knitting

Paramilitary S******** Knitter Army- A Conspiracy Theory

If you go to Google and type in ‘knitters are’ and let it autofill there are probably some things that would come to mind, based on stereotype.

Old, boring, naive, cute, etc.

Something to that effect.

But if you go and type in ‘knitters are’ and let it autofill now, you get something a little bit weird.

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A couple of things leading into this post: this conspiracy theory (referred to as CT from here on out) is new. It’s about 5 days old as far as I can tell. It heavily involves fiber culture, so if you’re the type to be into CT only you may have missed a lot of the back story so I’m going to be including part of that background for clarity’s sake, not as a political statement. And that leads into the third point, this is a heavily political CT so there’s really no escaping at least an overview of the politics and is not necessarily an endorsement by the blogger.

The basic theory goes something like this: there is effectively what could be referred to as a paramilitary syle socialist leaning knitting (and crocheting) army made up of primarily liberal leaning women spurring on a great deal of the protest movements including the women’s marches, especially the march in Washington DC, surrounding the current political administration.

The CT seems to center around an actually heavily gender biased assumption about the nature of crafting: it’s about those pink hats that are exploding everywhere. Pull up a photo of the already mentioned march and you’ll see a sea of pink hats.

I found the theory via this tweet thread:

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The rest of the thread, needed for context, is here.

Basically through the discussion this original poster (op) doesn’t understand a few pivotal things about the nature of crafting-that crafters use social media, that women can actually get together to craft when they care to, that knitting doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, and that pink yarn is a pretty common thing in the world. [No one tell this kid about truck days at the grocery store or how stuff is shipped en masse around the world either.]

The thing is, if you dig through the thread it’s heavily implied that this tweet isn’t an isolated thing. There was actually some sort of weird thought process surrounding how the hats showed up and why, and there was apparently some sort of theory around that all these women knew to show up with the hats all at once with no prior knowledge. It’s…also sort of implied that we can’t, like as women or knitters or both we just don’t have these thought patterns. It’s very odd.

Some of this I can get. If you were on the fiber culture related parts of Instagram or Facebook the hats were impossible to avoid. They were everywhere. I won’t use the word bullied, but there was definitely this sort of social pressure to make hats (I actually didn’t make any, for reasons that aren’t political in nature). But it does need a certain level of exposure to this subculture-I mean, I don’t follow NASCAR media and therefore have no idea what’s going on over there. It’s understandable.

This CT, or mini-CT sort of became a joke, especially some of the stuff quoted in the tweet thread, around my FB. I think as a group we sort of figured it was an isolated oddity and it would die out.

Then came the Joy of Knitting Facebook fiasco. A yarn shop came out and said that the owner would rather have feminists not purchase at her store because they’re vile, nasty people (that’s a paraphrase but not by much). I won’t link to that page but the statement and the surrounding firestorm of attention has gone national so googling it will bring you up to date. In other words, the US suddenly was introduced to what used to be called radical crafting.

So now we’re coming up on the Google thing: the search recommendations are based on part on how many people have searched for those terms. In other words, people honestly think we’re ruining the country. People honestly seem to think that we’re some sort of major political leftist leaning network (trust me, that’s deeply untrue). Just in the name of science, I actually let Google take me to the suggested results for that tag, and they’re weirdly all over the place. One of the results is about the Koch brothers so I think that’s just similar letters, and there’s a couple of things on the everlasting fight between crocheters and knitters (who’s more rude, who’s more snobby, etc). Oddly, there’s nothing in there about us ruining anything, really. Which makes me think that people are Googling and Google’s not finding anything. However…and this is important because CT doesn’t necessarily take care of tying up loose ends in terms of factuality (don’t look at me, they don’t) it’s hard to tell how long that this has been the ‘normal’ response from Google. It could have been like that forever and we’re just looking for stuff like this now because of our sudden paramilitary status.

This is easily the strangest thing to come out of an already bizarre month.

The Sound of Needles Clicking

It’s not that I’ve been silent…I’ve been silent here.

Because I’m busy…very, very busy.

Be very careful if you wake up one day and decide, gee, wouldn’t it be great if I had a reason to be knitting, and a way to keep that knitting self propelling and funding itself?

I have 15 orders in queue right now and people who are ordering multiple pieces. The Universe is good, you just wouldn’t think the irony of being so busy knitting you can’t update a knitting blog would be this surreal.

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One of my current orders is a scarf I drafted to go with another project so I hope to post that afterwards. And I am knitting multiples of my Barleycorn scarf.

*Any of my patterns can be knitted for commercial use. I would like a credit but it’s not necessary.

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For up to date photos, follow me on Instagram

Mr. Flibbles and the Bad Luck, Really Kind of Terrible Day

flibbles

I am not one to read too much into omens, as much as I have a habit of tracking the feathers I find and am most likely more superstitious than I like to let on.

After about a year and two other attempts and patterns, I have finally started another sweater using some of the handspun I was working on last year. I’m hoping it’ll get me to get Freya out of storage, work down fiber, and I really honestly need my hands busy right now. I decided the problem has been that I’ve been forcing a yarn that really doesn’t want to be a cable into a cable, and decided I like the yarn in a rib much more. Ribbing is really forgiving so it’s actually a helpful move-I actually am aiming for bulky and heavy, for Buffalo winters, and the shaping with be that much easier.

So I happily packed my bag for work, got a few rows in before shift started and then the worst happened.

The damnable needle broke in my bag. And proverbial hell broke loose.

I remember hearing somewhere in my 20 years of fiber wanderings-though Internetlandia is failing me to back it up-that breaking a needle is a hugely negative omen. And within half an hour I was in fights, embarrassing scheduling mishaps and somehow have forgotten how to spell.

I have been knitting for 20 years and this is the first needle I’ve had go on me in the middle of a project. The sheer amount of tension and conflict in the rest of the day makes me want to hunker down in a woolly shelter. I’m not necessarily saying I’m sure it was the needle…but the needle didn’t help.

Aran Gingerbread

finished aran gingerbread

I always feel weird posting about charity knitting. Like I’m looking to be validated for something that should be done because you want to, not so that other people will tell you you’re doing a good job.

But my finished project entries are as much a running record for myself as anything else.

My local Starbucks is collecting for Compass House this year, so this is the first scarf I’ve done for charity this year, and it went into the box.

Aran Gingerbread [3 Column, 8 Row Repeat]

Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver, Aran (cream white)

Skeins: 1

Yardage: 364 (less than)

Rep count/length: 37

Needles: 8

Pattern: Gingerbread

FSOT value: $31.65 American

Garnet Gingerbread

garnet gingerbread

I really liked working with this yarn. It’s like Woolease, with a much better hand, better drape, and is heavier.

So of course they pulled it off the market. Why actually put out a decent Red Heart yarn? That would be silly.

This is the first Gingerbread project (I have another on needles right now, with some modifications to the pattern). I’m loving cabled scarves right now, and luckily they seem to be popular. This one is a gift, though.

I love the color on this one. I have a tendency to gravitate towards this color anyway, and it’s been a long standing favorite. Most of my lipstick collection is this color, and I have very little ‘true’ red in my wardrobe.

Garnet Gingerbread

Yarn: Red Heart With Wool, Garnet (deep wine style red)

Skeins: 2

Yardage: 288 (less than)

Needles: 8

Pattern: Gingerbread

FSOT value: $46.97 American

Gingerbread

gingerbread

Not that kind of gingerbread.

Mid asked me why I don’t draft my own patterns, especially for scarves. The simplest answer is that most of my scarves are either pulled from a stitch dictionary or something I made up on the fly to have travel/thoughtless knitting. But he’s probably right, and I probably should be writing them down again, if only to have a record of what I did.

Gingerbread is a simple travel/beginner’s cabling project. It does require some level of understanding of cabling-though the cables are exceptionally easy. For the scarf in the photo, I used a 4×4 back cable:

*work moss stitch to stockinette panel*

holding next four stitches to the back (either on a cable needle/dpn or air cabling), knit the next four stitches off of the needle, place the reserved four stitches back on the needle (if not air cabling) and knit those four stitches

*work moss stitch panel*

The pattern is adjustable in that you can alter how frequently you cable, the direction the cable leans, and change the width by adding or removing stitches to the moss stitch panels or increasing/decreasing the size of the cables. You can also change the needle size and the yarn weight to change size-a sport weight on fours will be narrower than the example scarf with worsted on eights which will be narrower than bulky on ten and halves.

Gingerbread Scarf

Worsted weight yarn [Aim for 300 yards or more for a cabled scarf]

Size 8 needles

Cable needle

Moss stitch [moss]

Across an odd number of stitches, moss stitch is simply knitting and purling every stitch straight across. If you were to work it on an even number it would be a rib

4×4 cable [4c]

Holding next four stitches to the back (either on a cable needle/dpn or air cabling), knit the next four stitches off of the needle, place the reserved four stitches back on the needle (if not air cabling) and knit those four stitches.

Place marker [pm]
Cast on 31 stitches

Knit one row (optional, but I find it makes it easier)

Next row:

Rws 1, 3, 5, 7: Moss for five stitches, pm, knit 8 stitches, pm, moss for five stitches, knit 8 stitches, pm, moss for five stitches

Even numbered rows: Moss for five stitches, pm,purl 8 stitches, pm, moss for five stitches, purl 8 stitches, pm, moss for five stitches

Row 9: Moss for five stitches, pm, 4c, pm, moss for five stitches, 4c, pm, moss for five stitches

Row 10: Moss for five stitches, pm,purl 8 stitches, pm, moss for five stitches, purl 8 stitches, pm, moss for five stitches

 

Repeat rows 1-10 for desired length. Bind off in pattern. Weave in any ends and very lightly block if using a natural fiber-cables don’t like heavy blocking.

gingerbread 2