Spiraling Notions


Small Obsession...?

I have this unmitigated need to buy books. It does not matter if I may never read them. I love the smell and feel of books. There is something really romantic and special about books. To me, a book is like a doorway to someplace new. It is a little like my obsession with blank notebooks, sketchbooks and empty buildings. There is something magical about the possibilities that could exist. While it is a little more narrow with a book about something specific the feeling is the same. I buy books because I love them and love to learn what they have inside them. My mother would exhaustively beg me to “just go to the library” when I was younger, but the library was a different type of magic and not the same as holding “my” book and keeping it.

Conversely, I really dislike the holidays. I grew up in a house where holidays really should have been fun, and would have, accept you had to be with family. Even holidays now are a bit unpleasant. I do really try and see the best in people, but being a cynic makes that really hard. This is specially true because that old lady almost knocked me down to get at that scarf set on sale before I had a chance to look at it. But for whatever subliminal reason I, like everyone else, tend to buy things during the holidays.


If I buy books - well then I am educating myself!

It seems as good an excuse as any...

My latest forage into the horribly maintained “craft” stacks at Barnes & Noble found me sneaking The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook from my significant other. At least there are no patterns I will never knit... and I can call it reference... right? So what if I had to build 4 more bookshelves to accommodate some more of my library, damn it, its what I love.

Behold my inner librarian.

I just wish that books weren’t so heavy.


Socks Socks Socks

Big surprise, I’m knitting socks. ’Tis the season I guess. I started getting the itch in October and it has not let up yet. Looking at the dates this sock binge seems to be annual at this time. I have knit about 20 socks since my first sock.

Only the most recent fit properly...

This makes me then think about what the problem is. What is the problem? The problem is that I do not know how to measure my foot properly to make the sock work for me. So, like any other yarn enthusiast, I went on a book buying spree.

I have at this point 10+ books on socks. Really, I do. Most of them are just patterns though and this has started to bother me.

Even the one with the good information on construction and different types of construction goes into a talk about how IMPORTANT it is to measure your feet properly and then ignores the details on how to best measure and what the ratios should be. It is only through my own trial and error that I have actually been able to figure most of this out.

This last book I bought, again talks about how important good fit and proper measurements are but then excludes the proper measurements or how they relate to the construction of the sock, and this source touts its encyclopedic nature. It would be like a historical record of the US that completely ignores the New England area of the country, or explaining our government without mentioning the Senate. How can all these books ignore this?

Thing is I still don’t know where to get the information I need. I have begun to experiment, of course, but in the face of the many hundred years or so in which humans have been knitting it seems ridiculous that no one source can explain the details - especially books written on sock design, construction and fit. But they all have pages worth of information on how to knit as though this is your first knitting book...

At 20 hours a pair and 15,000 stitches a sock the least I can do to start with is have all the information I need on how to measure my fucking foot properly.


Fiber Spree

Maybe it is because people are talking about Tour de Fleece... maybe it is just because the weather is finally good... maybe it is because I have no backbone... but I have been spinning like mad these days and went on a fiber buying spree. I got 11 different braids and I am eyeing several more. I am trying to refine my technique a bit and just practice, practice and practice.

I have recently learned I have a number of allergies to very common things and I realize that they are very commonly used in fiber blends these days. I am trying to be very careful about where the fiber is coming from and what other blends the spinners are also selling. Unfortunately I think I may need to stay away from custom batts from now on... sniff.

Milk, Soy and Corn are all the rage these days and I am hideously allergic to them. Ugh.

But I got me some wonderful wool blends and I am raring to go. I have a feeling I am going to need a stretching schedule for this one.

Drool, all of you drool....


Citron & Other Thoughts

I decided to make a citron with handspun. I decided on some bfl i bought on sale. It is not my favorite color scheme but I thought I needed to branch out a little and try more things. It is part of my new years resolutions - take more risks - because I generally stick with the same thing. I am spinning this as a thread and then will make a 2-ply or navajo ply with the results.

I like that I am evolving. I had all these preconceptions about what I wanted to do and be when spinning, I approached the whole thing with an attitude or principle of what I expected it to be and it is turning out to be nothing what I intended. This is not a bad thing, just a different thing, and maybe a way to help take risks too. A dare to change and accept the change as a positive movement, then forgive myself for not “sticking” to my original ideas of the whole concept. It should bring me peace - not agitate me or make my life more complicated.

So I guess the long and short of it is that I am going to spin some super freaking thin yarn for this citron and knit something. AWESOME. Then make a citron for me or anyone in the house who cares to wear it. I think for me it is about the spinning and knitting and becoming less and less about the finished object. I do not even care sometimes if it gets to be something other than yarn.

Although I have some new projects in mind that are extremely personal in nature and a bit painful. I am hoping that the act of making them into yarn will bring some catharsis to the situation. Now that I have found a way to make “art” yarn it seems to lend itself to these ideas. It is funny - I have an old journal that I used to write in periodically and decided that it would be re-dubbed the Yarn Diary. I have had so many ideas since I shifted from pencils, paint and pastel it is hard to keep them all organized. The artist block that has been plaguing my existence for the past 10 years seems to have cleared up now that I have shifted to a new medium.

To come:

Wolves in the Basement
Reds, browns, doll parts and possibly locks. This one is gonna be nasty. I need to find dolls that are the right size... any suggestions?

Hijacking Innocence
This one is pretty allegorical, although they all are really. This one is silk and linen spun fine with rusted steel wool throughout. I am also adding spindle spun silk hankies - with neps and slubs throughout. I am intending this to be a three ply yarn - at the moment.

Flowers in Her Hair
A project based on various brown tones and my own hair. I have a shetland moorit, brown bfl and my own luscious curls to play with. I had about 6 inches of my hair cut for it. Although it is cliché there is a hat that comes to mind.

I have a lot of work to do.


Saturday Night

I love the Misfits. Cannot tell you why and do not have to, thhiiiibbbiiiit.

I was thinking of this yarn and decided that it was going to be a Misfits tribute - or rather psycho-billy-horror-metal - course Misfits just sounds more euphonious doesn’t it?

I had all these colors I am not too fond of. I am a rabid Sheep Shed fan. Their shipping is on crack, but everything else is pretty good. If you order the correct amount the shipping balances and it works out less that a lot of places. Anyway... I had soppers and samples and left overs from several bags of items and realized what I was looking at:

  • pink lipstick
  • apricot cottons
  • blue denim
  • cigarette smoke
  • black leather
  • blood

In short, all of the qualities that make up a psycho-billy-horror-metal girl. This was the first time I sat down and really thought about a yarn, what I wanted it to look like and how I wanted to blend the fibers to get what I wanted. Strange for me. I like controlled chaos. I imagine my yarns to be a bit like water color. You can direct the water color but not control it entirely (unless you cheat and use gouache). But this time I paid attention to all of it. It was still like water color. I could mold and not always control everything - but it was planned out and similar to what I wanted to achieve.

I decided I am going to work up the greaser/psycho-metal aspect and knit the intolerable cruelty skirt. I can envision this with the ruffle done in the saturday night yarn and even further I can see a young girl wearing it with a black leather jacket -> smoking a cigarette -> putting on pink lipstick -> waiting at the drive in... so we will see how it comes out. I am working on the gauge right now... it is making me irritated. I am two needles down from the suggested size and next is lace needles. I think I need to adjust the yarn - poop.

Although, to be honest, I do not know if I am a proficient enough spinner to veer into this area. I can spin a number of weights (worsted and woolen) and have used several fibers (even dyed my own), carded, drummed... but I only have since last march under my belt. I also do not like knitting or crochet as much as I like spinning so I am not sure what I spin in the context of its use.

I thought about taking my store down until I have more time on my clock - but I am not doing this to sell the yarn. I am spinning because I “need” to spin. I have stacks of yarn that are not used because of my knit/crochet problem. Maybe I should try weaving instead.

Irony and Other Things

Maybe I am just feeling snarky today - but really - how can I stop being me for a moment?

I got a catalog today, Herrschner’s Quality Crafts Since 1899. And Several things struck me while “reading” the catalog. One might offer up that I should have been sitting to fend off the waves of irritation... alas earwax.

The first thing that struck me, as it has so many times before with any number of things, is that the quality of items within a catalog or shoppe declaring the word quality will most likely leave you wanting. Not a little... but really wanting, possibly regretful...

Second thing that hit me is people’s willingness to dress themselves and their children in the yarn version of napalm. Think about it for a moment... what is acrylic? It is plastic... what is plastic? it is petroleum. What is petroleum? dinosaur rot. It is the petrified, liquefied, remains of millions of dinosaurs (that mysteriously died out due to a changing climate - poetic right?). Why are we wearing, eating, breathing, having sex in, lathering and all other forms of using this crap? Aside from the fact that it is ruining everything it is also dangerous. If acrylic fibers or yarns catch fire - say goodbye to whatever it was on: your leg, you child, whatever! They literally melt and adhere to whatever they are touching. I have seen injuries from it and it is hard to imagine why it is so prevalent. If I cannot have a cigarette without 10 pressure groups, 27 laws and 43 random nobodies trying to intervene - how can people be using so much of this stuff with out so much as a warning to the contrary?

Next was the yarn. It is interesting to see the “trickle down effect” of the most cutting edge yarns getting watered down for the Plastic Heart fans. Maybe I am projecting but it is hard for me to see flattery in it sometimes. Although I do appreciate that even the big companies understand they need to open up new doors because the christmas doily is dying out with the older generations - and the new ones would rather die than make one. And the names they have out now -seriously- Nob Hill and Chunky Delights should not ever be on yarn labels... I have a hard time thinking of items they should refer to.

Lastly, and you thought it was over, is the fact that I got this catalog at all. All these places promise that they do not sell your name and address... so who is lying? And what the fuck is a “trusted affiliate” anyway? What an oxymoron there... We won’t share your information (unless we do) and then it will only be to a “trusted” affiliate (who does not have the same privacy issues we were stupid enough to promise but they agreed to give us a cut). So your personal information is SAFE with us!


All from a damned catalog eh?