Thursday, January 26, 2012

The One In Which Jenny Is Moved to My (Literal) Sh$t List.

If you've been following my blog you know that I've decided to learn to knit. Except I'm finding out it's way harder than it looks and my scarf that started out with 30 stitches in Row 1 has now grown to 47 stitches. (Somehow I added two more last night when I was "purling.")

Suffice it to say, my scarf has grown to epic proportions and no longer looks like a scarf but more like a shawl. So my funny friend Jenny said I could call it a sharf. Which I thought was completely awesome!

And so I've spent that past two days blogging about my sharf.

My sharfing skills.

My sharfing abilities.

My sharfing expertise.

My sharfing enjoyment.

And how I'm going to give my sharf to my sister.

And then I wrote about Crazy Ed the Knitting God and how in response to his pompous self-righteousness and also his (probably) sociopathic tendencies to tie women up in his basement and use their hair to knit sweaters (thanks a lot for that comment, Tina; I didn't sleep all night.) I announced I was working on a sharf. And had plans to sharf some more when I was done.

And then I got pretty much every woman in the class wishing me luck on my sharf. 

And then my Mom came over to my house and said, "uh, remember how you blogged about your sharf? And you said that guy didn't know what a sharf was? And one of your readers said he probably went home and googled it? Well..... perhaps you better hope he doesn't."

And that would be the point in the evening when my mother handed me a folded piece of paper printed with information from the internet search she did on sharfing;

     1. The feeling that you are barfing out your ass. Occurs 
          frequently after a night of drinking and is usually followed 
          up by dry heaving out your ass.
     2. To have to both shit and barf at the same time.
     3. The act of soiling your pants while vomiting. 
     4. To shit and barf at the same at the same time; a shart will 
          sometimes preclude a sharf.

Crazy Ed will be giving a group lecture on gastrointestinal disorders next week.

I, in turn, will be inviting Jenny to knitting class. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I'll take your vicuña and raise you a sharf.

Last night was my second mad skillz knitting class... I proudly showed off what I had worked on throughout the week:

I'm in the process of getting a cat so I can blame this mess on it. 

I have no explanation. Except that I pulled when I shouldn't have and didn't stop when I should have.

After much laughter at my expense (there was no laughing with me) two women decided I needed help. And lots of it. 

After 45 minutes.... yes, forty-five minutes... the two amazing souls --- yes, TWO WOMEN worked on this mess for FORTY-FIVE MINUTES --- presented me with this:

It's the Holy Grail of Yarn Balls, y'all!

It was like suddenly I was a professional and could conquer all things knitting related! But not really because somehow over the course of time I've acquired fifteen extra stitches that weren't there in the first row. But that's why I'm telling everyone I'm making a sharf (Jenny's term for half scarf- half shawl).

I had assumed the class would be a coffee clutch of 83-year old women who sat knitting tacky colored afghans but our class is filled with people all over the place. A couple younger kids, a high school student and her mother, a bunch of women around my age, and two men. One obviously gay and the other obviously mentally unstable. His name is Ed and he's a freaking genius lacking all acceptable social skills. The man is a living, breathing Wikipedia and never stops talking. I learned about ancient Egyptians and mathematical optimization, as well as 18th century darning techniques and the fact that his blood pressure medicine nearly killed him. (Oh, and he's had six surgeries on his hand. Not all at once; over the course of his lifetime.)

Ed was creating something magical and awesome and told us all about this super expensive yarn with flecks of real gold in it that he purchased in some exotic locale. His project was flawless. He is obviously not a first year student. 

He then looked over at me and my knitting disaster and asked what I was working on. I looked up at him and as serious as ever announced, "Oh, I'm making a sharf...  for my sister." 

"A sharf?" You could see him shuffling through the card catalog in his brain. 

"Yeah, after I make my sister's I've got about three friends who want one, too. I am gonna be busy making sharfs!" (Or would it be sharves?)

Anyway, Ed one-upped me by announcing he had a baby blanket to work on next that would be made from the rare hair fibers of the Vicuña (which live in the upper altitudes of the Andes Mountains and can only be sheered once every three years). 

But I won the battle of the wits because when I left everyone wished me luck on my sharf and you could tell Ed still had no idea what the hell a sharf was, nor was he going to lower his standards and ask what one was. That right there tells you my fellow knitters are awesome. And also that Ed can be somewhat annoying. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Some people want to jump out of airplanes... I just want to make a sharf.

Personally, I'm too chicken to have an exciting bucket list. There is no way you'll find me jumping out of airplanes or bungee jumping into raging waters. It's just not for me. I prefer things a little less death-assuring.

So, I decided to learn how to knit.

Slapped knitting on my bucket list and high-fived myself for finding a free class offered at our local public library. I was on my way!

Let me just say that the class is taught by a lady who really likes knitting. A lot. She is very energetic about knitting. She knows a lot about knitting. And she is very energetic about sharing everything she knows about knitting.

Within seven minutes it was painfully obvious that only 4 of us had never picked up a pair of knitting needles in their lives. The other 16 students were finishing up details on their Winding Cables Pullover Knit Sweaters. Showoffs.

Bound and determined not to fail, I listened, inserted snarky comments loud enough for the lady next to me to snort at, and took my newfound skills home to practice.

It should be noted I am very good at adding stitches.
As the what-started-out-to-be scarf got wider and wider my mother suggested I count my stitches. I was amazed to find out that Row 1 (the one already on the needle when I arrived for my first class; the one the instructor did) had 30 stitches. I was now up to 45. This was going to be the strangest looking scarf ever.

My friend, Jenny, commented that I could call it a sharf: half scarf - half shawl. I think she's genius because now I don't feel like such a loser for messing up a scarf. All  the cool people are wearing sharfs this season. Duh.

I was hoping to get a gold star for Most Practiced so I sat down and, well, practiced. Except just when I was getting into a groove the darn yarn started knotting up. I'm not sure how that was even possible because it wasn't like I was doing cartwheels and somersaults. I mean, I was sitting in a chair, unmoving but for the skillful clacking of my knitting needles (which, by the way, can easily be used as a murder weapon; those suckers are sharp! The irony that I chose to try something just as dangerous as jumping out of a plane is not lost on me). So, there I was, practicing my knitting and I'd try to pull the yarn up from the skein of yarn....

Sidenote: a skein is balled up yarn with a center pull strand (in my case, a defunct center pull strand)... and also what you call a flock of geese flying in a V formation. Keep that in your Trivial Pursuit pocket.

.... anyway, I'd tug on the yarn and out popped a snarly hair ball, well, yarn ball; you get my point. So I called my mom and was all what am I doing wrong? I can't even pull the damn yarn out properly! and she proceeded to tell me about how she had to take a knitting class in 4th grade at their little parochial school she attended and she hated it so much that she skipped class. Of course, it wasn't hard to find her since she was only in the 4th grade and obviously not smart enough venture very far. Anyway, she got in a lot of trouble. But she did learn to knit. And she has learned that sometimes yarn just gets a wee bit tangled and it's easy to undo.

I now have approximately 450 yards of yarn strung all over my living room, dining room and part of my kitchen that is tangled.

It is safe to say the yarn is winning.

I was NOT kidding.