Friday, July 31, 2009

Sock Yarn Blanket 7-30


Sock Yarn Blanket 7-30
Originally uploaded by knittaPrince
Voilà! An updated picture of the ongoing Sock Yarn Blanket for your viewing pleasure. In truth, I'm not terribly pleased with the quality of the photo but I never claimed to be a photographer. I tend to think I have an aesthetic eye for composition but it's exceedingly difficult to effectively photograph this project. As it grows, it becomes harder and harder to get the whole blanket in the frame...at least without finding something to stand on and then shooting it from above. In any case, I love it...it lacks the usual beauty and elegance I love my projects to have. What it does have is a patchwork quilt quality, a homegrown folk-art feel...and that's not a bad thing.

In other knitting news, I treated myself to a little snack yesterday after work. It had been a really jacked-up, wacked-out day in the world of customer service (isn't that everyday?) but it rounded out to a smooth finish as we were given our quarterly bonuses. It's never a lot but it's cash in my pocket. I zoomed over to Knitorious, my absolute favorite LYS in St. Louis. Check it, yo...In my own defense, I needed a longer circular to continue my work on the Hemlock Ring Throw (another impossible project to photograph). I had literally filled up the previous 32" completely with live stitches and had to transfer it over if I had any hopes of completing it. Unfortunately, the store didn't have my preferred brand of needle, Chiaogoo, in a sufficient length so...tah-dah!...my very first Addi Turbo. I had never used one before last night and, dude, it's a slippery wicket! It's a pretty awesome experience...however, my one critique is that the join between the needle and the cord isn't jointed, it's static. I like it when the cord is joined with a variation of a ball joint, so the needle can spin; the Addi joint is fused which can sometimes make moving stitches up the needle to knit them a pain. Also, since I can so rarely leave a LYS without some kind of fiber, I opted to give the Mini Mochi a try. It seems to be the newest rage in the knit community. I've seen it pop up on many o' blog and several shop owners have extolled its virtues to me the land over (first in Michigan during a recent visit to City Knitting, then I saw it pop up on HizKnits Flickr photostream), so I thought I'd give it a go. I haven't knit with it yet...I'll keep you posted.Oh...and here's a sink full o' kitteh. My princess...isn't she beautiful?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Clematis bloom overload!!

I must be doing something right in my gardens as evidenced here by one of my clematis vines which has gone completely crazy. It's hard to believe that this plant started just 3 or 4 months ago as a tiny 3" sprout. I planted 2 of those sprouts together, one in front of and another behind the short trellis, unsure if they were even the same breed or color. Suddenly, all plant hell breaks loose and sprouts took off! They grew so quickly, in fact, that I needed to extend the trellis to give them somewhere to grow. What to do...what to do...?

A few years back, when my best friend Kort and I shared an apartment in a different neighborhood of St. Louis, we had this wonderful, expansive balcony with a very long matchstick bamboo shade along the front of it. Well, when that era came to an end, she moved back to Michigan and I took the matchstick blind with me, unsure when I would use it again but quite sure I would find somewhere to hang it. How very wrong I was...

Three years later and still nowhere to hang this monstrous blind, it occurred to me that if I removed the bamboo pole at the bottom of the blind and unwound the threads holding all of the matchsticks together, then I could use the uber-flexible matchsticks and create some hand-crafted trellis magick! Lo and behold...I'm freakin' brilliant sometimes.

If you look closely, you can see the original metal trellis and then, of course, the crazy matchstick trellis I put together on the fly with breadties to secure everything together.
Here's a flashback from shortly after I planted the babies in the newly built gardens. As you can see, even the sedum spurium on either side of the vines has grown like mad as well. In the first picture, you cal also see the lemon thyme growing in between the sedum and in front of the clematis. It just makes me so happy to see my garden filling in so nicely! Not bad for my first season...and maybe happy isn't the right word so much as content, which perhaps fits the bill more appropriately. I find it incredibly satisfying to make green stuff pop up and grow out of the ground. One of my favorite things ever is to bury my arms in a bag of potting soil and feel and smell the moist soil and to feel, in a very visceral way, the power and energy held within it. Appropriately enough, it's a very grounding experience...as is harvesting the herbs I grow.


In knitting news, let's go back just a little bit to a previous project I made for my biggest knitting fan, little LoLo. Names have been changed (not that much) to protect no one in particular. He's a little dude, supa cool and supa smart and I just needed to bust some stash. I opted for the Pinwheel Blanket from "Knitalong: Celebrating the Tradition of Knitting Together" by Larissa Golden Brown and Martin John Brown. Both of the yarns used in this blanket have these little nubbins of thread that look like little multi-colored worms...really fun for kinds, not so fun to knit with. All the more reason to bust it out of my stash forever!

I alternated the colors but by the 4th round I was already getting bored, so I started carrying the off color down and over with every row...thus was born the spider zig (no zag) you see. By the time I had finished, it really look very much like a spider web...which couldn't have possibly worked out better as the kid was currently in the thralls of Spider-Man mania!As you can see, it was a superb hit...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Unknown White Male

Last night, while working on Jared Flood's Hemlock Ring Throw, I watched the most fascinating and thought provoking documentary called "Unknown White Male." It was one of those films that I added to my Netflix queue at some indeterminate point in the past for reasons heretofore lost. In any case, I was expecting a dramatized movie, "base upon the true events." Instead, I found myself plunged into a full on documentary style film, expertly done and so enthralling that I had to pause the film to make it through my increase round on the throw. The film chronicles and follows Douglas Bruce, a 35-year old dude who finds himself in Coney Island neighborhood of New York unable to remember anything about his past. His name, his age, where he lives, who he is...all completely, totally and inexplicably lost.

Can you even imagine? One of the great things about this film is that Rupert Murray, the filmmaker, narrator and close (former?) friend to Doug, incorporates footage shot by Doug in the very early days after his accident. There are shots, some incredibly emotional, of Doug talking about finding the first person who knew who he was; the exploration of his apartment for the first time; him talking about wearing his old clothes and how it feels like they're someone else's.

Just try to...your first memory is you on the bus or train or maybe just sitting in the front seat of a parked car. Is it yours? You don't know where you live. I wouldn't remember that I have 2 cats...or that I love gardening...or even that I knit like a bandit! You just don't remember...

Everything becomes brand new again. You've never been to the beach or felt the falling snow on your face. Your parents and siblings are complete and total strangers to you. Your best friends could be just people on the street with whom you no longer share a common collection of past experiences.

Weird, huh? It really make my mind go...like a ball of yarn fallen from the couch and rolling along the floor until it disappears under the chair on the other side of the room. Fascinating...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The process of learning...

...is neverending, like that movie with the flying dog from the 80s.

I emerge victorious from the Blogger school of learning! I have successfully learned how to add those clever little hotlinks! If you go back and read yesterday's post, you'll find two instances in which hotlinks would have proven very, very useful! However, yesterday I was dumb; today I am smart and clever! Not only did I learn hot to hot link but I also went back and added hot links to the previous post. How's that for retrofitting, eh?

In other news, today is a gym day. How very gay of me but true all the same. For the past 2 years or so, I've gone regularly to a local gym, originally for a wee bit o' cardio but it has since transformed into a pretty life altering event. What began as 30 minutes of cardio has turned into 30 minutes of upper body weights, followed by a 6-7 mile run on the elliptical machine, followed by 20 minutes of stretching and cool down. This is done at least every other day...and sometimes, when the mood strikes, several days in a row.

But let me be absolutely clear (as this is my blog and I can do whatever I want with it) as to my motivations. You see, I am not cut from the stereotypical cloth wherein my obligation to go to the gym is a social imperative so I can chisel and sculpt my body into something to be displayed and showcased in a too-small-tshirt at the local gay bar. In fact, it's a scientific fact that my physical form, regardless of its level of general fitness, is actually repelled in a very real and powerful way from these establishments.

As difficult as it may be to believe, to me especially, I can honestly say that I now go to the gym because I like the way I feel when I leave.

It used to be just because I wanted to shed a little weight, and it still is, but I've gone so far as to continually accentuate and incorporate new and expansive exercises to my routine and make dietary changes as well. Low fat, high protein and low sugar...yeah, that last one is the killer! I used to drink many cups o' coffee throughout my day, doctoring each one with cream and 3 or 4 teaspoons of sugar. I was also a big fan of apple juice. I have since cut out fruit juice altogether and cut back to only 2 cups of coffee a day (with only 2 teaspoons of sugar). I also haven't eaten a proper meal in almost 6 weeks, opting instead for smaller (i.e. tiny) meals throughout the day, about every 2 hours. My metabolism is up...way up!

And the most important change of all...I quit smoking. The end of July will mark the end of my fourth month being smoke-free. I was on the patch for about 3 months and this past month I've been nicotine-free. And I don't miss it a bit...

Anyway...today's a gym day.
Oh yeah, and my cat is a pirate.

QueerKnit
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Monday, July 27, 2009

Kort wanted a cup cozy...

...and people are dumb. C'mon now, let's be honest...they are. The true stroke of genius here, if I do say so myself, isn't so much the cup cozy, although it rocks pretty hardcore on its own, but more so the editorial comment that I felt at liberty, indeed obligated, to add to the cup. Where once there was simply the calm and pastoral "The beverage you are about to enjoy..." has since been transformed into what I believe the cup should have said in the first place.

In other news, I big appreciative thank you goes out to TedBerlin from Ravelry, who officially became the first fellow dude knitter that I've met in person and spent any amount of time knitting with. Ted and his boyfriend met up with me this past weekend for coffee and yarn swapping. Both of them were so very cool and the conversation was great. Unfortunately, they're also relocating to Chicago at the end of the week and, since Ted and I had been meaning to meet up to trade sock yarn for our respective blankets, it was nearing the now or never line. I'm especially happy about the lil' bit o' handspun that he included, made by his very own hands.

Is it too soon to be ready for Fall? Today is probably the first day that I've felt the urge to hibernate this year. Summer is still great and all what with its sunshine and sticky oppressive humidity, but I'm ready for the gradual cooling, the breezes that carry the scents of impending sleep and death, the slow and deliberate bleeding of green from the leaves into the yellows, oranges, reds and browns of the autumn. Plus...layering. Love it. No, seriously.

I'm ready to bust out the panoply of long-sleeve Ts, the button-downs, the hoodies (preferably with a zip), the sweaters, scarves and hats; ready to step outside and smell the decay of the leaves and the rustling of their paper thinness as the wind swirls them into and out of piles along the curb; ready to harvest the Morning Glory seeds from their dried husks.

Autumn, wherefore art thou?

In other knitting news, behold the Politte-Hornburg baby blanket, named so due to the last names of those involved in creating said baby. Clever, eh? Yeah, I thought so...

The design is partially my own, partially one taken from "The Little Box of Knitted Throws." (I wish I could have made that title a hot-link to Amazon or something, but I haven't a clue how to do it. Remember, blogging...me...new thing). I added the rows of grey seed and garter for texture and also to "boy" it up a bit. I knit it with Bernat's Softee Chunky (another hot-link would be awesome, huh?), quite possibly the cheapest acrylic ever...and not too shabby of the soft factor, either.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

It begins with...the Sock Yarn Blanket



Dude...it's a blog. It's a mutha-flippin' blog. I've never had a blog before. There's a lot of pressure with a blog. People read this crap, ya know? Maybe if I pretend they don't read it, huh...that might work. Maybe...

The concept behind the blog isn't new or alien or even original. It's a frakkin' journal that you open up for all the world to see and read and peruse at their leisure. Why would anyone do such a thing? It's a valid question...

What do people write about? Grocery lists, library books, movies watched, meals prepared, loves lost, death, life, death again...the newest episode of "The Office." In the case of knitters, I guess we talk about projects conquered, techniques perfected, the new yarn we just have to have. I say none of this disparagingly, mind you, but definitely with a little tongue in cheek. I'm as guilty as the next...um...guy.

So, this is how it starts. I don't know what I'll write about but I can assure you, the hapless soul being inextricably sucked into the small and delightfully simple fractal of my world, that there will be knitting. Oh yes! There will be yarn, cats, plants of green and purple, too. Sometimes, I play video games...but I can't possibly imagine how they might work themselves into this...pioneering effort to throw open the doors of my soul...

So without further ado...(gawd, the tension is thick in here!)
IMG_0742 by you.
This is the newest picture I have of my Sock Yarn Blanket. As the name seems to imply, it's a blanket knitted exclusively from sock yarn. Each of the individual squares is knitted from a different colorway, a different yarn, a different blend of fibers...the options are pretty wide open. Some who have tackled this daunting project have limited the selection to only superwash wool yarns, thus facilitating the eventual washing and drying process. For others, they've added to the challenge by choosing only cotton and cotton-blends.

I gave none of these considerations any attention whatsoever before starting on this quest and have incorporated wool, cotton, silk, alpaca, flax and blends of all of the above into this creation. And, upon further thought, it seems I've unwittingly made it a dry-clean-only...

In any case, as so many knitting projects can with the right knitter, this project has become my castle tower, the place I can retreat to for comfort and safety. It's not as if the other knitting project are storming the walls...more the case that this is not a difficult, only lengthy knit, one which requires from me just the right due diligence and affords me the option of mindless meditation.

I love coming home each night from work or from the gym and choosing the next colorway and its position. I like to think that I don't put much thought into how the squares interplay with one another, but the truth is there is some forethought. Not too many blues together, not too many solids or self-stripings all together. You get the idea...

I'll take a newer photo tonight. It's grown quite a bit since this one was taken.