Sunday, August 21, 2011

Glamour Socks

Get it? Like "Glamour Shots" but socks. Uh-huh. Get it? Glamour. Socks.

I am so excited I learned how to really do lace:

Handspun sock. First ever.

These socks are taking a while. They are a bit slow, but totally worth it:

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The skills of bad-assery

Once upon a time (yesterday), a woman wrote a blog on Huffington Post. In her article she lamented the growing number of women who enjoy (and blog about) domestic womanly pursuits, like baking and gardening. How they seemed to have retreated into an ultra femininity of the past - a delicate, pathetic girliness. She was aghast that we have squandered the hard-fought gains of our fore-mothers. You know, suffrage and the ability to be the Board Chair of a big company and not wear a bra.

She was making a tired point that so many small minded women have made before... trying to convince us that there is only one form of feminism wherein women are the same as men. (This is naturally stupid. Though women should absolutely have the same opportunities as men, we have different strengths that should be celebrated, not cast aside. Some people even argue that this idea of feminism - being a working mom and the chair of the board - has succeeded not because it was good for women or families, but because it was good for industry.... this is all a separate blog post, and suddenly too long to be parenthetical.)

The blogger, however, in attempting to make her small minded point did something that resulted in a firestorm I am certain she didn't expect.

She called out knitters - and one knitter in particular - as proof of our femininity destroying feminism. Knitters, she implied, are meek, delicate girly girls and the complete opposite of bad asses. We who love fiber arts are ruining feminism for women who shoot guns, hot-wire cars and kill vampires. We, with our lacy shawls, are an embarrassment and should be ashamed.

Here is the problem (and hopefully something the blogger has now learned). Knitters are not homogeneous. Just as Board Chairwomen are not. I recently read an article about a woman serving in the army in Iraq who set up a knitting group for her fellow soldiers. Here in Indy, The Naptown Roller Girls wrote a book of knitting patterns which includes armpit cushions for crutches, an Elevate that Ankle Pillow, and a "hey, at least it wasn't your leg" arm sling. There are active groups of knitters on Ravelry for bikers, gun owners, homesteaders and martial artists. Sounds pretty badass, no?

In a related vein, the large, large majority of business owners in the knitting community - people who sell yarn or dye it, write patterns, publish books and even raise sheep are women (unlike the male-dominated Hollywood that she extols for giving us kick ass role models). With the exception of a very few men, much of the knitting industry is owned and run by women. I wish I could put a dollar amount on that - but instead, know that there are more active knitters in the US than golfers.

Finally, if Ms. Aloi is really, truly concerned about the ability of domestic sorts of women to survive in an apocalyptic future - and she mentions it twice, so I presume she is - I must take issue with her logic. Gardening, she believes is worthless, and women should prepare to "manipulate our way into a bomb shelter" instead (which sounds daftly sexist to me). So, let's say we bad ass women overpower all the men with our bad-assery and superior marksmanship. And we eat their bomb shelter food - we eat it real good. All of it. Then what?? I imagine we're going to wish we knew how to grow some more damn food. Or make some warm sweaters that keep the rain off our bad ass calloused skin as we're out hunting for more men to beat up.

And here is the thing - my whole main point. Women are GOOD at these things. In general, we are better at them than men. Successfully gardening and raising farm animals especially requires the skills of nurturers - observant, intuitive nurturers. And (in general) this is an area where women excel.

So, why are we ignoring those skills and talents? Why would we dismiss them as being anti-feminist? We should consider the ability to turn raw wool into a sweater, or grow pounds and pounds of potatoes, or can a year's supply of beans just as bad ass as defending a border or killing a deer.

Because it is.

I knit and garden. And I am a bad ass.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Knitting ... in color

I am knitting a hundred things right now. And they are all rather girly in color.

There's these Wedge socks which are the first socks I've knit that have pooled colors and do not make me twitch. See how the purple stacks on top of itself in each consecutive row, rather than distributing itself randomly? Yeah - that drives me batty. Except for these socks...

I started pink socks too. When he helped me wind the yarn, Bill was very surprised I had such a color. He asked at least three times "These socks are for you??"

These lacy socks are a triumph. I only recently learned how to make holey lace while working in the round. It has opened up scads of new possibilities for me. Scads! And it was so simple as to just knit through the back of the YO, rather than through the front. Revolutionary!!

And this...This is my sweater from some handspun yarn. In starting this I realized the colors I like to spin... and buy... and knit with are not the same as the colors I like to wear.

For example, this is what I was wearing when I photographed the sweater.

I like to wear brown and gray. And light brown and dark gray. ...and light brown. But I like to buy orange and purple and bright green yarn. This is not a problem with socks that get tucked into shoes and hidden by pants. But it's a bit different for sweaters.

I was so concerned about this sweater that I took it to work for opinions from fashionable people who have to look at me all day. They said this sweater did not have Too Many Colors.

I asked, "but won't I look like a clown?" They assured me I would not.

I countered, "Bill joked he'd gladly call me Rainbow Randolph." (In the [likely] event that you have not seen Bill's favorite movie, Death to Smoochy, I will clarify - this is not really something a girl aspires to.)

They said that if I didn't want the sweater, I could give it to them and they'd wear it happily.

So, now I am nearly convinced that it is possible and ok to wear an item of clothing which contains more than 3 colors.

I will soldier on (...and practice my tap dancing...just in case).

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Reference Bookshelf

The library nook is nearly finished. You may recall it previous looked like this:

We painted it a lovely shade of gray and today it looks like this:

There are details left to finish. A rug, some decorations, and alterations to the curtain. I am quite pleased with the curtain - I found it at Goodwill for $2. I would never be able to buy just the fabric for $2. Like nearly all modern curtains, it is too short for my window and I'm thinking I'll add some red fabric to the top to make it longer.

Also super cheap...the bookshelf. The fancy (?) cinder blocks were in our basement. They were spray painted gold, which I didn't realize until we got them out of the basement and into the sun. With the addition of some painted boards and the complete 1985 Encyclopedia Britannica, the Reference Bookshelf is under way.

How does one procure a complete 1985 Encyclopedia Britannica? Well, one day Bill emailed me and asked "do we want a free 1985 Encyclopedia Britannica?" And I replied "I don't understand why you are asking this question? Is there anyone that doesn't?"

So, if you have any questions which require the latest info about the USSR or Reaganomics, you know who to ask.

Today, I'm filling the bookshelf with other hardcover reference books. Lots from college, some on home repairs.

And a few old, old reference books we picked up at a library sale. The bottom book is a Better Homes and Gardens reference for family health from the 60s which says if women complain about cramps during menstruation to just tell them it's all in their head and they'll get over it. Also, to not let them crawl into bed for rest, but rather encourage them to be up and about, presumably making dinner and doing laundry.

We also have two copies of "Our Universe" (1986) from National Geographic. Even before we started dating, Bill and I talked with each other about reading and re-reading this book as a kid. I like to keep both our copies on the shelf together.