July 7, 2004
\Pride"ful\, Full of pride; haughty, showing arrogant superiority
I find it incredible that huge crimes against humanity can go unpunished. That people can do terrible things to one another and go without any sort of karmic revenge. No lightning bolt coming down from the sky, no earthquake swallowing them whole, no keening of small children or vicious dogbites, no cloud of blackflies pursuing them down the street.
I find this especially hard to believe considering that the planet, or whatever higher power you think is in charge of this sort of thing, seems very alert to my infractions, no matter how minor. Take today for example.
Your local harlot has (in the last 24 hours or so) perfected the navajo ply. This is a big deal, since I am deeply involved with Laurie's roving and it needs to be navajo plied. I did a nice piece as a sample to show off on the blog, but it was just short of perfect. Do I accept that I am human? Do I reveal my human frailty? Do I demonstrate my low place on the learning curve and allow all others to feel good about thier own undeveloped skills? Do I?
I decide that what I will do is steam the yarn, pulling the little spinning errors out as I go an allow all of you to believe that my spinning is perfect.
Say it with me....Prideful.
I turn on the kettle and loosely skein the yarn, and when the kettle boils I begin to draw the yarn across the jet of steam, focussing intently on the subtle deception I am working. Let's take a moment here to stress that I accept what happened next. I deserve what happened next, and I understand the universe is deeply committed to improving me as a person. I understand that even though murderers run free and racists and bigots run around uncorrected by even one measly little episode of spontaneous combustion, that I am not allowed to pretend that I spin better than I really do. I understand that I am to be brought to personal improvement by drastic and shocking measures at regular freaking intervals. Ok? I get it. I was prideful, I was wrong and I regret trying.
I am sorry because as I was drawing the yarn across the kettle, gently easing the ply into deceitful perfection, I noticed a funny smell, a burny smell. I live with a man who creates electrical fires on a regular basis (small and controlled fires) so the smell of something burning up doesn't instantly register as an issue. Then I notice that it sort of smells like burning hair. Now this registers. My hair is big and wild and in its ongoing attempt to make me look stupid in public it could be on fire. I wouldn't put it past it. I leap back from the kettle to check my hair and that's when I notice that the skein in my hands is on fire.
I fling it onto the stove top, and it goes out immediately ('cause you know, torching the whole kitchen would be overkill).
I, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, do solemnly swear that I will not attempt to put a fast one over on the blog again. I understand that doing so can only end in my punishment, as I am being watched. My apologies to you all.
Posted by Stephanie at July 7, 2004 1:23 PM
Oh dear goddess...just when I thought we were all doing so well and the knitting goddess was smiling down (up, As wonderful as that yarn is (was) you must be despondent!
Oh good God!!! I am SO glad it wasn't YOUR hair...tho, I suspect it might have been easier to swallow than the loss of any part of the yarn.... I often wonder, why do I have to learn everything, absolutely every-freaking-thing, the *hard* way???? What IS that about??? Now, at least, I know I am not alone.
Sob! A moment of silence, please.
I'm glad it wasn't your hair, but how _awful!_
No, wait... given that hubris and fatal flaws and all that are defining parts of theatrical tragedy, I think that this meets the definition of "tragic."
In any case, bummer!
Oh, how sad. At least you'll have a story to tell each time you wear the socks. Assuming there is enough left???
OOOOoohhh... how terrible. (Your retelling is rather amusing, mind you, but terrible)
Oh, ow! But having once had to ask a hairdresser if she could rescue my head in some semblence of a nice haircut after my hair caught fire in the barbecue grill, I am VERY glad it wasn't your hair!
If the twist was imperfect, may I suggest for the next time rinsing the skein and hanging it with something to weight it at the bottom to straighten it out?
so thats where the screaming was coming from ;0)give yourself a break kid,remember schools out right now give yourself a break
We put flags at half-mast for all the wrong things.
How horrible! And definitely tragic. I wish my tragic flaw was perfectionism, though... rather than sloth and sloppiness, for instance. Still, I do hope you'll be able to rescue the yarn! I have faith in the Harlot's powers...
Hmm. This wasn't the Fiber Gods telling you that you were prideful. This was the Fiber Gods telling you that you don't have the right equipment. Do you have a PVC niddy-noddy? If not, you need one (you can make one). Then you can heat a spaghetti pot full of water, rest one end (crossbar parallel to rim) on the pot, and the other end (crossbar perpendicular to rim) on an upturned mug (or maybe a pyrex beaker/measuring cup) that's resting on the stove top (NOT on the burner). You don't have to hold the yarn OR the niddy-noddy, thus eliminating the human error that causes both burnt yarn and scalded hands (you WILL use a potholder to remove/reposition the niddy-noddy, now won't you?).
(P.S.--My PVC niddy-noddy came from Laurie. She's Da Bomb.)
oooooooooh how SAD :( you worked so HARD on spinning that yarn!! I mean, the LIMP for christ's sake!
my condolences :(
And these people saying glad it wasn't your hair - HAIR GROWS BACK, SPINNING IS FOREVER!!!!
Been there, done that.
The odd thing is that such efforts to "perfect the yarn" almost always respond to flaws that only the spinner perceives. You look at your own yarn -- especially navajo-plied yarn, I might add -- and say to yourself, "my gosh, it is TOTALLY uneven; it looks TERRIBLE. Look at those joins -- the yarn before and after them is completely different in thickness." But other people looking at exactly the same yarn comment admiringly on how very consistent it is. And the (spinner-exaggerated) inconsistencies -- if they exist -- disappear completely when you knit the yarn.
In the same mode, everyone ELSE's first handspun yarn looks super. Your own, however, looks just awful, once you get past the delirious joy of realizing that you have made actual yarn. I have a vivid memory of Kristen (see above) lamenting that she would NEVER be able to spin genuinely thin or even yarn. And she spins astoundingly thin, even silk that wins ribbons and ignites serious envy in everyone who sees it.
I don't think that this phenomenon is perfectionism, exactly. (Heaven knows I do not possess that trait elsewhere in life). I think that, if you are spinning or knitting (or dyeing!) something, you envision the result a certain way. Every part of the resulting yarn/knitted item/dyed roving that does not fully match up to that imagined ideal is irritating, obviously imperfect to your eyes. However, anyone else looking at your efforts sees only the result -- and often sees that result as wonderful.
On that note, does anyone else think (as I do) that the examples of navajo-plied skeins that Stephanie has posted this week look just splendid and amazing?
What nation of Native Americans wove imperfections into their blankets, etc? Was it the Navajo? That would be ironic. Anyway, the point of including an imperfection is simple: only God (or whatever you call the force of the Universe) is perfect. In the name of not reducing your house to cinders, accept your human frailty!
Oh so sad. I'm sorry this happened to you. Personally I like to be lied to by bloggers. But maybe by admiting this you've gained a bit of good karma and the rest of the spinning will move along well.
I'm with Amie. Hair grows back, fiber is forever!
On the other hand, you really need to listen to your mentor Laurie.
Rebecca, perpetually on the fence.
Harlot, you take the cake and apparently the candles too! Glad to know you're not hurt...
AlisonH, I just have to ask, were y'all using rocket fuel for a starter on that grill fire?
oh, Sweet suffering Jesus. There but for the grace of God go I.
Yarn Goddess 1. Harlot 0.
Navajo plied yarn is like that. This is a hard lesson in letting it be, hmmm?
Oh. My. God.
Usually when I read your blog I am *convulsed* with laughter, but this time I was literally sitting here open-mouthed.
Merciful freakin' heavens.
We, your loyal blog-readers, would rather be fooled by you for all eternity than have this happen to you, but we also salute you, as always, for your honesty and policy of full disclosure.
Now....a moment of silence for the yarn.
Perfection is boring. Time to learn that those small imperfections will add character and charm to your "art". In other words, Don't frig with a good thing!
Are you quite sure this was the gods teaching you a lesson? Could it not be the myriads of knitters green with envy whose combined powers of envy caused the skein to spontaneously combust? Or the powers of the Navajo people who require a prayer of thanks to the sheep (especially from a redhead) before the sacrificial steaming?
Be careful that you put the correct spin on it.
My first inclination was to give you sympathy - this is a horrible occurrance!!! However, after subsequent readings, I can't help but laugh! To be a fly on the wall (or a child home for summer vacation!)...And those wee singed bits! How clean your stovetop is tho!
Am I the only one who thinks that maybe the other projects "left behind" got together and cast a spell on you?
Sounds logical to me!
(S- this past spring I attended a small fiber fest and went to dinner with two new friends. Upon ordering the requisite margarita I WAS CARDED!!! Honey I am 34!! I damn near kissed that waiter!)