Tuesday, March 27, 2007

It's getting x-rated over here.

Warning, longest post ever, which makes me think I should post in shorter chunks more often.

What a trip! It was fabulous, people. I visited yarn shops, I went to hear the Harlot talk, I saw lots of knitters wearing their beautiful handmade goods, I ate good food. People were not lying when they said the Yarn Harlot was funny. I felt like I got two hours of free knitting-related stand up (if by "free" we mean the cost of a plane ticket). And she was right on point with the totally silly and unsubstantiated stereotypes non-knitters have about us. Like we're all socially inept and have no friends and nothing better to do so we knit. "Ha!", I laughed, eyes shifting nervously, "those crazy, crazy non-knitters. You so silly, you non-knitting, not-knowing-anything-about-me peoples, you," I continued, tiny bead of sweat running down my face. Crazy plastered-on grin, "no social life, soooo ridiculous!" And I'm sure you'll agree, and kindly not point out that I'm writing this on a Friday night.

On the down side, JerseyKnits, who I was supposed to meet but never actually got together with, did not ask the Harlot to sign her boobs, as far as I could see. And being the punk that I am, I didn't ask either. I had earlier suggested, both of us lacking in the boobal region (self-described! don't yell at me), that it might require all four of our booblets to get "Stephanie Pearl-McPhee" completely spelled out. But it seems it was not to be, and I find this disappointing for two reasons. One, I think it would have been hilarious to ask a knitting star to sign out boobs. And two, I was feeling a little boob-deprived. You would think I had gotten enough in South Africa, where by all measures, I saw about enough black breasts to lasts 17 straight guys' dreams for 17 years (17 is my number these days, I've counted about 17 thousand things as being "17" lately). So many breasts that by the end of the 17th "Festival of Topless 'Virgins'" (virgins, whatever you say) me and my group barely batted an eye. But no. And so I was disappointed.

Speaking of boobs (breasts have now become a recurring theme in this blog), let me offer you an example of what not to knit if you love your boobs. So there was a lot of hullabaloo about how Twinkle's new book Big City Knits had all these finished garments in it the chest circumference of the average person's head (like 22") in it. People were all worked up, "why can't we get away from anorexia as sexy" and so forth and so on. But the idea is supposed to be that knits stretch (I think we know this is true) and that chunky knits stretch even more. Okay, I decided to try it out. I'm a 34" bust. I swatched, I gauged (3.5 sts/inch), and I knit a vest at a 25" circumference. Which brings me to The Uniboob.

Cower with fear! The Uniboob sees all, with its giant darker-than-the-surrounding-area eye! Okay, maybe it's not so obvious in this pic, but trust me. It obviously fits, it obviously stretches, but it has to stretch so taut over the chest that there is not the slightest hint of a valley. Boo to that.

There are two pluses to this vest, though. First is the neckline, which I love. And the second is the back. Can you see it?

That's right. It says:

"Knitters are socially inept", ha! Proved them wrong, huh? Huh? Hello? Hey, no sass, or I'll sic the Uniboob on you! Anyway, I still remember the pattern, it's very basic, but I didn't write it out. Wasn't sure there'd be much demand for the Uniboob Vest.

So, back to the NY trip. I have to say I was kinda disappointed with the LYS I went to. I think I've been spoiled by my LYS (I love you, Loopy!), as I was generally not impressed, except with Seaport Yarns.

I went to Habu, which was all minimal and expensive, just like I expect a store of Japanese yarn to be. Really, the main room was just a beige mat in the center that had yarn on it, priced. That's it. There were benches along the wall, but you weren't allowed to sit on them. Then a tiny side room where everything was white and brown and priced by the ounce. Came away from there with nothing.

I visited Knitty City, which is a cute little store, but still more expensive than elsewhere. To be expected, I'm sure, as it's in Manhattan. What I wasn't expecting was for the Brooklyn store Knit-a-Way to be the most expensive of them all. Paton's Grace was $6.99! Cascade 220 was $7.99, the Plymouth chunky alpaca was $18, etc. And there were signs everywhere on how I was being monitored by security cameras. How can we pick out our murphies in such a place (not a word in your lexicon? check entry 2)? I didn't buy anything from either of these two stores.

I also went to School Products, which I was looking forward to because of their famous low prices for their own imports of cashmere and merino. But I swear, their cashmere and merino doesn't feel like the cashmere and merino I've felt before. It just doesn't feel as yummy, and I wasn't particularly excited about anything, so I didn't buy from there, either.

But Seaport Yarns was really fun. Just imagine an office suite, you know, reception desk, turn the corner, 4 or 5 offices down the hall, but instead of people working, every room and corridor is filled with yarn! I got lucky there, and after being disappointed elsewhere, made a second trip to this place. So from there I got these lovlies.

Blue Heron Rayon Metallic in "Water Hyacinth Copper" (a.k.a. "that's the spot") and Colinette Jitterbug in Marble

Aussie Wool (for friend to teach her to knit a hat), Louet Gems Pearl and Punta Del Este Mericash

The Mericash is exquisite, doesn't have any of that microfiber that the other "CashSomething" yarns have in them, and is nice and lofty. Cafe du Monde gloves, here I come!

But I was feeling all disappointed in my yarn field trips. I told the guy I was staying with that I thought the biggest yarn store, Webs, might be not too far. I saw it was a couple states away. I had my doubts, but he was like, nope, we can go, I'll drive. And he said this having a cast on his left arm. That's friendship, people ("friendship" is what we're calling it now). And so we went.

Look, people, look!

Webs has the biggest showroom I've seen for a yarn shop, but in addition to the showroom, there's a warehouse in back. A warehouse. Of yarn. A yarn warehouse. A large house, storing wares, which in this case, are all yarny. Eight long aisles of yarn goodness. And I cried, just a little.

And now to the Yarn P0rn that gives this post its X rating.

Louisa Harding Sari Ribbon and Webs' house brand Colrain (merino/tencel)

RYC Soft Lux in "Gigli" (whoever understands Rowan's naming practices?)

Rowan Chunky Print

Misti Alpaca Hand Dyed (alpaca makes me itch just a tiny bit, but in a "hurts so good" kind of way)

I will now let you all go take a cold shower. See you back here when you're decent.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Representing with the Harlot

Okay, quick post, no pics, just a note that I'll be in NYC from Wednesday evening to Sunday morning, representing with all the other knitters at the Yarn Harlot's book release. I haven't read any of her books and don't know that I ever will, since all of my for-fun reading is in sci-fi and mystery. But I think the concept of a bunch of knitters and crocheters walking all over the city and making noise is cool. Plus the ticket was real cheap, I always get free room and board in NYC, and it's my spring break.

Plans are being made around the internet, with knitters planning to stand outside the window at the Today Show. I will not be there as getting up at 5:30 to be in front of the window of a show I never watch on my break does not appeal to me, but more power to all of you who are doing it. There will be knitters meeting in Central Park, Strawberry Fields at noon with their socks, and I may or may not be there. There is an exhibit at the Museum of Arts and Design on Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting, and I won't be there, either since I don't get art (though I might be interested in any natural history museum around). But what I will definitely be doing is visiting some yarn stores, and Knit NYC and Seaport Yarn are on the must-visit list. So if anyone wants to tag along on Thursday or Friday to see one of these shops, I am more than happy for the company and someone to talk to about all the pretty yarn. Leave a comment or send me email or PM me on Knittyboard, KnittingHelp, or KnittersReview.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

She Had Dumps Like a Truck, Truck, Truck

Thighs like what, what, what. That's right, people, I'm talking about thongs. You might think after the ugly sun goddess, thong, and cursed sock incident that I'd be avoiding them, but I'm letting no one take away my thongs! And so I present to you, the knit thong:

And I'm going to tell you all right now, I wore the damn thing. That's right, 50% mohair content and all. And it felt good, so there! Whatever, doubt me, but you can't know until you try. People probably told Schaefer they were crazy for putting mohair in sock yarn. These are the most comfortable thong panties I've ever worn (probably cuz they're a little loose, admittedly), and I love 'em. and I look damn good in 'em, too!

Now, let me suggest that knit thongs be the new socks. Portable, fun and interesting construction, no seaming, and talk about quick. There's not much to a thong, people. Go ahead and try yours in a heavy machine washable sock yarn if you must, but you must try. Won't take you more than an evening, I guarantee. Pattern at Interweave Knits.

Now, this thong has brought along with it a chain of thoughts, and it goes like this. First, Knitters, stop being ashamed of your butts. I mean it, stop it right now! One thing growing up negro (good book title, huh? Growing Up Negro) gave me is a good appreciation of a decent sized butt. No more of this "oooh, this makes my butt look big" like it's a bad thing! No more, "I'm not knitting that skirt, it has a big ruffle that calls attention to your butt" and no more "triangle shawls make a big arrow that point to your butt, so I'm not knitting one". Love the butt, damnit! Guys do!

Second, this last reminded me of a good Korean friend of mine (you know who you are) who got teased and called "duck butt" cuz she has, what i think, is a cute little bubble butt in a land of buttlessness. Btw, my mother's nickname for me was, in fact, Ducky Butt. You love your butt, too!

And this in turn reminded me of a jewelry store owner I knew when I was in Korea. I visited his jewelry store often because, no need to mince words, he spoke English and I was lonely. This dude struck me as very gay, only he didn't seem to think so. I came into the store once and he said, "Nikki, I have a present for you" and proudly handed me photographs of himself. I kid you not. You know, one of those glamour shots type, and to top it all off, he had the studio insert little sparkly stars into his eyes in the picture. Yeah. So I asked him if he was gay once.

Me: So, um, are you gay?
Him: *placing hand against, presumably, fluttering heart* Me?! No! Why do you ask that?
Me: Well, you are wearing skin-tight black velvet pants.
Him: Oh, I can see how Americans would think that. But that's just the fashion here in Korea.
Me: *looking out of window onto crowded street, not seeing anybody in black velvet pants* Uh, okay.

And the glamour shot photo in turn reminds me of the one and only glamour shot photo I took. At my mother's request, with my hair straightened. For everyone who thinks my hair is really short, this is what it looks like straightened:

I do kinda like it, but getting this done (pressed, not permed) is painful and expensive, and I've gotten over the long-straight-hair-is-better thing that so many black women have had in them. So to Nikki (heehee, we have the same name), thank you for the compliment on the fro. And thanks to you too, Knitting Addict, for the compliment on my skin, though I must shamefully admit that you might be being deceived by the poor photography, as my skin is not all that great. I wish it was.

The hair thing reminds me of a movie I just saw on video, Something New. I friggin heart this movie. I was watching it at home and looking over my shoulder to see if there was indeed some scriptwriter taking notes on my life. Okay, not like me in all ways cuz I didn't grow up black bougie and I don't have a real job, but whatever.

And though none of these things reminds me of knitting, I think I should put some knitting stuff on here anyway cuz, after all, this is a knitting blog, so, here's the Falling Water Scarf I did in the most sinfully delicious yarn I've yet to work with Art Yarns Silk Rhapsody Glitter. Cuz my camera sucks (insert preferred cuss word here), you can't see the gold thread of glitter running through, but it's there.

And the sleeve of the Fair Isle Sleeve Sweater from Vogue Knitting Holiday 2006. Holy Expletive, this sleeve was a lot of work! No short easily memorizable pattern repeats here. Did the back already, working on the front and still have the other sleeve to do.

Okay, I'm tuckered out. Time to go enjoy the nice weather, as it's short lived. Oh, and thanks to everybody who comments. You should know I read every single one of your comments multiple times. *smooches*

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Something Old, Something New

Something borrowed, something blue. Isn't that how it goes? I'm not getting married (would anybody ever marry me?!), but I do have some old stuff, some new stuff, and some blue stuff to show. Um, nothing borrowed for the moment.

So, last summer when I was in South Africa I knitted this cardigan. It's from the Yarn Girls Guide to the Basics. I didn't like it. It was all bulky and stuff, and the sleeves were a bit short. I've since learned to always lengthen the sleeves for knitting patterns since my arms must be like an inch longer than other people's my size. So I hung it up in the closet with all the ends not woven in with the idea that some day I would rip it out and recycle the yarn. Well, today I looked at it and you know, it's not so bad after all. So I weaved in the ends and am wearing it now. The yarn, Berkshire Bulky, is itchy to me, so it's a good thing this is a cardigan and not a next-to-skin item.

In true "you can take the knitter out of the ghetto but you can't take the ghetto out of the knitter" fashion, instead of buttons like the pattern calls for or even a proper shawl pin, it's being held together with an old piece of a necklace I cut up and a darning needle.

Some time last year I also knitted, like everyone else and their momma, an Anthropologie Inspired Capelet. What is this yarn? It's Ironstone something-or-other. It's beautiful yarn, drop dead gorgeous yarn, and I got 2 hanks of it at Stitches last summer. So run to your yarns shops and tell them you want Ironstone Something-Or-Other, quick!

Anyway, I friggin love this capelet. Wanna know a little something about capelets? They look good on everybody. I've seen them on little people and big people, tiny tittied people (witness pic of me below) and boobalicious people (btw, I hate you people). And you know why? Cuz they add more bulk to your boobal area and no bulk to your stomach area, so that your stomach always looks smaller in comparison to your boobs than usual. And for the booby-impoverished like myself. It makes you look like you actually have a little something going up there. Here I am in my classic "you spent too much time in Asia" pose. I did this for the tank photo, too. Now, notice how busty I look.

Close examination of the curvature of the leotard above reveals, however, the true minimalness of the nah-nahs.

Close up pic:

And extreme closeup of the tie with beads. This tie is actually yarn of the discontinued Filatura di Crosa Ultralight, which has been waiting patiently for me to finish a lace tunic in it.

Thanks to my friend for taking these pics. I felt bad asking a married man to continuously take close-up shots of my breastiful area, but, um, not bad enough to stop asking.

*ding ding ding*, this post wins for Most References to Own Breasts in a Single Post! And what do I win, a booby prize! *duh duh, ching!*

Finally, to the new. I made gloves following the Ken Gloves pattern at Berroco. Fingers are hard. There are all these gaps at the base of the finger webs and you have to try your best to cover those up when you sew in the ends. I suck at doing this, but at least they fit. Sorta. I went down a needle size because I (hopefully) don't have man-sized hands and the pattern is for mens gloves. But I still made the fingers too long. Ah well, at least they work at keeping my hands warm. The yarn came from my ever-growing stash, Art Yarns Ultramerino I think, or whichever one is their worsted weight.

Oh, come to think of it, I do have something borrowed. It's this movie:

Man, this is a bad movie. To the couple who lent me this movie, y'all are real sweet and I like you, but this movie sucks (and not in the good way). John Carpenter's Vampires, staring James Woods. I shoulda known, right. The Blade movies, I like. The Underworld movies, I like. This movie? At least I lent you The Grudge, which may not be top notch, admittedly, but dang. Dang, y'all, dang.