ghet‧to  /ˈgɛtoʊ/ [get-oh]
–noun, plural -tos, -toes.

  1. a section of a city, esp. a thickly populated slum area, inhabited predominantly by members of an ethnic or other minority group, often as a result of social or economic restrictions, pressures, or hardships.
  2. (formerly, in most European countries) a section of a city in which all Jews were required to live.

[Origin: 1605–15; It, orig. the name of an island near Venice where Jews were forced to reside in the 16th century. Venetian, lit., foundry for artillery (giving the island its name), n. deriv. of ghettare to throw VL *jectāre]

A common argument I had with street youths in D.C. was over the correct usage of the word “ghetto”. Whenever some unfortunate soul (foolishly) tried to “play the race and/or class card”, I set them straight. I love being always right. But, I doubt anyone would argue with my usage of the word tonight. Because, truly, our minivan is as ghettolicious as they get. Behold, in all it’s deadbeat glory:

Yes. That IS flourescent duct tape. My parents are studiously researching proper vehicular information now. So, hopefully, we won’t have to drive this around town for much longer. I mean, c’mon, I snicker at it.

Anyway. Knitting News has a major headline tonight: Simply Knitted Bodice, Makes You Look 10 lbs Thinner. Or… wait, no, that’s my corset. But, still, it rocks. Luckily I had just woven in all the little ends when my parents were getting ready to go grocery shopping. So, I threw it on and bespoke: “Behold My Glory, and Rejoice”.

Well, no. But, it IS a thing of beauty…

And not just because it’s another FO, and thus I can take it off of the Sidebar of Shame (*weeps with joy*). (No, you don’t get to see me in it yet. That honor is being reserved for our glorious “photo shoot” – it’ll just look fantastic knee-deep in mud, covered in lanolin, doncha think?)

Right-o. Tamara is winning the ducky competition so far, just so as you know. I don’t think I shall put a limit on the photos (cuz they’re fun to look at, tehe) or any other limitations than: a) it was taken by the entrant, or b) taken of the entrant. And, yummies, I dug through my stash today and found some white merino/ soy silk top if the winner is opposed to baby alpaca. And, I have white camel down (already spun) and Navajo-Churro wool (roving) if neither of those appeals. Other than that, I really SHALL have to brave a journey into the stash.

In other knitting news, I’ve decided to start over with the Opal that lovely Lynda sent me. The socks I was knitting were not worthy of the yarn they were using. I must try anew. I also came up with a fantastic scheme for the batts she sent me. I’m still working on the tweaking, but it might be called “Nebula”. How does one capture clouds?

Lace. Lace can capture anything. And, you know, lace is one of the reasons I learned to knit. I was thinking about this today, aftering reading this post. I sat there and thought, “How DID I end up this way? With more wool than sense, and tools no one can spell properly?”

Part of it was a deep desire to knit lace. My great-grandmother Addy was famous throughout Missouri for her lace. My grandmother always insisted that I had inherited her mother’s stitching abilities (embroidery) and I had wanted to see if the genes for knitting were there, too.

Another reason I learned to knit was my mistaken choice to learn to spin.

Well, no. Let’s start where it really began…

(rewind 4.5 years)

I started out at Uni as an Anthopology/ Archaeology major. I couldn’t decide which field I preferred, but thought that my abilities “in the field” would be increased by practical knowledge (this actually proved true). My Uni had a Craft Center that I am still enamoured with today. I started out with ceramics and flintknapping. Honest to g-d, I did knap some arrow heads. I made a couple of pots. And, then I saw that they were offering weaving classes. To my downfall.

It became immediately clear to me (and my very own Mephistophiles, aka J) that I was a big big fan of wool. I took every weaving class I could. I did basketry. I even felted. But, alas, the Craft Center wasn’t offering spinning or knitting classes (for lack of teachers). I finally cornered J, because she had sworn in another course that spinning was easier than breathing, and demanded that she to teach me to spin.

And, we all know where that took me. I’m on my second spinning wheel, own a drum carder, should just buy stock in sheep ranches (it might just save me money in the long run), and have wool and alpaca piled and shoved anywhere I can fit a fleece. Soon (actually about a month after I bought my first wheel), I noticed that my handspun was piling up. A LOT. I couldn’t weave it all in a timely manner, but kept producing yarn.

So I finally braved the LYS and asked when their next knitting course would be. My heart broke when they told me “not for another four months” – which they could clearly see, and offered to set me up with private lessons just to keep me from crying on their wool if for no other reason. To be honest, I was a terrible knitter for my first, well, year or two. My knitting was too tight. Then too loose. I dropped stitches and went through periods of such knitting hatred I could barely refrain from using my Clovers as firewood.

But, Y and I had started a Guild (which is another story altogether), and soon I had to offer knitting tutorials/ lessons. My spinning was impeccable, but my knitting – oh, it was awful. I quickly thought, “I need to get better at this, and fast, if I’m going to be teaching”. And that was it. I started a sweater (‘because that’s what knitters do, right?’). It sucked, but I learned on it. I knit socks, hated them, and ripped them out. Again, I learned more. My first pair of mittens were the first project I really liked. Then, I started producing handspun-handknit items and I was sold. And my knitting stash grew (and not just with handspun, anymore)

So, four years and six months after that slighty catastrophic first lesson, here I am. Doomed. But, it’s a good path and a good way to live. And, entirely unexpected. I never saw it coming.

Did you? How did you start? Few of us actually had grandmothers who taught us (mine DID teach me to sew), so we were self-starters. I love learning how other knitters first started… So, this is essentially a meme, list either in the comments or on your blog (you know I love to read ’em ;D) how you started knitting, spinning, or your symbiotic relationship with wool in general.

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