Its rare that I find a picture of Jamie Cullum wearing something that looks like it could be hand knitted. So when I do find one, I feel compelled to share it.
Was at the bookstore the other day. I was browsing through my usual hangout- the magazine section- when a picture of a cute guy caught my eye. I picked up the magazine. The picture happened to be Darren Criss from the popular show Glee.
Darren’s face happens to be on the cover of this month’s Out magazine. As is a habit with me, I always flip through a magazine backwards, and I was so glad I did. Near the back was this picture of Mr. Criss wearing nothing but knits!
After seeing this picture I dare any woman to say that men don’t look sexy in knits!
I figured that since I am not going to be teaching at this year’s Sock Summit, that it would be safe to share with you some parts of the actually teaching proposal that I had submitted. Please let me know what you think:
But whooo-R-yooooouuuu? Sorry, Alice In Wonderland flashbacks. Hi, my name is Michelle. Online I am best known as Liver Chick. You can find me on Ravelry and chatting away on my blog https://liverchickknits.wordpress.com.
The following is my shameless proposal to teach at Sock Summit 2011.
College graduate with an Associates of Arts degree from Phoenix, Arizona, where I studied costume and makeup design for the Theatre. I worked for nine years as a professional makeup artist and taught Makeup and Costume Design on the college level.
I had a quick stint at California Institute for the Arts majoring in Costume Design. My claim to fame there was hand knitting fifteen openwork tribal inspired headdresses for the department’s 2001 production of Trojan Women.
A former craft teacher at Michael’s Craft store where I taught beginner knitting classes as well as loom knitting, among other things.
Here is where I stop sounding like a resume and share with you my journey into sock knitting that has evolved into this proposal that you are now reading. (You may want to refill that cup of coffee before you start.)
I was always reluctant to learn to knit a pair of socks. I had knitted enough scarves and hats to open my own store. I even knitted a sweater for my boyfriend. (Which obviously was a damn good sweater because a year later he became my husband. Or maybe the sweater was so bad that he was afraid that if he remained my boyfriend he would have to endure even more ghastly sweaters and knew that the only way to stop the madness was to marry me, thus ending the ‘boyfriend’ sweaters.) Either way, I had some pretty good knitting under my belt. Sock knitting just always seemed other-worldly to me.
In 2008, at the age of 30, my liver stopped working. (Doesn’t that always happen? The moment the warranty is up on something it freaking decides to die on you!) Well, there’s nothing like a coma and a liver transplant to boost your ego and make you say, “What the hell! If I could survive that, knitting a sock should be a piece of cake”. Of course it didn’t hurt that as part of my recovery I had joined Boba Knits and spent each week watching Cookie A. knitting away at her kick-ass socks.
So, with the new boost of confidence- and a new liver- I set out to knit me some socks. Well, trying to knit with double pointed needles scared the hell out of my cats and soon after I had to start asking people to sign waivers before entering my house so I wouldn’t be held liable for bodies being impaled by my needles every time I tried to knit a sock. Then, much to my family’s relief, I decided that maybe circular needles were more my style. I can tell you from personal experience that the magic loop and Long Island ice teas do not mix. And when the toe-up method had me reaching for the Johnny Walker, I knew it was time to stop.
“But there just had to be a way for me to knit socks that wouldn’t reduce me to drinking”, I thought. I wanted to find a way to knit socks the same way I like to knit most other things- with two straight needles. So I set out to find if such a thing was possible. Not only was two needle socks possible, it was also popular, for a short time. I ordered old knitting pamphlets on the subject and read any information I could find. The use of the two needle method had opened the doors to sock knitting for many frustrated knitters during its heyday. But that nasty uncomfortable seam down the center bottom of the foot seems to have been its downfall. “Hey, why does the seam have to be down the middle? Why can’t it be on the sides instead?” Even fewer patterns existed for socks with seams on the side and the few patterns that did, usually over complicated the process with wonky heels and odd configurations. After much trial and error, I figured out how to make socks on two needles that looked and felt just as nice as socks made in the more traditional methods. I know that I’m not the only one who ever became frustrated with learning to knit socks. And just like me, there has to be many other knitters out there who would love to learn a new way of knitting socks.
I remember those dark days of long ago. Those days before I became a sock knitter. I felt like an outcast, an incomplete knitter. The other knitters would talk about me behind my back. I was left out of parties because sock knitters feared being associated with a non-sock knitter like me. I don’t want another knitter to suffer what I’ve gone through. So I have made it my mission to help my sisters and brothers and free them from the chains that keep them from enjoying the world of sock knitting. And if we sock knitters are to be a great nation of knitters then this skill must be taught . So I will teach two needle sock knitting to knitters from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Knitters will knit two needle sock from the mighty mountains of New York. They will knit socks from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
They will knit socks from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!
They will knit socks from the curvaceous peaks of California!
But not only that; they will knit their socks on two needles from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Socks will be knit from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Socks will be knit from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let sock knitters knit! .
When we let two needle sock knitters knit , when we spread the news of this alternative way of sock knitting from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s sock knitters, old sock knitters and young sock knitters, toe up and cuff down, two at a time and single sock syndrome, will be able to join needles and sing in the words of the old knitter’s spiritual, “Turn the heel! Turn the heel! Does anyone remember how to turn the heel?!”
Since you asked, yes, I would like to be paid $33,000 a day for my time and I would like payment in one dollar bills only. No, seriously, I like money, so getting paid would be great. But I also realize that you like money too, so I’m sure we can work out a way for us to both have money. Whatever ended up being the average payment for most instructors during the last Summit is fine with me. (It may sound like I’m being too easy, but really my nose is short, so its hard for me to look down it and scoff at some imaginary price that’s not worth my time and talent. Heck, I’m even willing to barter with you. Four days of room and food for four days of my enslavement to the Sock Summit- sounds like a deal to me!)
As far as my class needs, I think I’ll be able to handle the class without too many extras. A long table for me to display different stages of the sock knitting process would be nice. The students will mainly be following their handouts.
As for what you need to know about working with me, I will let you know that I am shy when I first meet people, but warm up rather quickly. I’m always willing to help, (that’s the girl scout in me), and have a tendency to show up when an extra body is needed for something. Remember back in the day with those college parties where everyone got wasted, but when you woke up the next morning everything was clean and breakfast was made? Yup, I’m that girl that stayed up all night picking up all those empty bottles, cleaning the vomit out the carpet and unclogging the toilet. And because I knew you would all have the munchies when you sobered up, I baked a quiche and put out bottles of water along with a bottle of aspirin on the kitchen table before I left. Why would I do all this? Well, because I do enjoying helping people and also because the guilt is going to eat away at you until you do something nice for me in return. Can we say, new yarn?
Okay, now you’re getting personal. Ask me anything more and I’ll make you take me out to dinner first!
Well, I live in XXXX, Arizona, which is a small town that is like a pigeon dropping away from Phoenix.
I would really like to fly to Oregon. I don’t need to fly first class or have any special seating. You can fly me on the cheapest flight available. Seriously, I’ll take the one that leaves Phoenix at 3 o’clock in the morning with five connections and the only available seats being the ones right next to the toilet.
Now, where am I going to stay is a different issue, but I’ll be able to figure that one out. Hopefully, hotel rooms are still available. Based on the forums on Ravelry it seems some of the hotels were completely booked a week after you announced the dates. If nothing is available, I’m more then happy sleeping on the floor in someone’s hotel room if that option is open. In worst case, I’ll be claiming stall number five in the ladies restroom at the convention center as my room for the duration of the Summit. (Remember, girl scout here. I know how to ‘rough it’.)
To answer the other part of your question, yes, I am available for all four days of the Summit. Feel free to use me in whichever way turns you on, I’m all yours.
So, you’ve come to the end of my proposal. Did I sound crazy and desperate? If so, then I have achieved what I set out to do. Really, I’m not this way in person. At least not all the time. Well, even if you don’t select me to teach at the Summit, I do hope you got a few good laughs from reading this. Feel free to save this and read anytime you need a little laughter.
Wishing you well,
Despite the past knitting needle banning, knitting seems to be alive and well as a great way to pass the time at the airport. Although there are some who still fear the over-exaggerated scenario of Aunt Helen impaling the entire flight crew and passengers with her double-pointed needles, research has now shown that this would never happen on account of the fact that every knitter knows how hard it is to get blood stains out of wool.
Even though knitting needles are no longer on the FDA list of items that must stay in your checked baggage, I strongly recommend you check with both your leaving and arriving airports – especially for overseas flights- before trying to go through security with your needles. Besides, I wouldn’t want any of you to end up on the ‘No Fly’ list for trying to smuggle in your purse some 16 inch circulars, aka, potential weapons of mass destruction!
For years I have knitted with no knowledge of who Elizabeth Zimmermann was or even her importance to knitting. ( Yes, I know. I can hear your gasps of horror even from here.)
So, to not feel left out of knitting group conversations I set out to learn about her. I read everything I could find about her- books, magazine articles, blog postings, etc. The one thing that remained out of reach for me was her famous and well-loved book, “Knitting Without Tears”. Countless of knitters learned and even re-learned to knit from the pages of this knitting holy grail. I was determined to find it and read it myself.
To my surprise, after almost a year of being constantly checked out at the library, I was able to take it home and have my own knitting ‘awakening’.
From some of the previous work I’ve read I was already use to Elizabeth’s straightforward and trademark opinionated style. Even though I can’t wear wool myself, I respected her views on wool verses synthetics. The book was full of helpful advice. But I hit a snag when it came to her topic of knitting techniques.
I loved when she stated, “there is no wrong way to knit…”, but the next few lines were like a dagger through my little knitted heart. “…although there is one way that is nearly wrong. I mean Backwards, or Looking-Glass Knitting. It is not wrong in effect, as its proponents or shall we say victims?- turn out perfectly creditable garments. But they work in a void of noncommunication, cut off from all run-or-the-mill knitters and nearly all knitting instructions.”
I was speechless after reading her words. Even though she admits to trying to learn the skill herself to avoid purling for an easier ‘stocking-stitch’, she concluded that it wasn’t worth the effort. The grandmother of knitting just made me feel like someone undeserving of the title, ‘knitter’.
So I closed the book and walked to my yarn stash. There laid four newly finished hats, a pair of socks needing the final stitches to complete and a pattern for a sweater that I was in the process of converting to fit my style of knitting.
There, surrounded by my projects, a little voice inside my head said, “you are not a victim. You are a rebel. A marvel to behold. The envy of all knitters who must knit and purl their way through a stockinette stitch sweater”.
Then a thought hit me. I walked back to the book, open the first page and read the copyright date. Copyright 1971! Well, no wonder why she said what she did. I wasn’t even born yet. She had never seen anything like me yet. I laughed at myself, reopened the book and enjoyed the rest of my reading. I realize, Mrs. Zimmermann is the grandmother of knitting, but she is not the final say on the subject. If she could see knitting today she would truly be impressed at its many forms and faces. She may even reconsider learning to knit backwards, and I would be more than honored to teach her.
I picked up this book at my local library. It was among the books for sale and only cost me $0.75. The author, Cilla Ramnek is textile artist whose name you may already know from the fabrics she has designed for Ikea.
Cilla is a crafter not afraid to cross different disciplines and combine them in creative ways. Her designs are original, daring and always off the grid. In short, she is my kind of crazy.
Her book, “Knitprovisation”, is not a pattern book, but an inspiration book. She loosely describes the construction of each garment, but her goal is not to have you copy her work. Her aim is to get you thinking outside the box and give you permission to play. Fearless creativity equals one of a kind kick ass designs.