Thursday, February 15, 2007

Spinemann Yarn
Originally uploaded by littlekidd.
Drumroll please... it's a

Hey all you brainy, tech-inclined artistes out there in cyberland. I need your help! I mentioned last week that I write patterns and my homemade logo is ... well... homemade. It looks like this:

So, I'm giving away some of my friend Bob's beautiful hand-spun, hand-dyed yarn to the lucky person who can come up with a new logo idea I can use proudly.

In my ideal world, the winner of the contest would provide:

1. Art that is simple and linear, and one color.
2. Art that doesn't undermine the name "Bipurler Disorder," which I think is catchy enough on its own
3. A scalable, high-resolution eps file so I could use it on business cards and patterns and other papery stuff.

I was thinking about some sort of head, lobotomized, with a semi-unraveled ball of yarn coming out the top where a brain would be. The expression on the face might be deliriously happy. This is just an idea.

Now, more about the yarn:
The yarn is even more gorgeous in person. the rainbow one is a single-ply bulky and the greenish one is a six-ply sport weight. Both skeins are 100 percent wool.

This is very special stuff. Bob only sells it in three shops in Portland. If you like one or the other best, I could easily arrange to get you two of the same.

The fabulous Yarn Harlot gave me the idea for the contest when I met her at Madrona last month. Thank you, Stephanie! Hope this works!

We'll let this roll for a month and see what happens. I'll announce the winner on March 15. Thanks ahead of time for all your creative efforts!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Force... with Ewe

"Zack, I am your sweater."
Originally uploaded by littlekidd.
I'm making this for Zack for his 5th birthday. Let me stress that we are not one of those super-obsessed Star Wars families. (We do own the entire Lord of the Rings triology on DVD, but it's my husband's thing. While I recognize its cinematographic excellence, I can't get past feeling that some of those guys should brush their teeth.. maybe just once?)

Sorry. I digress. Back to Darth. This sweater is a surprise for Zack. His birthday is March 14th. HE is fairly obsessed with the whole Star Wars thing. I'm going to use a cool weaving technique I learned from Helen Hamann at Madrona to overstich the details of Darth's face in all of its ominous metallic glory.

Has anyone else knit with superwash wool? This is Cascade 220 Superwash. Is it really suppsed to feel like it was knit with Vietnamese rice noodles when you get it wet? Blocking was more than a little disconcerting.

This dried OK, but still feels flimsy, especially around the joins where the color changes. I keep reminding myself it's for a five-year-old. He will be over the moon even if it isn't perfect.

Next time, though, I think I'll use regular wool and take my chances on the mustard stains.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Candy Everybody Wants

Sock Candy Socks
Originally uploaded by littlekidd.
This yarn is glorious.

I'm just coming around to the quiet majesty of socks. I'm new enough at knitting to want to try everything. I think I have tried most of the major techniques once (except steeking. Makes my blood run cold.). Now I'm coming back to techniques with the highest Zen-per-stitch quotient for me.

I picked up this yarn at the Blue Moon booth at Madrona. I was in love with the green/blue/brown one, but there was only one skein. It would barely cover the toes of my size 11 feet. (My mom used to say I should just wear the boxes.)

So, I picked up one more skiein that seemd radically different. Originally I was going to try a little Fair Isle improv, but when I wound the skeins they didn't seem different enough, somehow, to make it worth the effort. So it's stockinette... alternating two rounds of one with two rounds of the other.

The result is positively iridescent, and the emerging fabric is SOOO soft. My feet are crying out for these. I envision large sums of money flowing from my bank account to this company. I didn't sign up for the Socks that Rock sock club and now I regret it. I'm saving my pennies for next year!

Speaking of iridescent yarn, wait till you see my friend Bob's wonderful handspun, hand-dyed! I'm going to auction it off to the most creative bidder right here at this blog next week. The price: one winning logo suggestion for "Bipurler Disorder." I write patterns and sell them around Portland, but I'd like a snappier look than I have. Stay tuned. More on that next week.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Attention! Deficit

Hoodie for Zack
Originally uploaded by littlekidd.
Zack is growing. This hoodie is not. I best get on that. Two more inches on the hood, a front pocket, coupla buttons on the placket and sew it up. That's all I have to do. But it has been sitting like this for two weeks. What is my dysfunction?

Is it ADD? Fear of failure? Fear of succes? Boredom? The masochistic need to have unfinished business constantly hanging over my head? Does this explain why I leave at least one dirty dish in the sink overnight?

I need... positively NEED to have at least a dozen projects on needles at once.

Last June I started casting on Christmas presents. I worked in a spiral, doing little bits of this and that, making progress on everything. Then in the weeks following Thanksgiving, I buckled down and finished them all. One after another these fiber-based extensions of my being were bound off, sewn up, packed in brown boxes and shipped out the door.

And I missed them. I got a little depressed. After that I didn't want to knit at all. I got a little queasy every time I picked up a the needles. THAT sure freaked me out. Thankfully it only lasted about 10 days (and 3 hours and 27 minutes.).

Then I started casting on again. And again. And again. Here's a list of the unfinished projects I've actually laid hands on in the past month:

1. This hoodie
2. The sweater I wrote about a couple of days ago,
3. A pair of Sock Candy socks.
4. A slip stitch hat (well, that fell OFF the needles today in my purse.)
5. A fingerless glove
6. Another pair of socks (Raindrop Lace by Fiber Trends)
7. A Darth Vader sweater for Zack (wait till you SEE it!)
8. A "Vintage Velvet" scarf
9. A Clapotis shawl for the school auction
10. A pair of felted slippers for Zack
11. A Debbie Bliss gansey for Zack

You'll notice many of these things are for Zack, who is four. That means he grows an inch about every 17 minutes. The clock is ticking. And I have oh so many ideas....

Anybody want to go yarn shopping?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Here's hoping

Sweater for Me!
Originally uploaded by littlekidd.
This time of year in Portland we're hanging by a thread. It has been either cold or rainy or both more often than not since Halloween. The days are supposedly getting longer, but we can't really tell yet. It seems like the sun doesn't come up before 8 a.m. and it starts to get dark around 3:30 p.m.

But in these first few days of February we see signs of hope. For me it was the one spectacularly sunny and (almost) warm day this past week. Walking to school to pick up Zack I noticed flower buds lying in wait on the big Daphne bush down the street.

Within the next couple of weeks we'll start to notice the sun shining later in the day. We'll start dreaming about summer barbeques and crabbing at the coast. It will still be rainy and cold a lot of the time (like today), but the occasional sunny days will carry us through.

I'm hoping to approach the summer season with a more fit body. Slimming down will be a by-product of getting in shape. I'm working out 4 or 5 times/week, and have been for the past couple of months. Already I feel better.

So here's a sweater I'm knitting for me. I'm knitting it a size smaller than usual. My friend Cheri put it best when she said, "Knitting a sweater is a process. So is losing weight." So there. No magic bullets. No shortcuts for either one.

This is a hard sweater. If it doesn't fit when I'm done I'm going to be pissed at myself. So, now every time I want to skip the gym and eat a bowl of Ben and Jerry's I just pull out the sweater and knit a row. And then I go to the gym.

Friday, February 02, 2007

A Poet's Work is Never Done

Here, in honor of the Second Annual Brigid in Cyberspace Silent poetry reading, is one of my favorite poems by former American Poet Laureate Billy Collins:

Another Reason Why I Don't Keep A Gun In The House

The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
He is barking the same high, rhythmic bark
that he barks every time they leave the house.
They must switch him on on their way out.

The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
I close all the windows in the house
and put on a Beethoven symphony full blast
but I can still hear him muffled under the music,
barking, barking, barking,

and now I can see him sitting in the orchestra,
his head raised confidently as if Beethoven
had included a part for barking dog.

When the record finally ends he is still barking,
sitting there in the oboe section barking,
his eyes fixed on the conductor who is
entreating him with his baton

while the other musicians listen in respectful
silence to the famous barking dog solo,
that endless coda that first established
Beethoven as an innovative genius.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

S is for Sweater

I grieve over this gansey
Originally uploaded by littlekidd.
S is also for sucks. As in... This Sweater Sucks.

That is, unless you have a chest shaped like Montana, arms like a baboon, and a head like Herman Munster (am I dating myself here? Anybody remember the Munsters?)

Actually, I can wear this floppy sweater... and I probably will just because it took so bloody long to make. I made it for Jim for Christmas. It's "fulled" or lightly felted, so it's really soft. But the fulling process turned it from a huge, proportional sweater to a less huge (but still fairly giant) too-short-with-long-arms-and- a-big-neckhole sweater. Ok, I confess, the neckhole was big to begin with. But Jim has a big head, so I thought it would be okay.

The issue is not really this sweater. Emotionally, I can throw the sweater in the (ever-growing) pile of odd-shaped learning experiences. The issue is that Jim doesn't wear sweaters. You would think I would know that by now. We've been married almost 14 years. I've made him one other sweater which does fit, and which he wears once or twice a year, I think out of pity. It's a nice sweater. Jim just doesn't like sweaters. I need to concede that.

So, I'm asking for help. I want to make things for Jim. Socks are good, but what else? Here in Portland the temps rarely dip below 40F for more than a few hours. Some people wear Birkenstocks all year. Jim is a fairly conservative dresser. He's a tech-head, but I think a lime green laptop cover would probably not go over well.

His birthday is in June, so we have a reasonable head start. Ideas?