out, though, it means that I spend most of my time in the Kimase stance (so called, because it looks like you're sitting on a horse---feet spread wide, a slight bend to the knee) when I'm playing. Bingo. Ass pain. (I've been playing a lot recently, and I just unlocked THE RIPPER, who has a guitar scythe. Crazy awesome, man.)

Now I just need to figure out how to turn knitting into an upper-body workout and I'll RULE THE WORLD!

Felting Dr. Freud

I don't have what you'd call a robust sense of self-esteem when it comes to my appearance. I'm not, like, all emo about it or anything. I leave the house, rarely listen to The Smiths, and I couldn't recite more than 4 or 5 lines of Emily Dickinson by heart. I just think of myself as kind of . . . lumpen.

And that's ok, too. We can't all have hot bods, regardless of the fat netting of lies that the good folks at Xenical would like you to eat. And all things considered, it's better to err on the side of lumpen than to head out in your ultra low-rise jeans and belly top singing "Have Beer Gut, Will Travel." Trust me, I live in the midwest.

So y'all don't need to pass the hat for my therapy. Or do you? Dun dun DUUUUUUUNNN. Here's the complicating factor: In addition to a body image of already suspect accuracy, I've also lost a bunch of weight recently. But the self-esteem meter seems to be stuck on lumpen, because here are a few things that I've knit for myself:

  1. Skully from Stitch N Bitch in size XL, that's a 54-inch bust. Never, in my whole born life, have I had a 54-inch bust. But that's ok, right? After all, it's an oversized sweater. It just takes about 75 years (and 3 more skeins than the instructions call for) to knit, that's all.
  2. Tank Girl, also from Stitch N Bitch in size large, which should be a reasonable 39-inch bust. Uh, apparently yarn subsitution didn't go right, because that baby could easily accommodate me AND a baby.
  3. But the pisser. OH THE PISSER. is Tempting from Knitty, which I've just finished. And, apparently, though I CLEARLY remember casting on for the size large (40-inch bust . . . I should've gone a size down) . . . uh, I'm a za'tarc or something, because I seem to have cast on for the XL and the majestic 44-inch bust.

So, yeah, it's not about my quality of life. It's not about enhancing my relationships by being able to love myself. It's about the goddamned knitting.