Monday, June 29, 2009
It seems like the knitting I've been doing for the past two days is all about fixing, so I'm not really getting ahead of the game.
I decided I could not live with the funky stitches on the Chickami, so I ran lifelines. After picking and ripping, I determined that grafting was not necessarily going to make me happy, either, since the single row of grafted stitches was likely to be at a slightly different gauge, and when you are working in a solid color mostly cotton yarn, it's pretty visible. So, I've decided to put it back on the needles and knit down from the upper lifeline using the yarn from the bottom section. Let's hope that works.
Yesterday, when picking up my nearly finished Green Gable, I noticed one wonky little stitch just under the lace panel. Since I'd already bound off the bottom, I had to undo the edge and ladder back to fix the splitty stitch. (I'd missed two plies of the Cotton Fleece, and the stitch was all scrawny as a result. It bugged me to no end.) That bit of surgery was actually a pretty quick fix, and all I have left is the second sleeve cap.
Yesterday I also cast on for Orion's Sock. This was a case of "I should have listened to myself." The pattern is toe-up, and calls for a cast-on of 28 stitches, 14 on each needle. I thought to myself, "Hmmm...when working cuff-down, I usually decrease to 16 or 20 stitches, 8 or 10 on each needle. This seems like a shallow, wide toe." Guess what...it was. Since I'd only knit one pair toe up before, I didn't question the pattern, at least not enough to change things from the outset. I was in denial for a few inches of toe and foot, then took an inevitable trip to the frog pond. I think I'm going to cast on again tonight and follow my own plan until I get to the correct number of stitches around.
The question of whether one is a process or product knitter comes up a lot. I've come to realize that for me, I can't have a product I'm happy with unless I complete the process to my own satisfaction. Which reminds me, there was something about the bind off on the Green Gable that was a little off...
Saturday, June 27, 2009
The label on a skein of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece warns of color migration, but this is color exodus. I won't know until it dries, but the color of the garment seems not to be significantly different. I've noticed runoff with my other Cotton Fleece projects, but this was beyond the pale. It's a warning to not use Cotton Fleece for multi-colored projects, to be sure. (I'd thought about a striped tank using leftover bits and skeins, but that is officially off the table after this!) It also means that if I do perform surgery, I will pre-wash the yarn I use for it so that it exhausts some of its color, too. (FYI, the colorway is Sedona Red, which is a rusty red.)
I was down in the Craft Dungeon on Friday playing with more yarn and dye. I almost always listen to NPR, and they had some of the more interesting commentary about Michael Jackson. Since we are so close to Gary, IN, the local news has been out of control. Actually, all the news has been. I watched CBS Friday night, and Katie Couric paused for--no joking--maybe 4 minutes to report on something other than the death of Michael Jackson. As someone who came of age in the 70s and 80s, he was ever-present. I loved the Jackson 5 cartoon when I was a kid. I remember watching the Motown 25th Anniversary special and being amazed. My senior year, I was in something called AV Homeroom; it meant that we "produced" our morning TV show, but more importantly, we got to go to the AV room during study hall and watch MTV. Seriously. 1983-84-era MTV in instead of actual study hall? Clearly, a first-rate education was had. I knew every video in MTV's rotation by heart, including his. I must say, however, that the bizarre behavior, the disfiguring plastic surgery, and the legal issues turned me off to him. I do still love some of the old Jackson 5 hits (especially The Love You Save and ABC), although it's sad to think that whatever was happening to him then caused much of the strangeness in his later life.
I'm getting very excited about Sock Summit. I just picked my colors for the Orion Sock. I'm going to use Oregon Red Clover Honey and Crabby McHappyPants. I think the ORCH--which I love, love, love for its subtle shading and sophistication--will be a good foil for the brightymcbrightington-ness off CMcHP. Don't know if I'll get them done for SS, what with the four bazillion Chickamis and other warm-weather tops I still plan to make this summer. (I know some folks are taking things quite seriously and concocting sock-y costumes of sorts for the Sock Hop. I'm not likely to be one of them.) I need to get cracking on my homework for Meg Swansen's class, too. Plus, I'm looking forward to some quality time in Portland with the husband, who has been working way too much lately.
Friday, June 19, 2009
We are in the midst of another thunder and lightning storm--best time to be on a computer, right? Clearly my plans to go to Home Depot to shop for perennials are going to be scrapped in favor of building an ark, it is raining that hard. (Tough to build that ark without going to Home Depot, first, though, not coming from survivalist background.) It's also hailing big, bouncy pieces of ice which I always find a bit freaky. There are police and fire sirens all around (not uncommon when you live in the city, even if it is a generally calm neighborhood), which adds to the apocalyptic vibe. Oddly, the Weather Pixie down there on the left of the screen is wearing a sundress that shows a lot of leg and is calmly holding her umbrella, seemingly enjoying the deluge. Any Weather Pixie in her right mind would have taken cover, as her little black cat companion has already done. (I worry about the Weather Pixie; I think she has been behaving a little strangely of late.)
There is a good chance I may finish my Green Gable today. Yesterday I had an all-out panic because I had reached the end of a skein and couldn't find the rest of the yarn. I knew I had bought enough, but it was nowhere to be found. I literally had one inch to go on the body, then a short stretch on each arm to finish. After looking everywhere, I got myself worked into a state that necessitated that I either have to find more yarn or rip the whole thing out. I went online to check the eBay seller I got it from, and it turns out she had a 50% off sale on Cotton Fleece--and Cascade 220, too. She didn't have the color I needed, but, um, well, she had a few others. Whoops. (Her shipping is reasonable, too, just USPS Priority Mail with no extra fees.) Finally, last night around midnight, I went down to the Craft Dungeon to look again. After rifling through bins I had--ahem--carefully organized last week, I found it sitting on my work table, in plain sight. (Well, it was in a grocery bag, so it wasn't that obvious.)
Speaking of which I need to go check the Craft Dungeon. We have not had water issues in this house (at least not any that weren't directly linked to a failing pipe or faucet or toilet), but we did have a backup in the basement of our former condo, which is just a block away. I hope I never have to go through that again. Knock wood, cross fingers, turn around three times and spit, etc.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
I must note that these got to me from Kissimmee, FL in one day, USPS Priority Mail. And, my mailman--who has been hailed here as the nicest mailman ever--thanked me for getting a package! The guy really seems to like his job, even if things are not so great at the Postal Service these days. Mail volume is down (which, from an environmental standpoint is a good thing), and they reported a huge loss last quarter. They're talking about cutting Saturday delivery, and I think a lot of people are concerned about their jobs. (Some of the people who work at my local post office don't seemed to be concerned about their jobs--or much of anything for that matter, but that's another story. I try to avoid the actual post office as much as I can.) All-in-all, when the mail works, it's a pretty great deal.
Anyway, I digress...they are from the same Angel "family" of shoes as these boots that I wore last night when I was slogging around in the rain downtown:
My other 'Vogs are mostly of the 3" heel variety, but I'm kinda feeling the London-y, Punk-era vibe of these right now. Plus, it's still cold here in Chicago, so closed shoes with socks feel pretty good.
Because I know that bathtub drying racks are the BEST, most flattering places to photograph knits, here are some pics of the Chococami:
It was not getting dry on the blocking mat (what with all the moisture in the air and no airflow through the mat), so onto the rack it went. The patterned stitches are starting to "pooch" more as the water evaporates, so maybe it will be okay after all.
Yesterday's Craft Dungeon experiment was pretty cool. I have a veritable smorgasbord of yarn samples, and I wanted to see how they each took color. I took my mini skeins, "labeled" them with a semi-elaborate system of cotton ties, each with a different number of knots corresponding to my list of samples, weighed them, and calculated the depth of shade I was going for. Then they all went into the hot tub together. It was so interesting to see how the characteristics of each yarn changed (undyed yarn looks very different than dyed yarn which "blooms"), and how each fiber took up the color differently. Here are just a few of the mini-skeins strewn across my desk:
If only high school chemistry had been this much fun!
Monday, June 15, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Speaking of the cowl, the Chickadee is one I've wanted to make for some time. I used some of the Malabrigo that I dyed recently, and it is so delish. The pattern is a keeper and has started wheels turning for new ways to use linen stitch. It is a bit time consuming, and because the fabric doesn't have a ton of stretch, it has limitations. However, I love how it can make a yarn, especially one that might have a tendency to pool, do something really fabulous.
On Friday, I posted that I'd decided (somewhat reluctantly) to go to my 25th high school reunion. One of the people I looked forward to seeing was my friend, Bill. We were close all through high school. We hung out, talked on the phone, confided in one another about our respective relationships, took a memorable trip to the Jersey Shore, and kept in touch for a while after graduation. I saw him at our 10-year reunion where we caught up and agreed we should stay in contact, although we didn't because he was in PA and I was in IL, and that's how things often go. This week, I found out that on Friday, the same day I decided to go to the reunion, Bill passed away. I'm going to miss seeing him, giving him a hug, and saying, "We really should stay in touch," even if we weren't actually going to do it.
Friday, June 05, 2009
Here's another goody from the Craft Dungeon. It reminds me of Day Lilies and Oriental Lilies, so I'm calling it Lily Smashup. (Sorry the pic is fuzzy. After owning my camera for years, I finally found the macro settings and then took a cruddy pic anyway.)The color combo is kinda weird, but I like it. It's a pretty thin fingering weight, and there is a lot of it--more than 1300 yds.--so I may make some kind of shawl-y, wrap-y thing with it.
So, after a year of saying I wasn't going to my *significant number* high school reunion, today I found out that an old friend is coming all the way from Estonia to attend. Until a few weeks ago, it had been more than a decade since we'd been in touch. (Ah, the magic of Faceb00k.) We had managed to stay in contact for about 10 years after high school, which is kind of amazing since he was back at home in Sweden (he was a foreign exchange student), and we'd had one of those nasty high school breakups near the end of the year. (I broke up with him (with good reason), returned my prom dress, bought a different dress and then went to the prom with a different guy.) Despite bad feelings on both sides, we managed to patch together a pretty decent friendship before he left the country. (Even thinking about high school feels so, um, high school.) So anyway, I think I'd better suck it up (and suck it in) and go to the reunion. I told my husband that I would eat only iceberg lettuce from now until August 21. I've seen recent pics of some girls from my class, and they look good, some even better than they did back then. The guys...not so much. The whole thing gives me anxiety. High School Reunion, brought to you by the letter X, because without it, you couldn't have Xanax or Spanx, and you're going to need both.
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
I find it fascinating how different they all are. The worsted weight (middle pic) took up the most color and displayed more blended colors, especially greens. The fingering weight (top) came out pretty much as I'd hoped it would. And the Malabrigo (bottom) is the least intense. It's almost Martha Stewart-y in its shading.
Yesterday I was concentrating on blues and greens and blues, fuchsias, and purples. They're still drying. Today, I experimented with green, purple, blue, and orange. I'm pretty pleased with the results, though they are not colors I'd normally put together. Pics to come.
I'm about to run out to the farmers' market that is supposed to be set up in my neighborhood. Last week it wasn't, so we'll have to see. When I get back home I may do some handpainting now that my work table is cleared off.
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
While stash tossing, I also simultaneously continued to experiment with kettle dyeing. Kettle dyeing is much less predictable than handpainting, I've discovered, especially when you use more than three dye solutions or solutions with unpredictable blending results. But mama, that's where the fun is. (Sorry, I may have just planted an earworm.) One experiment was to put three different yarn bases in the same batch. It was amazing to see how the dye take-up was different for each base. Pictures coming soon!
The other night I decided to finally do some sewing, and I started playing around with a bunch of(intentionally) felted sweaters. I got this crazy idea to make a sock shaped bag using the felted material. (Yeah, I own that I had Sock Summit Fever.) So, it's late, and the husband comes down to the craft dungeon to find out what I'm doing. I show him the sock bag and he tells me that I "officially have too much time on my hands."
Sadly, I must report that it is not going to be a good year for the tomatoes. Many of my starts did not do well when they were transplanted to the garden. The weather has been weird here, with big, booming thunderstorms and cold fronts assaulting them. They were all heirloom seedlings, and I just think that some of them aren't as hale and hearty as the more common varieties. Some may hang on, but I'm going to have to buy some replacement plants (horrors!)