I am knitting a sock and right now, it seems to be the one connecting factor in my life.
I can knit a stitch at home. I can knit a stitch at the theater. I can kitchener in the car. (I’m rather proud of that last fact, actually)
I’ve been listening to the podcast Cast On, and as usual, it puts me into a slightly superior self-analyzing mode that lasts for about 3 seconds. However, it kickstarted my brain and today, for once, I’ve had enough time to process everything. And knit. Just some simple stockinette with some rainbowy yarn that I rather like. My muscles and brain have relaxed and my breathing rate is mellow. When I think “oh, wait, I need to–” I realize that I don’t really have anything urgent that I need to worry about. At least until tomorrow.
I wear different faces with different people. I think acting in the play has helped me realize just how often I do this. When I talk to the elderly gentleman at my church that still thinks of me as a little girl, I’m cheerful, kind and loud-he’s rather deaf–and that is a character. But what acting doesn’t do is tell me when the line ends, where my characters stop and where I begin. It can make me feel fragmented and sometimes afraid that I don’t even know who I am. But knitting is a constant. It doesn’t offend anyone. It’s simple. It’s basic. It’s like a touchstone and it helps.
And that’s good, because things are only going to get crazier from here on out. Because next week, Anne of Green Gables opens. But also, I landed a role in another play. A Shakespearan play. The Tempest, to be exact. And I will be playing Miranda Even as I typed that, my chest tightened up slightly. When I auditioned, I didn’t expect a major role. It would be my second play and to be frank, my role in AOGG is rather minor.
If I didn’t care, it would be easier. If I didn’t care so much about doing a good job, I could just shrug it off. But I do care, very much so. I think it comes from my writing, actually. As a writer and a long-time reader, it has always been the people that fascinated me. As such, I’m intensely careful when dealing with another person’s characters. I’m scared. Deathly terrified, actually. I want to crawl under a rock and hide there for about two months. But I am so glad. Because I need this. I need to be able to put myself out there and fail. Or flub, or be imperfect.
But with knitting, it doesn’t matter. I have the ultimate control over my knitting and I’m not afraid. It helps form a core that lets me venture past my boundaries. I suppose that’s why I almost immeaditely wound up this Wollmeise yarn. I am knitting Ishbel with it. Or, if it doesn’t work out, I can frog the shawl and knit knee-socks with it; it doesn’t matter. It’s my choice and while I move into new spheres, I’m clutching a pair of needles and a ball of yarn in one hand.
F5. F5. F5.
It was a dark and stormy night.
Somewhere, far away in Germany, a dyer uploaded her inventory.
And all hell broke loose.
That’s the essence of a Wollmeise yarn update. Since Claudia has gone to unannounced updates, her dedicated fans spend most of their weekend stalking her website and hoping for an update. I’m not sure how unannounced updates are supposed to help with the drama. It’s taking disappointed customers and adding a side of sleep deprivation to the mix. However, I want to try this myself sometime, just because I think it would be a novel experience to buy yarn from the single most hyped yarn dyer right now.
I did, however, a little yarn stalking myself, but it wasn’t Wollmeise. It was the Sanguine Gryphon.
I’ve been reading her blog for a long time now. Her posts are usually crammed with pictures of freshly dyed yarn which she sells on her website. I never bought from her–and then I heard about Bugga. It’s a 70% merino, 20% cashmere, 10% nylon sock yarn and all the colorways are inspired by..bugs! I heard all this hype about it, and so I determined that I would try it. I managed to get my hands on a skein of bright tomato red and it was everything that I dreamed about it. Soft, intensely vibrant colors-it was amazing.
However, the updates were already feverish. I didn’t want to assume that I could get this yarn anytime, so I marked down the next update on my list. She posted the colorways that she was updating on her blog, and a few new ones.
I fell in love with the color and the name of one of the new ones–Blue Arsed Fly. Yes, that is an actual bug.
The update time was 8:00. A Ravelry friend, craftinginsanity, commented on my red Bugga socks. We messaged back and forth and voila! She revealed that she had some yarn money burning a hole in her pocket, so she marked down the time, too. She fell in love with the Blue Arsed Fly as well.
When the update happened, it was all reflex. I hit the ‘add to cart’ button. I refreshed my way through the numerous error 500 screens. And finally, finally-I got to Paypal and I got my yarn.
My pictures do terrible justice to a stunning skein of yarn. Deep blue that treads that fine line between blue and purple–turquoise, silver-blue–all melded into one fat, squishy skein of yarn.
I almost hesitate to blog about this because since that last update, Sanguine Gryphon is temporarily switching her methods until she can get a sturdier website. She’s using a lottery method. She posts the list of available colorways that week. You can choose up to two skeins in any of the colorways, and you post in the specific thread in the Ravelry group. After 24 hours, she closed it, and randomly picked 50 winners. I thought it worked very well, and it’s a great temporary measure until the new website.
This skein, along with another (shhh) that I traded my soul to get, is going to become part of my new, highly ambitious sock project—but that will come later!
That, my friends, is my very first hand-dyed yarn. I’m not sure why I didn’t try this before, but I think it was my stubborn refusal to try kool-aid dyeing. It’s not like it’s expensive. I just disliked the idea of spending all that time to dye something-with a ‘fake’ dye. Stupid, I know.
Orginally, it was two skeins of Peace Fleece worsted in a pale cream color. Half a packet of Cushings Natural Perfection dye later–color plum–I have two skeins of amazingly beautiful yarn.
Oh, and one of the reasons (aside from life, you know) that I haven’t been blogging as much is because ZOMG! I auditioned for and got a part in my first ever play, Anne of Green Gables. NO, I didn’t get Anne, and I didn’t try out for her. Despite the fact that I have read the books and pretty much everything else by Lucy Maud Montegomery, I’m not a huge fan of her heroines. They are all perfect, wickedly intelligent, sylph-like in their starry-eyed beauty and generally nosy, too. However, I like the story and I wanted a chance to act.
The first night of auditions was pretty nerve-wracking. You have to understand that while I am at the relatively ancient age of 18, I’ve never been in a play before. I have family members that have been in theater. That was my extent of my experience with theater. The large, slightly-stuffy room was packed with girls, little and old, and about 80% wanted to be Anne. I’ve never seen so many girls with red or reddish hair before in one place.
I started to relax as the audition continued. I don’t mean to sound like I have a heart of coal, but many of the girls were just flat out awful. They read mechanically and with very little flare. I was trying out for Diana, Josie, or Prissy Andrews. By the end of the evening, I knew there were only about three ‘Annes’ that had a chance.
By the second night, there were just two, and I was one of the remaining girls auditioning for Diana.
I was reassured by the presence of a younger girl that was crocheting during the auditions. I know her through some of the plays that she’s acted in with the Artist, and she’s very nice. My crochet skills are practically non-existent, but it was nice to watch, especially since I forgot one of my DPNs that first audition and couldn’t knit.
After the second audition had ended, I knew that I had lost the part of Diana. My own sister, the Artist? She nailed the infamous drunk scene out of the park and so I felt a little bit better about not getting it. I mean, the director didn’t say that she had gotten the role, not yet, but I could tell by her face. We would be called that very same night if we got a role.
At home, waiting by the telephone, I was so nervous that my teeth ached. If I hadn’t gotten Diana, would I get either of the other two parts that I had wanted? Finally, it rang, and confirmed my thoughts. The Artist got Diana-she handed me the phone.
“We would like to offer you the role of Priscilla Andrews.”
My heart jumped and I said YES. Oh, it’s a deliciously funny role and I was so relieved. To get a part, the first time that I tried out? It was amazing.
The Peace Fleece actually ties into the play. If you’re at all familar with the story or the movie, Prissy Andrews has a major crush on her teacher, Mr. Philips. The guy that got the role of Mr. Philips is way more experienced in theater than I am, and so far has been a perfect doll to someone that is brandnew to the whole thing. We had a few rehearsals under our belts and I found out his favorite color: purple.
So, the purple Peace Fleece is being turned into an Irish Hiking Scarf for ‘Mr. Philips’. I only have a few inches done, but I’ll keep you updated on the scarf and the play!
I think I’ve found my Wollmeise.
By that, I mean I think I’ve found the yarn that makes me mindlessly want to buy every single color, to sell my soul for another skein, to blather mindlessly about its awesomeness to anyone who will–or won’t–listen. It’s Bugga sock yarn, from the Sanguine Gryphon. A merino, cashmere nylon blend, Bugga comes in colorways inspired by bugs and well, this one is called Tomato Frog.
It’s squishy and soft. The colors are amazing. I adore it. Look at the way the cables pop.
I think I will be knitting even more socks than usual, and I’ll update soon to say why!
I’ve been using the same bag for..oh, I think the past two years. It’s really boring and cost $10 at Wal-Mart. The lining is ripped, it’s dowdy and ugly. So I finally decided I wanted a new knitting bag. I ran across a woman on ravelry who makes the cutest little knitting bags you’ve ever seen.
Her shop is emoknitter.etsy.com. I liked them so much that I created a Ravelry fan group, which you can check out for shop updates and–psss—there’s a special today for group members, so you may want to join! I don’t get kickbacks for writing this, either. She’s great for customwork as well, including these cute patchwork bags.
But, on to the actual bag porn. These are small little bags perfect for socks, and they’re all adorable. I can’t wait to carry my socks-in-progress in something that’s actually cute.
The Spyrograph bag–I love this one the most because I played with spyrographs as a kid
The Sunflower Jessica bag
There’s nothing so sweet as revenge–unless it’s beating a case of second sock syndrome.
Pattern: Spring Forward
I’ve mentioned before that I moderate the largest teen group on Ravelry, which has recently passed 600 members. This means that along with the ordinary drudgery that comes with moderating, I can plan the fun stuff, too! For this February, I put together a very simple Valentines Swap. The minimum was $5. You send candy and a card, that’s it.
It wasn’t a secret swap, and when there ended up being an uneven amount of people, I took two partners. That picture is the package I just got from my partner and very good friend Bonnie! (She’s actually coming to visit in March, which will make it my first Ravelry friend to meet IRL)
That awesome pink hat is Misti Alpaca chunky and it is so cuddly and soft. I want to hug it to myself and never let it go. It’s seriously awesome. And almond M&Ms? I’ve never SEEN them before and they’re awesome!
So treasure your knitting friends. They can give you not only chocolate, but gifts from their own hands. Including hot pink hats.
Anyone that feels like a bit of poking about knows that I’m part of the Knitters for Obama group on Ravelry. I’m not hugely active in the forums, but when a new charity project was started, I felt that I had to join. Here’s a brief summary of what it’s about, and a link to the actual thread.
- Hi everyone!
The mods are very happy to announce that our own dear Willietattoos has arranged our next charity project. We will be knitting and crocheting for the Mattaponi native american tribe. As many of you know, there is a staggering amount of poverty and need among many native american tribes.The Mattaponi tribe lives in Eastern Virginia, and for some unknown reason are not recognized as an official tribe and therefore do not receive federal funding. This is shocking considering that the tribe was here before the first European settlers arrived in the 1600s!
They have a health clinic, but there is chronic, heartbreaking need.
The post goes on to outline what kind of knitted items are needed, and what kinds of colors, etc.
The yarn is required to be superwash. I don’t really have an abundance of charity-knitting appropriate yarn, because 99.9% of my stash requires handwashing. I mentioned this without thinking, and later that same day, a Raveler by the name of charleebear contacted me. It was the perfect swap. She wanted to participate, but was unable to knit something—I wanted to to knit, but didn’t have the yarn. So she bundled up a packet of superwash yarn.
(As a side note: if anyone else would like to knit for this charity but does not own the appropriate yarn OR, if you own appropriate yarn but can’t knit right now, there’s a note at the top of that thread to contact blackbunny, who is arranging these things. I didn’t go this route, but that’s just because I didn’t notice–and it worked out anyway!)
That rather simplistic striped tube up there is made from Missions Fall 1824 wool, and it’s actually one of what is going to be a pair of leggings, one of the specific requests the Mattaponi tribe made. (It’s 36 stitches, 2 by 1 rib, and 12 inches long: it would fit a child up to about 10 years, I’d say) I’m going to make a second pair from these two colors. The Mattaponi wanted rich, earthy, bright colors, not washed out pastels, and I have to admit, it’s a lot more fun to knit with these colors than with baby blue or pink.
The deadline is late April and the first legging took a very short time to knit. So I’m very hopeful that I’ll be able to turn these two skeins of Regia into some cute socks for the tribe, as well. I’m assuming that they’ll get a lot of baby-sized items, so I want these to be a full-sized pair of socks, probably to fit a woman or teenager.
But charleebear didn’t stop at sending just yarn for charity. She very sweetly tucked in two skeins of a lovely merino sock yarn from Spirit Trails Fiberworks for me. It feels heavier than fingering and the colors make me instantly think of a sunset, or the pavement-searing, blood-warming heat of summer. It’s 400 yards of lovely yarn, and it was incredibly generous of her to put together this package.
One of my friends, Jen, is doing a wonderful thing on her blog, The Sarah Winchester of Fiber Arts. She is giving away stash, people—to raise money to raise awareness and education about multiple sclerosis. Yes, this is her very own stash. Donate $5, and you’re eligible to win yarn from Handmaiden to Malabrigo. That is what I call sacrifice. Here’s the original post with more information, posed in a much more eloquent way than I’ve presented it to you. I’m just gaping at her generosity.
HOWEVER, any knitter knows that other knitters just don’t like to be left out of some good old-fashioned charity. Rita, a talented indie dyer behind Castle Fibers, is donating some special limited edition sock yarn, and Jen’s personal friend Tia is donating 15 skeins of sock yarn for a special raffle for those that donate $100 or more.
The new goal is $1,500, people—and let’s face it, how many times do you get the chance to get yarn for doing a good deed? I’ll answer that: very few. So if you have an extra $5, or $10 or even more that you can donate, head over to Jen’s blog, and make yourself and others feel very, very good!
I can’t actually post pictures of my current knitting project, because it’s a surprise for the recipient. So look at these beautiful pictures of yarn in the meantime.
That, my darlings, is a skein of Malabrigo sock yarn in the Eggplant colorway. It doesn’t have quite that exact blue undertone that you’re seeing in these pictures, but it is in fact, purple, a fact that doesn’t come through in most pictures. For some reason, this colorway tends to photograph as grayish-brown. It’s really a deep, subtle purple shot with a few strands of lighter purple and at a quick glance, can look almost black in certain lights. It is exceptionally beautiful, exceptionally squishy, and I want to cast on for a pair of socks RIGHT NOW.
I am refraining from doing so, however, because I must finish my sekrit knitting project first. Once it’s no longer a secret, I’ll post pictures because it is very beautous. Let me just say that after knitting with fingering weight on size 0s, I’m rocketing through this project that uses sportweight and size 3 needles.