Wednesday, December 19, 2007

'Tis The Season

Isn't it weird how you forget you haven't blogged in a week or so because you're knitting constantly? Am I alone on this one? Anyone? Bueller? I normally start my Christmas knitting in January but somehow this year it snuck up on me. I've started three projects in the past week in preparation for the most wonderful time of the year.

I went through my stash and found a ball of Knitpicks Elegance in Fog so I started a cowl for my mom.


I used the pattern from Last Minuted Knitted Gifts for the Pashmina Cowl. My mom loves cowls. It's weird. It's even a weird word to say. Cowl. It sounds like a eugenics experiment gone wrong. "It hoots and flies but you can milk it too!"
I really love knitting it though because it's just round after round of plain stockinette. Unfortunately this project isn't a genuine stash buster 'cause I ordered 2 additional balls of yarn and I'm probably going to have one left over. So if we do our math, that leaves me with exactly what I started with. Oh well.

I'm also knitting a scarf for my dad.


The yarn is Cascade Pastaza from my stash, bought specifically for this purpose. I chose the color (Antique Gold) as a nod to his Alma Mater, Georgia Tech, which just coincedentally happens to be the rival of my Alma Mater, UGA.
I am a good son.

I added a last minute present to my list. My friend Atom is a good friend indeed, and I figured he needed a warm hat to battle the bitter Chicago winter on his bike. Enter the Army Earflap Cap.

army earflap cap

I really like this pattern. I substituted Brown Sheep Lambs Pride Bulky for the Misty Alpaca to make a sturdy man-version of the Interweave Knits pattern. While knitting, I discovered that the increases on the center back create a lace-like eyelet pattern. I'm into it. Dudes need more eyelets. Thankfully this hat doesn't have to be done until after the New Year.

We leave for our holiday travels tomorrow so I'm going to be busting it in order to finish these projects by next week. I wish you all luck with your gift knitting and I hope you all have a fantastic holiday!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

That's How We Do

I've been so busy with school lately that all of my knitting time comes in 20 minute spurts. After that, I'm overcome with guilt and must get back to my death grip on the semester. Couple that with the miles of brown ribbing I'm churning out and my knitting life seems to be rather lack luster. However, now that the semester is almost over, I allowed myself to sit and knit a project from start to finish.


I needed a gift for an exchange at work, so I decided to knit a hat. Unlike my usual M.O., this hat has color, stripes and the illest reindeer you've ever seen.


How 'bout we see that one more time.

That's right. Can you say dope?

I love this hat so much, I didn't even mind weaving in the mounds of ends.

loose ends

I asked Andrew to model it for me:



The hat fits perfectly, which kind of sucks because it grew substantially after blocking. We'll see what it looks like when it dries. If it's still huge, I'm bringing the world's most bad ass tea cozy to the company holiday party.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


I spent about 30 hours silkscreening this weekend in order to get ready for my semester critique. A responsible blogger would have photographed the process so they could share it with the fiber-obsessed of the world. This blogger on the other hand, has failed you. I apologize. I was spending so much time trying to line up my screens, mixing colors that would transfer well and cleaning up gallons of spilled ink that my camera did not make it into the equation.

I do have more pictures of this, though:


It's snow. 'Bout six inches of the stuff. I'm still amused by it, but slightly intimidated by what six inches of snow before the start of winter could mean.


This is the corner of my house. I don't think I've ever seen an icicle that big before. It's practically a weapon!

Thankfully, my winter reading has started to arrive in the mail:

winter reading

I think you all recognize Zimmerman's Knitter's Almanac which is filled with awesome patterns and prose for the snowed in, and what's the holiday season without
Critical Art Ensemble's Flesh Machine:Cyborgs, Designer Babies and New Eugenic Consciousness? It's practically the new The Night Before Christmas.

As far as knitting goes, there's not much exciting progress here. I was able to knit on the second sleeve of the Zipped Raglan for a few hours last night and was pleased with how much knitting gets done when you actually, well, knit. I've been looking at other patterns and I'm afraid I may have to detatch the first sleeve from the body in order to knit a few more inches on the fronts and back of the sweater. I knit it to the length of the XL size, but it still seems like it may be about 3-4 inches too short.

I told you about the scarves my mom knit me:

scarves from mom

They're knit in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino and I think they are the most wonderful things I own. Funny how that works sometimes.

I knit a swatch for the army earflap hat using a double strand of malabrigo:

malabrigo swatch

The origional pattern calls for chunky weight yarn whereas malabrigo is definately a standard worsted weight. The versions of this hat I've seen using a single strand makes a hat that looks almost unwearable, it's so small. Trouble is, a double strand works up to 3.75 sts/inch. it would be easy to adjust the pattern to make up for this if it told you at any point how many stitches around it is. i think i may just knit the hat as is and revel in the wooly gigantic-ness of it. if nothing else, it'll be amusing disastor which is always good blog fodder.

Anyway, keep warm and fed wherever you are and have a swell day.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

First Signs of Encroaching Winter

I hope you all had a fantastic holiday, I certainly did. My family came up and we sat around for almost a week straight, knitting, eating and playing cards. I traded my mom the pastel ball of mountain goat for a few additions to my sportweight alpaca stockpile and I received not one, but TWO handknit scarves for my birthday (which is in march, but she made up for it by doubling the bounty).

I made progress on my zipped raglan. Even though it's nowhere near finished, I'm okay with it. Unfortunately I spent all morning writing a paper, so the light outside kind of sucks for taking pictures, so we'll just have to look at a picture from Thanksgiving morning:


That, my friends, is real live snow. Now, many of you who live in colder climates could give a damn about a few flakes of snow, but I, a transplanted southerner, was enamoured with the powdery stuff. Yes, it snows in the south sometimes, but it's much more like lumpy rain than bonafide snow. I'm sure that in my eighth month of winter I'll be less impressed with snow, but for now it sure is pretty. Well, it would be if it hadn't melted the next day.

And look! Jill likes it:


Likes/ Hates; Terror/ Tomato.

I bought the new Son of a Stitch n Bitch this weekend and I am absolutely enthused! Who would have guessed that non-ugly/tacky/dorky men's knitwear patterns existed? I really did find like twelve things I want to make.

Oh by the way, Thumbs down to interweave knits for leaving out even the perfunctory men's pattern in the winter issue. Yes we get it. Women knit. Men can check back in 6 months to see if there's something available then.

Oh well. At least Debbie Stoller's got my back.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I've been on a crash course, heading straight into the end of the semester for the past few weeks. Crit week is 13 days away and I've been in the studio cranking out as much work as possible. I still have a long way to go, but I'll get there.


The sleeve for the zipped raglan is just about done. I want to knit it a few inches longer so it will cover my long monkey arms, but that won't take any time at all. I was really hoping to get this sweater finished by Thanksgiving, but that may not be entirely possible. My entire family is coming from Hotlanta to visit us next week, so hopefully I'll be able to get all of the knitting on the sweater done before school starts the next Monday.

I bought some yarn for my winter hat today to replace the Mountain Goat of easter egg brilliance.


It's malabrigo and the shade is called Autumn forest (224). While yes, it's varigated, the colors are so muddy one would be hardpressed to call it unmanly. I need to find a good pattern for it. I'm thinking the Army Girl Earflap Hat from Interweave knits. (I really tried to get the link to work and it was ugly. Trust me.) Mine, however will just be the Army Earflap Hat, 'cause that's how I roll. I need to knit a swatch to see if I should double my yarn or not. I really don't want to have to buy new needles, but I may just have to bite the bullet.

What will happen with the Mountain Goat, you ask? I think it'll end up being a pair of socks for my mom. We'll see if I can knit a pair in the 8 days between the end of the semester and Christmas. Oh the joys of holiday knitting.

Speaking of the holidays, I bought some ornaments for our first Christmas in Chicago.


They're made out of what I assume to be tiny gourds. The owl belongs to Andrew and this one is mine:

wild-eyed panda

That is a wild-eyed panda if I ever saw one.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Crunch Time

Hey y'all! So, for the past three weeks I've been busting it in the studio, trying to get ready for a show on Sunday and finish some entries for a few film festivals. While I like to consider myself a relatively laidback kind of guy, when I have deadlines, I'm more of a wild-eyed, don't know if I'm gonna knife ya or cry kinda guy.

I will post some pictures after the show so we can all look, discuss, and determine if I'd be more suited to a career in the sitting at home and watching The People's Court industry.
Until then, I have this:


These are some t-shirts I've been dyeing for a project in May. There are 30lbs of 'em in 7 colors. While most every 12 year old can successfully dye a t-shirt, it took me three tries to get it right. Three freaking times. You would think that with all of my experience dyeing wool and reading about fiber that I would have been smart enough to realize that the dye I was using was acid dye and not cellulose-reactive dye. Hmmm. Strike one.

At least while I waited for each load of [7(colors)x3(dye failures)=loser] to wash and dry, I knit the sleeve of my Zipped Raglan. I would be able to show you said sleeve if I hadn't left it in my studio. Strike two.
However, I can show you guys the beautiful yarn I bought months ago to make my winter hat:

mountain goat

See that? My colorblind ass thought that was grey. If I knit a hat out of that, I'll look like a freaking easter egg. That's right, strike three. Damn.

So let's recap. Colorblind artist can't figure out why he can't dye cotton with wool dye on the first two tries. Thank god I love Judge Joe Matthus.

Friday, October 12, 2007

What Homework?

Like I said, I've been fitting knitting time in whenever possible, which is completely unlike me. I'm normally a very lazy knitter who prefers to read blogs, buy yarn and plan sweaters 3 years in advance. This is everything I've been knitting for the past few weeks:

I was caught downtown a few days ago in a t-shirt in fifty degree weather, necessatating a store bought sweater. I bought one on my break that looks like something i would knit myself, except it was missing elbow patches, so I knit some:

elbow patch

The patches are knit out of knitpicks telemark on size 2 needles. I haven't had time to block them and sew the suckers on, but all in good time.

I'm knitting a scarf on the train:


This scarf is really killing my fragile knitter ego. First of all, the yarn is beautiful, soft and spongey. Run it through my grubby man-hands and it becomes snagged, pilled and hairy. I'm trying to compensate by handling it more gently, but that results in really ugly stitches. It kind of looks like I was knitting baby cables. The best I can hope for at this point is a bohemian look. Le sigh.

I started knitting Major from Rowan. Well, kind of. I had to use a completely different pattern due to Rowan's really awful sizing issues and worse schematics. I'll add the details from the origional pattern to a sweater sized for a human being and all will be well.


*Note: Please ignore the awful lighting. I knit this in my studio, where natural light is only spoken about in rumor. That also explains why I've only knit 5 inches of the back of a sweater knit on size 17 needles. Don't judge me. I do plan on passing this semester.

I'm still knitting the zipped raglan. I finished the body and have started a sleeve. I'm knitting the smallest size, but I knit it to the length of the large. This may be finished one day. I'm aiming for Thanksgiving. Please do not hold back ridicule if the end of November comes and I have a body and half of a sleeve knit. Be cruel, otherwise how am I ever going to learn?

sweater deck

And a sleeve:


Sunday, October 7, 2007

Knitting like a Mofo

Now that I've decided that I'm knitting for the shear pleasure of it, I'm knitting everywhere and everything that will sit still long enough for me to wrap it around a needle. I have a project to knit on the train, one for when I'm waiting at the dentist, or what have you, one to work on while I dub videos, one for my studio when I want to feel productive and one for when I watch tv at home.
Wow, that may be a little excessive, as I'm sure that several of those could be consolidated. No matter. I will show pictures when I have a second and some decent lighting. Until then, be good and fruitfull and all of that.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Old School

I spent my day Monday dubbing betamax masters (who here remembers beta?). This process involves some initial set up and then watching several hours of footage, making sure that the audio levels and the video synch up, etc. I figured that it would be most industrious to knit while I kept an eye on the video. The footage was from the 1970 National Woman's Day Women's Liberation Rally and it was really fantastic!

There was an interview with a man on the street where the camera person questioned this young fellow's views on feminism and liberation, where it was determined that the man not only cooks and cleans for his female roommates, but they had also taught him how to sew the patches on his jeans. I have a feeling that this gentleman has gone on to do well with the ladies.

I wonder how many of these activists ever dreamed that 40 years later, a man would sit in a studio, watching and preserving the footage from these rallies, marches and performances, while knitting socks.


Right on.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Zen. Well, Not Yet

I found a copy of Bernadette Murphy's Zen and the Art of Knitting in a used book store the other day (as well as A Guide for the Jewish Homemaker from 1956, which I also bought, but I digress). It's been my subway reading for the past week or so and I must say, it is enthralling. For the past few years I've definatly been what one could call a product knitter. I stress over how well I can knit something and how fast it gets done. No matter how fat the yarn is or how simple the pattern, I always find myself racing for the finish line with white knuckles and my naturaly colorful dialect erupting from between my cleched and grinding teeth. Either that, or I abandon a project in the second half if it's not going as fast as I want it to.

I realized this morning that it's been 10 days since my last post (horrors!) and how while I've been knitting, I didn't have much to show for it. I found my sweater stopped halfway through a row and on the first row of a new stripe. While this would normally infuriate me to no end (I'm a really laid back guy, I just seem to have some completely misdirected yarn rage issues) I just picked it up to finish my row and and continued worrying about the fact that in just two years I would be jobless, and 100k in the hole. When I noticed that I was knitting a sweater out of $15 balls of wool while stressing about money, I laughed. Hard.

I looked at my big pile o' wool and wondered how I was able to afford all of the yarn for this sweater when three years ago I considered buying lambspride a luxury. I remembered that Andrew bought me a ball for our first Valentines Day, and I bought three more in the same color with a gift certificate I got for my birthday. Two balls came from a day I aced a Botany exam and so on.
While normally I try to avoid the corny, the wistful and the hopeful, I had an ephiphany. A lot of small steps go a long way. My knitting will get done. My work will get done. The house cleaning probably won't get done ( let's be honest here).

Okay. that being said, Here's where I'm at on the sweater:


Here's the yarn:


Oh knitting, you are wise and have many lessons to teach us.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I finally have a minute to post after my first week of school, and sadly, the knitting is not very impressive. I've knit a few rounds on the sock and about 2 inches on the body of the sweater. I think I may need to get into gear because Fall is pretty much here in the windy city. I know those of you who live in the colder regions of this fine planet may scoff, but I'm from the South and when the weather drops below 60F, I start mentally cataloging my woolen goods and whether or not I have something for each of my extremities. I know that it's going to get a lot colder, I'm just saying.

But for now, the weather is awesome! To prove it, here is a picture of where I've been whiling away my former knitting time:


Pretty great, huh? Here's my little corner of it:


While it may not look very stimulating, I'm so freaking excited that I have a studio so I don't have to search for clean socks amidst a mountain of spot lights, electrical cords and surgical supplies (don't ask).

If you look in the corner of my table ( mere feet from my freaking sweet new computer) you will see a pair of socks that probably wants to be finished. In due time, I'm sure. Until then, there is work to be done.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Long Time No See

So this past week was orientation and the beginning of school. I seem to have forgotten how to blog in all of the excitement. I also got interviewed and got a kick ass job this week, which is good, because it was getting to the point that we were going to have to start eating the stash. The cats were extremely happy that it didn't come to that. In honor of the start of school and work, I started a new project.


It's the Men's Zipped Raglan from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. The color is 108 and the picture looks nothing like the actual color, which is grey and brown, not blue. I wish I had some yarn the color of that picture, though. I'm really digging the knitting. It's going fast and easy. It's slightly combersome because I'm being a good knitter and alternating balls of yarn.

The real reason I'm using two balls is because I ripped half of the yarn from a previous sweater that I am glad only exists in my veiled memories. The old yarn is slightly thinner because I washed it and wound the balls tightly. I'm ok with this. As long as I knit from a new ball and an old ball at all times everything will even out, right? I also like knitting the whole thing in one piece. It soothes my mind into believing that I will actually have this finished by the time it's cool enough to wear it.


While I was photographing the sweater I took the liberty of shooting one of my favorite statues.

quan yin

This is Quan Yin. She is the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy and Compassion. I collect idols of all kinds and she is one of my favorites and by far the biggest (she's 4 feet of solid concrete. You do the math, a lady never declares her weight). Namaste, y'all.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Just Waiting

* Note: please excuse repeat photos. I've been knitting a stockinette sock that looks just like the one that came before it, so I'm showing you yarn for upcoming projects. If you've seen it before, color me embarrassed. End Note*

I bought mounds of yarn to knit sweaters for winter and I can't wait to start them! Just a few small problems. First of all, I ordered needle tips but forgot to order extra needle cables. They will be coming in the mail sometime soon so I can start my knitting escapades. As some of you may know, I've owed Andrew a sweater for years. I started Bob Dobbs for him, and unfortunately I'm not picking that up again for a while.


I have enough Rowan Big Wool to knit him a certain cardigan that he picked out, but again, there are complications. For some wholly unknown reason, Rowan men's patterns are designed for the truly gigantic. The small chest measurement (not finished mind you, just flesh and bone girth) is 40" around. Andrew's chest measures in at a whopping 32" around. The finished measurement on the size small sweater he picked out is something like 46" around. That would make 14 inches of ease. I know the fat yarn eats up some of that, but seriously?
I'm debating ordering the handy book of sweater patterns so I can replicate the cardigan shape and just add the details from the Rowan Book. While I do enjoy the challenge of refiguring a pattern with ye olde calculator and graph paper, Rowan schematics also leave something to be desired. If they didn't make such awesome yarn...


I'm also going to knit a cardigan from last minute knits. While I haven't found the sleeve errata yet, I'm sure it won't take long to set my self straight on that pattern.

soft tweed

My winter knitting will be a fair isle cardigan from Rowan in soft tweed. Again, the Rowan sweater construction has let me down a bit. Who wants to knit a fair isle raglan flat? Seriously. I'm going to try knitting it in the round then steeking it. 6 months from now when I've completely ruined a poorly fitting, ugly sweater that would have been perfect if I would have just followed the pattern, I may consider taking back my harsh words.

Friday, August 17, 2007

1 Out of 2 Ain't Bad

I finished one of the socks yesterday and cast on or the second. This is how it looks:

socktavia sockerson

I'm a big fan of the long leg. My feet are really big so my socks generally look kinda wonky when the foot is about a third longer than the leg. These are pretty fantastic though. We'll see if I have enough yarn to knit the second sock. If not, I'll just sub mint green for the rest of the foot.

In other news, I got my school I.D. today and look more than adequately dorky in the photo. I've also been touring my new fair city and scouting out the specialty stores that will both horrify my mother as well as supply me with art materials for the next two years. Oh, big city living is the life for me.


sockophelia sockerson

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


I've been knitting. I finished the Alpaca scarf in just a few days, and I must say, I'm a fan of the pattern.


It's misti alpaca chunky in a mistake rib pattern on size 9 needles. I really like how this turned out on in a solid color. I think I'll use it to knit my dad a scarf for christmas. This one is going out to my dear friend Joe who does many wonderful things for me like waxing my unibrow without asking first. Friends like that deserve to be protected from the cold.


Friday, August 10, 2007

I'm Back

I know it's been a few weeks, but I just got my internet connected today. I have hours of blog reading to catch up on.
Let's begin! The move was a success! Well I guess that as long as I left there and I'm here now, like most moves, I was successful. I'm freaking in love with my new digs and my surrounding area. Let's take a walking tour of my neighborhood, shall we?

Closest and possibly most important, there is yarn.


The closest yarn shop is a grueling walk across the street and 20 feet up the sidewalk. No lie. It's a small shop but it's filled with really nice yarn. More on that later.

Next up we have this:


Nice, right?

Right outside the door of the tattoo shop is some public art.


That is some genuine crocheted graffiti.

A few blocks up on the left is Boystown, home of some of the best leather shops in the country.


A long haul over to Lincoln Park and we find my bretheren.


I have a thing about giraffes. They're tall, I'm tall etc. Like I said, it's a thing. And this fella lives in a free zoo 2 miles from my house. It's kismet.

While it not exactly within walking distance, there's a botanica a short bus ride away.


Sigh. It feels like home already.

I have been knitting. When I went to the yarn shop I bought some Alpaca on mad sale.
I'm knitting a scarf for a friend.


I'm so glad to be settled and can't wait to get some intense pre-autumn knitting.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Out Like Trout in a Drought, Y'all

It's 8:30am on Moving day and I'm stoked! This is the most chilled out, or at least cheerful I've ever been on moving day. Am I packed? Nope. Is the house clean? Pshaw. Do I have any idea of what's staying or going? Uh-uh. Maybe it's just delirium, or maybe I'm just so excited to be out of here nothing is gonna stand in my way. It's a very Mary Tyler Moore show moment. I will be without the Internet for about a week so I will miss you all terribly. I will post as soon I get around some wireless cloud action. We're gonna make it after all.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


So I thought it would be really fun to pack my yarn, organize it and reminisce about projects of yore. Turns out that packing my stash is really depressing. I saw a picture online of a woman's destash efforts once. There were hundreds of plastic grocery bags filled with yarn on two folding tables. I always said to myself that I wouldn't let it get that far.
Well, I may not have a metric ton of wool, But I have much more than I'm comfortable with. I filled two giant rubbermaid tubs with yarn. While that may not sound like a lot, one of those is filled completely by ends and partial balls left over from other projects. What the hell am I going to do with 35lbs (I weighed it, AND remembered to subtract the weight of the empty container) of half-used skeins? I feel like I just binged on an entire apple pie and chocolate cake and now I have to live with nausea and self hatred.
Oh well. I also found this!


It's an apron I had made for an installation last year. The outside is red-orange vinyl with white trim and the inside is lined with a grey sheepskin. It's freaking beautiful. I can say that modestly because I didn't sew it and I totally forgot that I had it. I'm hoping I'll find a good use for it.

In knitting news, I've been working on the sock as a packing avoidance tactic. Andrew used Harry Potter. So we're pretty much screwed.


The heel is knit with the same yarn as the leg I dyed in a mint green color. I used a strand of grey lace weight mohair as the reinforcement and I think it lends the whole sock a Grinch Who Stole Christmas feel.


I like how the red borders the green.

I hope y'all have a wonderful day. I'm gonna pack.