November 9, 2010

Ramen or Chow Mein

Finished, finished, finished... or mostly.  I cast off Laminaria last night, and right now this shawl is particularly underwhelming. 

Lace almost always looks crappy straight off the needles, and in my experience the finer the yarn, the bigger the holes, the more it looks like you've knit noodles, and the more dramatic the transformation is in blocking.

I'm flying to Port Ludlow for the Silk Retreat tomorrow morning (my flight is so early that every time I think about getting up at 4am to make it work I think about throwing up) so I'm going to have to put off blocking until I get there.  There's no time today but I have to admit that I'm unreasonably excited about it.  I can't wait to see what this shawl is really like, once its been to the bath.

Now, who would have thought that yesterday's challenge would have revealed such a burning desire to write Haiku?  Not me, and certainly not my ISP.  When the blog repeatedly crashed under the weight of all the poetry being thrust upon it, I found myself on the phone with the charming Kevin, who by several interesting twists of fate, keeps being who I end up with for support, and who also has a girlfriend who's a crocheter.  (I keep calling her a hooker, just to throw him off.) He's usually pretty good about accepting the idea of "a big knitting blog" which most support guys seem to think is an oxymoronic statement  (I believe it is his yarn experience that has brought Kevin to acceptance.)  but yesterday even Kevin was a little surprised.

Kevin: I'll just check the comment database and see if I can see why the load is so high.
Me: I think the load is high because there's a lot of comments.
Kevin: That would be weird.
Me: Try not to judge Kevin, we've talked about this.
Kevin: Sorry.  I'm just looking at your comment log.   How come all the comments are three lines?
Me: The readers are writing Knitting Haiku.
Kevin: ...... what?
Me: Knitting haiku.  They're writing it.  That's why there's so many comments.

The pause that followed was delicious.  I could tell that more than anything else what Kevin wanted to say was ARE YOU SERIOUS THAT IS SO WHACKED but instead, placed in a dilemma of a professional nature, Kevin said the only thing he could.

Kevin:  .....Of course they are.

Of course they are indeed. He was having so much trouble masking his disbelief that I decided not to tell him that not only were more than a thousand knitters trying to leave a haiku comment, but that the haiku's were cast-off specific.
The poetry though, is spectacular.  I read every one of them, and I think you should too, but if you don't have time, I've selected a few of my favourites for you to enjoy. 

Some knitters got philosophical about casting off...

Binding off is not
The existential question
That casting on is.


Isn't it quite strange
How much longer binding off
takes than casting on?


Some took the opportunity to immortalize classic cast-off crisis, of both a spiritual and practical nature.

this will be enough,
you say looking at your yarn.
and then -- one yard short.


Bind off loosely, or
Your big head will not fit through
The small neck opening.


binding off isn't
as bad as sewing in all the
stupid loose ends in.


the best part about
binding off a sweater is
starting the next one

-Amy Fish

What is "casting off"?
Self-described process knitter
dislikes letting go.


why did i leave you
incomplete but for cast off?
oh, i remember.

A few celebrated the fact that Canada has two national languages.

Cast on and bind off
Monter et rabattre les mailles
Knitting in Frenglish


Tu montes des mailles,
tu tricotes, encore, toujours...
Résultat : un châle !


A knitter who was perhaps caught writing haiku at work immortalized the moment:

Cast on promises
Joy of knitting stitches but
Bind off seals the deal!

(and in a related note:
Counting syllables
leaves coworkers wondering
what I am doing)


Some knitters expressed their frustration that the blog was throwing a temper tantrum:

blog ate my haiku
clever bind off wittiness
lost in cyberspace


Other knitters expressed the duality of casting off.  The natural happiness that you've finished something, but the sadness that you won't be together anymore in the same way....

Binding off, I'm done.
Should I be happy or sad?
I might miss the fun.


What a huge relief
And yet I'm a little sad
Poor naked needles


For me it's always
a little sad to cast off.
I hate when it ends.


In a very poignant moment, Sarah attempted to express, in a mere seventeen syllables, the very human struggle we all have in balancing our personal interests with our relationships.

One minute, darling.
We'll make fervid love as soon
as I cast this off.

-Sarah S.

Many knitters tried (and succeeded) in capturing not just the struggle, but the inherently poetic nature of casting off.

One by one the crowd
Bows to my sceptre in turn.
Now all are prostrate.


Leaves turned fall colors,
Now trees cast them off. F. O's.,
in their own fashion.

-Ann Hunt

Others offered inspiration:

Pretend the last stitch
is George Clooney at the end
of a long, long hall.


... And in what was a classic and hysterically funny moment for me, some paid tribute to William Shatner and his classic take on the writing of Haiku.

Casting off is hard.
Sometimes it doesn't make sense.


They were all brilliant, and I'm so very glad that I said that I would choose two winners at random instead of choosing the two best, or I would be here forever.  Without further ado, the calendar is going to Louise H. and the book to Megan B.  I've emailed them for addresses. (If you're another Louise H or Megan B and you didn't get an email, it's not you.  Sorry.)  

Thanks for the wicked haiku party, and for the fun I had last night trying to explain to all my non-knitting associates how grand it is to have more than eleven hundred knitting poems with your tea.  I just love knitters.

Posted by Stephanie at November 9, 2010 1:04 PM