Saturday, April 26, 2008

Total Denial Reigns

Is it really a week since I blogged last? It doesn't seem like it was that long ago. Wait. It wasn't--I know for absolute certian that I blogged on Tuesday. And today is Saturday. I don't know how that works, if it works, but I can't cudgel my poor brain into pondering it.

Icarus (pictured here on my filing cabinet) is two rows short of the transition to chart 2, but I have been siezed by a burning desire to knit every inch of the yarn in my stash (except some pink stuff that I think I'll drop off at my LYS) into socks and bags and washcloths and strange little critters. It's bad.

And yes, I realize that that picture is slightly crooked. I was in a hurry. If you *must* have perfectly straight and unique photos, you will simply have to wait. I'm very busy avoiding writing my final essay on the Wari and Tiwanaku and the Inkas (quien les odio).

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Back at the end of March, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee sent out a call to knitters, asking them to engage in one day of inexplicable knitter behavior. Her readers responded exuberantly, and I can only imagine how perplexed the non-knitting denizens of their respective cities were.

The day for inexplicable knitting fell on a Tuesday, a school day, and even if I thought I could get away with skipping all my classes that day, I would've been certifiable if I thought I could a) get away with ignoring all the ancillary homework and b) starting a new project. But I am all for the idea. Ordinarily cool people can be unexpectedly narrow-minded when it comes to knitting, and one of my admittedly vindictive pleasures is shaking up their idea of The Way the World Works. It's the nature of the experiment, it's the patterns of my temperament.

Ennyway, I was standing at my bus stop this past Tuesday, working on the Icarus and musing on the two presentations I had to give that day. It was rush hour, and this bus stop is along one of the main thoroughfares, so there were quite a few cars out. About five minutes went by before I noticed how many of the drivers were staring. Blatantly. I was on a purl row, so I took my eyes off my knitting to stare back (being at a bus stop liberates one from many social norms). One burly bearded guy in a pickup with his son literally turned his head to gawk as he drove past. All these people weren't looking at me, per se. They were looking at the Icarus.

Good for them, I thought. A little culture shock before work does one good.

Skip ahead to Thursday. One of the grad students let everyone into the classroom early (it's kept locked to keep people from making off with the osteological collection), so I pulled out the Icarus and got to work. Without realizing, I spaced out, gazing deeply into empty space while I tried to figure out how I was going to organize my afternoon. A voice at the edge of my consciousness pulled me back in, and I looked over to find both the professors, two grad students, and the guy at my table staring, at the Icarus of course. I had a deer in the headlights moment, awkwardly fielding the usual queries--it's a shawl, I don't know how long it will take to make, etc. "That's impressive," one professor said. Ye gods. The man pulls conclusions about population histories out of 64-dimensional space, and the So-Easy-It's-Boring Icarus is impressive?

When half the Andean Archaeology class began to ooh, I felt rather resigned. Being the bearer of beneficial culture shock is all well and good, but it was beginning to cut into my knitting time. It's going to be a shawl, no it's not hard, feel how soft the yarn is. I was buoyed up by the fact that some of these people actually knew how to knit, and one had astutely noticed the subtle color gradients that kettle-dyed Malabrigo is famous for. Then she asked if I was using different balls of yarn to get that effect. I cringed inwardly, thinking of the way randomly switching from color to color, Fair Isle OR Instarsia style, would compromise the structure of lace, unraveling all into the holes, not to mention making the back side look like a knotty mess.

But then I had a total anthro moment. Knitting is just as foreign to most modern people as Egypt to the Victorians or South America to the conquistadores, and they can react to it with just as much ethnocentrism. As a firm believer in cultural relativity, I feel that this needs remedying. So for all its setbacks, I'll keep KIPping. That everyone who sees me is going to run out and become a knitter is too much to hope, and anyway, it's beside the point. The point is to understand knitting for what it is and knitters for who they are. And maybe one day, in a Utopian future, knitting will cease being seen as something straight out of a curiousity cabinet, and it will take a whole cadre of knitters running around with cameras and half-completed socks to really shake things up.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Happy Earth Day

My university surprised me: usually every day with a cause results in an onslaught of supporters and opposition on the campus, with everybody shouting, waving signs, and thrusting clipboards at you. There was none of that today--not even a bleak documentary scheduled to show on the big mall after sunset. I was rawther surprised, but I can't complain; people with clipboards are to be avoided at all costs.

My contributions to the planet:

I took the bus to school...

Took class notes on recycled paper...

Ate my organic peanut butter sandwich I had packed in a little box (plastic, por desgracia)...

Recycled my Starbucks cup...

And took the bus home.

The Icarus is not the world's best blog project. It looks like a dead woollen jellyfish the entire time it's on the needles, which is usually considerable. Here are a few notes on this particular rendition:

I bought three skeins this time, not two, so we should avoid any unpleasantness
The color is "Polar Morn," which is more in keeping with the color shown in the magazine.

And yes, this is another pictureless post. If you want to see pictures, check out what Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's up to.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Bad Blogger

Quanto lo siento. I think I've just broken about every rule known to blogdom. I subjected you to unsolicited griping, I got off topic, and then I disappeared.

(In case you were perplexed by the picture, Skalbagge is a stuffed pillbug, one of my growing collection of Ikea creatures. Its mouth unzips to hold pajamas or whatever strikes las hermanitas' fancy.)

The carpet is gone, the tile is in, and we are beginning to put the house back together again.

I survived my tests, thanks in large part to the cookies my History of English teacher provided. By the last one, though, I was starting to get a little punchy. I was actually doodling in the margins of my test. I don't know what got into me. I'm not a doodler, and I can't draw to save my life. Maybe it was the pen. That particular professor makes us do our tests in pen, and I must say, I do love gel ink. Whatever the cause, I hope the TA finds the little pictures of tarsier skulls and rockets and whatever else I put on there (I don't even remember) endearing rather than distressing.

Anyway. Knitting. I swear, I really and truly have been knitting. What I've been knitting is really proof of the way my mind bends:

Yes, it's another Icarus, in more Malabrigo. Doesn't anyone else knit lace to unwind? If you check out the Icarus knitalong, every other post contains a comment askance about how boring knitting the body is. Maybe to the knitter in a better frame of mind, it is. For me, nothing is more calming than those orderly quills of stockinette. I memorized the pattern working on Hermanita's Firebird, and so now, I can pull it out in class, in between class, or while reading

and zip through a row to keep from going right off the deep end.

This weekend, I have a feeling I'll get a lot of knitting done. I have two presentations, due Tuesday, to finish. One is on interproximal grooves, and the other is on the Spanish conquest. Given a choice, I'd do the former twice and say to heck with the latter. I mean, honestly. Grooves in harmless little teeth or the bloody initiation of three centuries of genocide, cultural destruction, and oppresion--do you really even have to think about that one?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Just a Moment

I'm having a moment. Just a moment.

I lost my religion Thursday.

I passed Frail and Bedazzled yesterday.

Would it be problematic if I were to stand outside and sing a Dirge to Earth and Sky?

Stats: Three tests on Thursday (have only begun to study)
Two presentations next week (les odio Powerpoint, dientes y los Andes)
A luncheon Wednesday morning (not optional)

Minor detail: the house is torn up for tiling the floors.

Look at the positive. A skalbagge pillow.