Have Mercy

Yesterday, after setting fire to my yarn (which was not, I repeat, NOT the super-cool sock yarn, sorry if I upset anyone anymore than was necessary) I comforted myself by finishing the first of the Laurie-socks. As expected, this bucked me up a fair bit, and hope and happiness were restored.
My happiness was short lived as mere moments later, while attempting to put the sock on to perform a very encouraging “dancing with one sock on victory thing” I discovered that I had cast off too tightly and the sock wouldn’t go on.
Since I am (apparently) a knitter of fortitude and resiliance, I did not proceed to sob, set fire to the sock, get some scotch or mutter foul language (good eh?) instead I sat down and invented a very, very stretchy cool sewn cast off.
This made me feel a lot better. I love being brilliant, and brilliant and innovative is even better. I put on the sock and did my victory dance, snapping photos for posterity.
Not even the fact that my ankle seems inexplicabley chunky in this picture can spoil the mood. I decided to write out my instructions for doing the incredibly clever sewn cast off, when it all started to sound a little familiar. I did a quick look about, and lo and behold, I am ripping off Elizabeth Zimmermann. I have invented nothing, merely somehow sucked page 23 into my brain and briefly believed that I was clever. I am not. Hopefully acknowledging this publicly will stave off any punishment that the universe may exact upon me for thinking however briefly that I had come up with something original and coming perilously close to plagiarism. I assure whoever is watching me that I was only a little proud of the cast off, and that I guessed immediately that I was not clever and I didn’t tell anyone that I was smart or that the sock cast off was my genius.
Please spare the sock.
Thanks to everyone who was glad that it was the yarn and not my hair in the fire, (I tell you, I’m still recovering from the moment that I thought it was both) but let’s get our priorities straight. As Amie said in the comments yesterday “Hair grows back, Spinning is forever”.
A special aside to the individual who stole Amanda’s bike yesterday….
Seriously dude, from in front of a school? I hope your yarn is on fire.

19 thoughts on “Have Mercy

  1. RE: your comment to the bike thief: Me too. And his (?) hair too. What a jerk.
    I’m beginning to wonder if that fleece is cursed. First the squirrel, and now the yarn fire. And perhaps all the other calamities, from the washing machine to the leg cramp and the too-small tank. Could you perform an exorcism on it?

  2. Well, whatever you might think, I am convinced that the Harlot is one of the cleverest people I (virtually) know. Toasting you with my morning chai.

  3. I hope his yarn catches on fire, and then wraps into the spokes of the bike as he rides away, causing him to flip over in a blaze of fiery, yarny shame.
    And I don’t think EZ would have minded too much – she did coin the phrase “unvented” afterall…

  4. I probably should have commented on this yesterday, but I once set myself on fire. I was heating a tortilla over the gas flame on my stove. In order to do this, you lay the tortilla on the burner, let it sit for about 5 seconds, and then flip it to heat the other side. I was making this tortilla for breakfast, and so I had come out of the shower and was only wearing my big, thick terrycloth robe. I went to flip the tortilla, and as I looked down, I discovered that my sleeve was on fire. Using my other hand, I tried to bat the flames out, but only ended up setting my front aflame. Eventually, I ended up completely naked in the kitchen, doing a dance on top of my robe to put out the fire. Luckily the kitchen windows had blinds!
    The most amazing thing is that there was absolutely no sign of my adventure on the robe afterwards. I guess the robe really needed some de-linting.

  5. Socks look lovely, absolutely lovely. A testament to the skill and resilience of the spinner/knitter who made them. And, of course, to the brilliant dyer. And I’m so glad it wasn’t that yarn that burned! I couldn’t quite tell in the photo, perhaps because I was fixating on the terrifying little burnt cinder-y bits…

  6. Dear Stephanie,
    I wanted to say that I love your site; it keeps me in stitches and gives me many hours of knitting/parenting inspiration.
    That being said, how do we e-mail you directly? I had a question to pose, but didn’t want to annoy everyone on the message board by asking something that is meant for one person!

  7. I hope more than yarn is burning for the complete loser that robbed my neighbor today.. Who on earth would rip a purse off of an 83 year old woman’s arm (wrapped around it twice) as she rode by on her electric scooter/wheelchair?? I can only hope her spunk is not damaged and she does not lose the confidence to leave her home again alone..
    Some people are so completely evil it astounds me.. sigh…

  8. From someone who works in a cop-shop, I can assure you that people fall more often off stolen bikes than their own. This is true.
    Your sock rocks. Hard.

  9. Bikes getting stolen is a seriously depressing event. We had one summer when my now 12 year old had his bike stolen not once but twice:(
    Susanna in Halifax where it isn’t really summer at all

  10. So I followed the link posted by Krista Jo (above; how could I NOT follow a link to a page called “Girl from Auntie”?). What I found was an intelligent, no-nonsense wake-up call to timid knitters and arrogant “professionals” alike (and well written enough to be worthy of our own Harlot; go, Jenna, whoever you are).
    I herewith quote one tiny portion from the Girl’s page:
    In Knitter�s Almanac, the inventor is portrayed as being isolated from the outside world, in a lab full of books and knowledge, but no practical tools. The �deathless designs� were executed in back rooms by actual knitters who implemented the inventor’s lofty ideals.
    Is this an accurate portrayal of inventors? No. Inventions, in reality (and I speak from simple observation, not research) are seldom bolts of lightning out of the blue. They are solutions to problems.
    [end quote]
    “Solutions to problems” sometimes look like one-row buttonholes, sometimes look like Swiffers (TM, I’m sure), and sometimes they look like poems. This problem of analyzing, codifying, or just describing creativity comes up a lot in literature, especially when poets try to describe their own creative process. The “back room full of actual knitters” made me jump out of my chair: Vladislav Khodasevich (1886-1939), a Russian poet who emigrated to Europe in 1922 and whose work is largely untranslated into English (if you want a Russian citation for what I’ve written below, ask me), writes about creativity as a moment of inspiration, after which the poet takes his idea to a workshop full of gnomes, who hammer away at it until it achieves its proper form. In other words, the problem of being a person who can both “get” the idea AND have the practical skills to work it out dogs creative people in all fields.
    Now that my “official” life and my fiber life have collided in the middle of the Harlot’s blog, I’d better go have another cup of coffee.

  11. hey 🙂 Soooooo glad it wasn’t the lovely rainbow sock yarn!!!! YAY! AND glad it wasn’t your hair!! I set my hair on fire once — blowing out the candles on my 16th birthday cake!!!! luckly, I only singed a few hairs…nothing tooo traumatic 🙂

  12. Thank you Melise for making me laugh this morning! I can just see you dancing around trying to put out the bathrobe. I’m still giggling…
    Bike thieves are no fun at all. My son refuses to learn how to drive, so he goes everywhere on bike (and rarely asks for a ride, no matter how nasty the weather or the time of day) He has had 3 bikes stolen over the last 4 years. Last time they took his pack too (with cell phone). We reported it to the cops and went and bought a new bike. 2 weeks later the cops called and said that his stuff was at the store it had been stolen from in front of – everything!! Thank you to the parent who made their rotten kid take everything back where they got it (at least that’s what I figure must have happened)

  13. I don’t understand bicycle thieves. Someone stole my roommate’s bicycle from our garage, but didn’t steal my other roommate’s bike that was 2 feet away and cost twice as much. Nor did they take the VCR or other electronic goodies sitting 2 feet away from that.
    But from in front of a school is just plain evil. All their body hair should light on fire!

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