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Apr 27 2006

Twisty: Woman of Fiber

As a special treat for all you knitters (if you’re not one, you wouldn’t believe how many thousands of patriarchy-blamers knit in their spare time. Redneck Mother, for instance, can knit an entire hat in, like, five minutes. I have the hat to prove it), I thought I’d share my first ever knitting project, which, after many months of intense labor, I finally completed today. I call it “Yarn-Covered Stick.”

And you thought I was just a one-twist pony.

[Many thanks to my excellent friend Liza for supplying me with the gorgeous yarn and needles. I'll email you soon!]

61 comments

  1. dogged.

    YES! WE HAVE YOU. Those are some fly needles, btw.

  2. Lauren

    YEAH!

    And that yarn and those needles are awfully pretty. Do tell us unapologetic yarnporn lovers what they are.

  3. Pony

    There’s something wrong. I went to the link, linked something from there and ended up on a blog where someone calling herself a feminist is all angst about writing a post to attract more men to feminism, but having put one off instead. AMATEUR I cried on my way out.

    I see now why you picked Bert out of his batch of sibs. You’re both so gifted.

  4. lavalamp

    The piece’s cool minimalism is fraught by its own subtextual crankiness

  5. beentsy

    Excellent. Our knitterly plan for world domination continues apace! Mwahahahahahahahah. BTW, are those walnut Brittany needles? Sweet.

  6. Aryja

    That yarn is enough to make me delurk. Do you know what brand it is and whether or not it is available outside of one single lone yarnshop in texas?

    Acrylic yarns are a tool of the patriarchy.

  7. FaerieDust

    Knit the first row! That’s the hardest. Yes, it looks funky, that first row, but believe in the knitting–it’s right even if it doesn’t look a thing like knitting. After the first row, it’s a snap.

    Lovely yarn and beautiful needles :)

  8. liveparadox

    oOooh. Wonderful needles. I dream about needles like that.

  9. norbizness

    Hill Country Weavers! South Congress! Spend all your discretionary income there now or people like Lauren will not be satisfied with your level of commitment! Knit a pick-up truck cozy! TELL THE PEOPLE!

  10. karenology

    Great start with the needles and the gorgeous yarn. Now consider yourself armed with stabby sticks with which to poke out the eyes of patriarchal scumbags. Yeah!

    Also – knittinghelp.com is an indispensable site for the beginning stabby-stick wielder, as it features instructional videos on just about all the basics.

  11. jennifer

    Okay, you’ve GOT to fess up on those needles and yarn.

  12. ae

    Maybe Bert could use “Yarn-Covered Stick” in one of his installations?

  13. AntipodeanKate

    Heh. I thought I’d stumbled on the wrong blog for a moment there. And then I read your post below and heaved a huge sigh of relief. Still blaming! Phew.

  14. Sara

    The colors are pretty. And I concur that the needles involved are sweet even though I find I do not covet them because I know full well that I cannot knit five rows without fucking something up and had better stay away from all such implements no matter how cunningly and temptingly fashioned they may be.

    I like crochet. One stick, not two. Much less grace and/or alertness required.

  15. redneckmother

    Excellent. Another one has come over to our side. I second Norbiz’ shout-out for Hill Country Weavers because the owner’s sweet dog has the run of the store. I would love to know what that yarn is. Will Yarn-Covered Stick morph into a scarf? Bert sweater? Arm warmers? (Please no arm warmers.)

    Pony, it’s true that not every blogger can blame like Twisty. She sets the bar so high it broke the mold, or something along those lines.

    In all seriousness with respect to knitting, there is something liberating and subversive about understanding garment construction and putting it to use, for oneself or one’s friends and family, to suit individual bodies and tastes. It’s a finger (or a needle) in the eye of the corporations shipping us our bland wardrobes from the Northern Marianas.

  16. Pony

    I’m probably going to get a poke in the eye here–but I really can’t understand the eagerness to confront one who is a belladona in her chosen art, and trying to force her to take up a *your* art. Leave our writer alone. If this knitting gets in the way of any blaming, you’ll have the Twisterosi to deal with. Capice?

  17. AntipodeanKate

    I second redneckmother. Making your own stuff is a cool, if fairly low-key way, of sticking it to the man.

  18. Betsy

    Gawh! dang! Do *all* the cool people live in Austin?!

  19. schatze

    I haven’t knit in ages. I made several hats and one sweater as my homage to the knitting tradition. I remember my friend’s mother, knitting away on a long drive. She didn’t even have to look at her work and she was smokin’ fast. I was in awe and realized what a piker I was. I got very good at picking up dropped stitches, though. Do keep this away from the puppy who will have way too much fun with your very hard work.

  20. Sasha

    Those Brittney needles are georgeous but hard on the hands. I’m a bamboo afficionado myself. And knitting, unlike crochet, provides its mistress with two weapons at the ready. A huge plus.

    I, who spin as well as knit, hadn’t realized until tonight that I am sticking it to the patriarchy whilst I wallow in fiber. A twofer.

    Nicely done, Ms. Faster.

  21. Kate

    “The piece’s cool minimalism is fraught by its own subtextual crankiness.”

    Exactly what I was thinking. Thanks Lava for affirming my thoughts.

    Then Karen says: “Now consider yourself armed with stabby sticks with which to poke out the eyes of patriarchal scumbags. Yeah!”

    And Pony about the amatuer blogger.

    In all the posts about all the serious stuff, everyone’s comments truly are the best on this right here.

    And then Redneckma says: “In all seriousness with respect to knitting, there is something liberating and subversive about understanding garment construction and putting it to use, for oneself or one’s friends and family, to suit individual bodies and tastes. It’s a finger (or a needle) in the eye of the corporations shipping us our bland wardrobes from the Northern Marianas.”

    I love you people, all of you. You make my life bright, honestly.

    My father took my mother away, so I never learned to sew, knit or crochet and believe me, when I was a po’ po’ po’ mama, such skills would have made our survival a little less harsh. The patriarch in my family crippled me by denying me my mother. Bastard.

    You guys are gonna make me all weepy now. Damn. The finest truths often arise from the simplest origins.

    My girls learned how to crochet, knit and sew from other women willing to pass on the art. Thanks to all the out there women willing to share what they know.

  22. Malibu Stacy

    Delurking to admit guilt and shame for having done nothing needly for at least the past six years (I blame the Republicans). But, as Twisty’s photos always tempt me toward something, whether it’s food or nostalgia for Austin and Airstreams, I’m determined to return to the fold. As Elizabeth Zimmerman is my witness, I will never go woolless again!

  23. Annie

    I’m a needlework slackass. Crocheted for awhile in the 70s, don’t remember the 80s, tried again in the nineties, took up Photoshop in 2000. I think photo editing gives me more immediate gratification while still bringing me into that altered state that some of my more knitterly friends report after a few hours on the needles. The yarn and needles pictured above are lovely enough to make me want to try again though.

  24. Amber

    Aha! Another blamer to add to our radfemblo knit posse. That looks awfully ambitious for a first project. Sock yarn and teensy needles? And walnut Brittanys (so it appears) no less. I’m impressed, but why would I expect any less from Twisty.

    Also I second Knitting Help.com. It taught me everything I know.

  25. antiprincess

    those needles are sweet. don’t lose them or break them – I don’t think Brittany makes them anymore and they’re hard to find.

  26. Sara

    What an excellent point, Redneck Mother. I never thought of it that way.

    Fortunately for those of us who are not nimble of finger or deft of mind enough ever to get to the point where we don’t have to think about it every minute, this individual-scale rebellion-on-a-whim can also be enacted with one stick, not two,

  27. Sara

    Oh, and naturally I blame the patriarchy for all the women whose lives have been utterly gobbled up by homely arts they didn’t choose and couldn’t just pick up and put down whenever they felt like it, unlike us spoiled hobbyist types who don’t even have to get very good at the pastimes we toy with (though, of course, it’s always more fun when we do).

  28. PoliSi

    I can’t have wooden needles ’cause my dog thinks it’s very nice of Mom to get her nifty sticks to chew, then there’s splinters in the project even if you can pick it back up with new needles.

    I find I prefer to knit everything on circular needles, makes it easier to knit in confined spaces like busses and planes without smacking your neighbors with the ends of the needles.

    (I can’t believe this is the post/topic that finally made me register.)

  29. teffie-phd

    Radical feminist knitting circle anyone?

  30. weeza

    I, personally, would be delighted to read Ms Twisty’s take on this: http://knitty.com/ISSUEfall05/PATTbits.html
    and this: http://knitty.com/ISSUEwinter04/PATTwomb.html

    Mine was ‘gobsmacked’. Though filled with lead shot I daresay they might make fairly efficient defensive weapons.

  31. Amber

    Teffie, let’s do it.

  32. Pony

    Amber, Teffie-phd

    They are very lefty political and I believe sprung out of the New Democratic Party in Canada:

    http://knitting.activist.ca/

  33. Pony

    I love this from their introduction:

    “(Some of us feel that macrame is not a tool for social change…)”

    As some of you may remember, macrame didn’t cut it and we’re still here.

  34. Mandos

    I’m fascinated by knitting and it seems so wonderfully mathematical to me. However, my patience with long projects is rather low. If it’s not done in an hour I want to do something else.

  35. Pony

    Mandos

    You’re right about the mathematical connection. (Why I can’t knit. I’m a complete math retard).

    Check here for some cool guy projects:

    http://www.knitty.com

  36. trope

    Whoa, Liza. You supply great materials.
    And Twisty, this is great news! Pointy sticks and string make great tools and/or weapons. As for knitting circles, some of them can get downright revolutionary. (Some, unfortunately, are still in the thrall of the patriarchy. Watch out for the folks knitting kittens onto sweaters.)

  37. Mandos

    Poor kittens!

  38. antiprincess

    in Anne MacDonald’s great book “No Idle Hands”, I seem to remember that she mentions that the hand-knitting industry in England was closed to women in the early days of the Industrial Revolution – all knitting done for pay was done by men, even prior to the invention of knitting machines for mass production. (Women did knit, but only items for home use.) I also seem to remember a reference to Egyptian shepherds knitting while tending the flocks.

    I knew a fellow once who figured out how to knit while riding his bicycle on long trips.

  39. Ron Sullivan

    I think those knitted tittens came up in the conversation here once last year. At least I think that’s why they look familiar.

    I am to knitting pretty much as a male _______ is to feminism: supportive, even enthusiastic, but strictly a nonproductive flaunter of the product. In fact, I can’t wear wool much because it itches, so I guess I’m mostly a supporter of the radical silk-n-cotton-n-weekend-ramie pholosophical tendency.

    However, I can wear the Raw Chicken Viking Hat (in wool) with near impunity, as seen here in Janis’ blog if you scroll down to July 5. Below that one is Lily the Saint Bernard in a festive hat of her own. Dog ‘n’ yarn lovers can rejoice in that too.

    The guy across the table from me in the photo is not Joe, by the way. In fact, I don’t remember who he is, among other things that day. Jerry “Bourgeois FUCK” Jones throws a good party.

    Y’all have seen the motorcycle over at Majikthise on April 26, right?

  40. Ron Sullivan

    Mandos, Mandos, Mandos. For the record, I think I saw what you saw: playful kitten in ball of yarn getting incorporated into really big sweater. Clothing that purrs might be fun, though.

    Ideas like that are one reason I can’t be entirely againsg genetic engineering in theory, though I do think the way the ag half of it is currently practiced sucks big slimy slugs.

  41. dogged.

    Pony, I am a total mathtard as well. Take it from me: it’s no barrier to the knitting! (well, sometimes. But mostly not.)

    Tthe knitted boobs and womb did come up here last year, but they absolutely pale next to this latest interpretation of the female anatomy: http://www.lionbrand.com/stories/theUterusProject.html

    Well, why not knit a uterus for a friend who’s recently had a hysterectomy and FILL IT WITH CHOCOLATE KISSES? Perfectly rational thing to do.

  42. Pony

    My plan is to run interventions before women have hysterectomies. Since about 99.9 per cent of hysterectomies are unnecessary, and the majority of those include unncessary CASTRATION.

    But pass the chocolate anyway. I’ll bite while I peruse this site:

    http://www.hersfoundation.com/effects.html

    P.S.
    I have a lovely set of bamboo needles (and exquisite yarn) gathering dust. Takers?

  43. Amber

    Pony what kind of yarn are we talking, here? And that uterus is just, ugh. Bad taste. Then again it IS the Lion Brand site.

  44. literaryglam

    Glorious yarn, gorgeous needles. I’m so glad you’re knitting! (Well, I’m just glad if anyone knits. We knitters are like that.) If you feel like chucking it across the room because it’s going too slowly, though, sometimes it’s a good idea to start with thicker yarn and bigger needles. That said, I can’t begrudge you for starting with the tools to make something really, really lovely.

    Keep knitting and keep blaming!!

  45. Pony

    It’s wool, sport weight, a violet colour. I bought it at a boutique yarn shop. But I don’t think it’s like anything I see you using. It was six balls which I’ve rolled and re-rolled into three balls. I had to do something with it! I don’t remember the brand. I liked the bamboo needles. They are five double-point size 3.25 mm.

    There may be more. I gave some to my neighbour, who probably has not used it. That would be a lighter tone, same yarn and colour.

  46. Amber

    You’re right, that’s not for me.

  47. Pony

    As it turned out, it wasn’t for me either! I have no clue.

  48. Burrow Klown

    Muahahahahaha

    Knit knit revolution!!!!

  49. Rana

    Mwah! Forget the patriarchy! You’ve been absorbed into the knitarchy! *wink*

    For your knitting pleasure: radical knitting, a knitted uterus (much cuter than the chocolate-filled one), and knitted vulvae.

  50. Pony

    Beyond tasteless. Not to mention, anatomically incorrect.

  51. Mel

    In honor of your installation, I went out and bought two pair of Brittany knitting needles. Can’t find that luscious yarn, though. I wonder if I could knit a vulva cozy…

  52. barlyru

    Lookit women, FOCUS. I need the name of that yarn. Unless it is sport weight or smaller, in which case I can’t be bothered. Who can even see a needle smaller than size 6? I’ve tried knitting with the toothpicks. It makes my hands cramp up. And yes, I will schlepp my ass down to HCW to buy it, if that is where it came from. I love all ya’ll, b.t.w.

  53. barlyru

    Dammit! I forgot to blame the patriarchy for making me desire to knit socks and therefore making my hands cramp from holding the toothpicks. cramps. that is a really weird word, now that i look at it all typed out. It sounds weird, too. Cramps.

  54. bitter-girl.com

    I don’t even like straight needles and those are gorgeous!

    Speaking of the knitted wombs, I curated a gallery show here in January with MK Carroll’s original knitted womb and those from the Wombs on Washington project, among others. See:

    http://assemblegallery.com/index.php?subject=events&sub=0601_altfiber

    Now, if only we could get you spinning, dearest Twisty, you could live up to your name…

  55. Pony

    I have The Dinner Party book. I saw the installation. I loved it. But *knitted* vulva?

  56. Amber

    Barlyru-
    No need to knit socks with toothpics. Knit them on one long circular needle instead, and then you can knit BOTH at the same time as well. It’s the ONLY way to knit socks. You use the magic loop method, videos found here (under small diameter circular knitting). More resources for knitting socks on a long circ are here. It’s easier than it looks, and you’ll be hooked once you start this way, trust me.

  57. Rana

    Technically, they are crocheted. Heh.

  58. barlyru

    Thank you, Amber! My friend has been high on the magic loop method for awhile but I haven’t yet forced her to show me how. I’m not sure “magic” is really a strong enough word to describe this technique. I have bookmarked the linx you posted. I don’t really mind dpn’s but Hate anything smaller than about size 5. Anyway, thanks again.

  59. syfr

    ooo- violet yarn! Pony, if no one else wants it, I will take both it and the needles.

    you can reach me at syfr0 at juno dot com

  60. Amy

    You are my inspiration! That is the most fantastic post I have ever read!

    Let Yarn-Covered Stick be the yardstick of all our achievements!

    PS: My mum always made me garter stitch into the back of the stitch when knitting the first row. Apparently it eliminates the loopiness on your first row.

  61. Twisty

    “My mum always made me garter stitch into the back of the stitch when knitting the first row. Apparently it eliminates the loopiness on your first row.”

    I have no idea what this means, but it sounds like great advice!

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