Still hearing David Bowie

Still swamped, my little flowers of joy, and so you will have to content yourselves with this bizarre drive-by-blogging that’s the best I can muster.

I’ve been working away on Wild Apples, all the while remembering what a pleasure these kits are.  The yarn is so beautiful, the colours so lovely, and  really (this is the moment when a lot of you sit there, re-reading the sentence I’m about to type and shaking your heads sadly, thinking that I’ve finally snapped and that you can no longer relate to this sort of bonkers talk) I really love knitting whole sweaters on 2.5mm needles. It’s satisfying the way that real oatmeal or baking bread from scratch is.  It’s not like it’s hard to do it.. it just takes longer and you have to content yourself with slower progress – assuming that you care, and if you’re knitting a bohus, I suggest you not care and try and get all Yoda-knitter on it.  "This is not the sweater you seek.  The process is the sweater. The sweater is progress alone without becoming a sweater."  (It helps.)

Along with those pleasures, I’ve been re-visiting the joy of arsing up a row of colourwork and tinking back 325 fuzzy little stitches to fix it.  (I tried to get Yoda Knitter on that one, but I couldn’t.  It sucked.)  It’s fixed now, but for the record, it takes up pretty much an entire episode of Law and Order (or a whole glass of Shiraz- depending on how you like to measure these things) to get it done.  Bad-ass.  That’s what that was- but the truth now is the same as it was in grade 11 when I learned it from watching a girl named Tracy.

If you’re really good looking, you might be easier to forgive.

I wanted to run a question by you all, since it’s coming up more and more often.  I had planned on repeating the Knitting Olympics this year, like I did four years ago, but I think maybe things have changed too much.  I always intended for the Knitting Olympics to happen in conjunction with the Winter Games (what can I say.  Something about the Winter Games says knitting to me) and two years ago when the Summer Olympics came along, I didn’t run them- Mostly because I thought that it would be less special if it happened every two years, and because I really did think of it like it was an Olympic sport.  If you’re an   runner, how often do you compete?  Every four years.  If you’re a skier, how often do you compete? Every four years.  That was my thinking anyway – I remember suggesting at that time that if you wanted to compete in both the summer and winter Olympics, then maybe you needed another sport.  Maybe you would have to be bi-craftual?  Like… the winter games are the knitting ones, and the summer ones were for a crochet challenge?  

Turns out that nature really does abhor a vacuum, and there were enough knitters who wanted it to happen anyway, that when I didn’t do it, it really sprang up on Ravelry where knitters were gathering, and the Ravelympics were born and executed.  This year while I’ve been getting ready to decide how to handle my plan,  I’ve gotten a bunch of emails from people asking questions. They’ve asked if I’m joining the Ravelympics, what Ravelympics team I’d like to be on, if I’d like to start a Canadian Ravelympics team… Even a few people who wonder if I know about the Ravelympics because it’s a cool idea (it is!)  People have been asking me too if I’m planning on doing my Knitting Olympics… It makes me wonder if doing something his year (which isn’t an insignificant amount of work, really) would be sort of stupid?  If maybe the idea that was born here hasn’t moved on to its proper home on Ravelry?  That maybe some of the qualities Ravelry has makes it a natural place for the Knitting Olympics to go- I mean, every team can have it’s own group – there’s forums, it’s easy to put up pictures… it’s not at all that the Knitting Olympics isn’t a great fit over there- it is. It might even work way better…  I can see that. 

The sense of it all (and the way that really, it’s all set up already) makes me think that maybe I don’t have a decision to make at all… that the move has really  already happened. Things change, ideas shift, grow and move, or they wouldn’t be ideas, they’d be statues. (That’s a really dumb sentence.) The idea was to have some knitterly fun, not to necessarily have it here.. and it’s not like it won’t still have a way to be fun for me.. or you or anyone.  Heaps of fun, actually.

Thoughts? Ideas? Comments on how clever I am to notice now that the barn door’s been open for a while and how I might want to stop looking for a horse in there?  Input and suggestions welcome.

Friends who make things

I was going to ask you today if you have any friends who make things, and then I remembered that you’re (mostly) all knitters and mostly you all have a knitter friend, so yeah.  I guess you have friends who make things.  More specifically, I was going to ask if you have friends who make things and give them to you… which is a whole other kettle of fish and one you would consider yourself lucky to be in. 

I have friends who make things and give them to me.  I have a cowl Denny knit, a scarf Rachel H made,  Abby sent me her book Respect the Spindle , when she finished,  and so did Yarn-a-go-go Rachel  (Both are really wonderful, which is a relief, because especially with Rachel’s book – a romance, I had terrible worries.  I know she’s a good writer, but I also know I don’t care for romance, and I was so worried that I would hate How to Knit a Love Song and then I would have to spend the rest of my life avoiding her so I didn’t have to say it. Turns out it’s one of those books that you read in one day. Great book.)   I have a skein of yarn that Rams spun for me that I can’t even bring myself to knit- I love it that much… and really… It’s the yarn that’s the hardest.

I have sort of a yarn "thing".  I have a hard time knitting it. I love and respect yarn for what it is, and that can make it hard to use it up, because as much as I love knitting and knitted stuff, I feel like yarn is this massive ark of potential.  It sits there, and it could be anything.  There’s a whole story embedded in it and there’s no way to know what it is, and I just love that.  Once you knit it, that story is told… and you don’t have yarn anymore.  Sure, you have something else (or Rachel H does, if it’s another sweater I’ve knit that looks better on her than it does on me) and that’s great too, but it isn’t lost on me that yarn stops being yarn when you knit it, and if someone gave me yarn, then I really often have a hard time knitting it up, because yarn is forever baby… but socks get holes.

This yarn "thing" creates a huge problem if one of your friends makes you yarn- like my friend Tina does. Back when I was buying her yarn all the time it was bad enough, but now that the occasional skein arrives here that she dyed just for me… well.  Those skeins don’t hardly ever get knit. Tina sends me skeins of yarn the way that other people send letters or postcards.  It’s like communication for her.  Other people might tell you that they’re thinking about a trip to the sea, Tina just mails a skein of ocean coloured yarn.  Other friends might tell you that they loved making gingerbread as a child, Tina sends you a skein of gingerbread inspired yarn. It’s like a bizarre sort of fibre-based post-it notes or something.  I love it.  I love it so much that I signed up, years ago – before we were friends, for the Rockin’ Sock Club, sensing, I think – that dyeing yarn was more than just dyeing yarn to her… that it was extra nifty.  I’ve been a member for years, and as we’ve come to have a friendship as well, the sock club has become more than that to me.  I even designed for it a few times, and that added another layer of fun to it.   The one thing I noticed though, is that my yarn "thing" really comes into it.  Tina sends the packages, and I open them, and look at the yarn and read the dyers notes and see what they designers have cooked up to go with her yarn and then… then the little yarn fetish kicks in, and even though there’s always more to be had, I can’t knit it.  I hoard it. I have a whole bagful, and I keep the patterns all organizer in a binder and I look at them all the time, but there they sit.

So then this year (the year of our new plumbing, furnace and appliances)  I thought that maybe this is the year that I give it a rest.  I thought that if I’m not going to knit the stuff that comes (or at least, not knit it much) why not skip the club this year- and then it hit me. (Let’s not complicate it with the fact that the club is really cool this year, and I’d be a fool to quit the year that she has Meg Swansen)   I can’t skip it.  It’s stuff my friend makes, it’s a little postcard from her every two months, and really…

I just like seeing how she thinks. It’s her making stuff.  It would be like telling Denny I didn’t want a cowl, or Rachel that I didn’t want a scarf, or telling Abby or Yarn-a-go-go Rachel that I don’t want to see their books.  It’s Tina’s stuff, it’s one of a kind, it’s the little piece of her that she’s putting out in the world and dudes, I love it.  Wouldn’t miss it for the world.  Signing up.  Again. We’ve all got our reasons for being in yarn clubs… those are mine.

Send the yarn.

Ps. sorry for the lack of pictures.  I can’t find the stupid camera cable. Here’s a picture of Hank and Megan’s gingerbread house for this year to make up for it.

They had snowman shaped sprinkles.  It was a masterpiece.