Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Coral Snakes, Twisted and WIPs

I have spent the last few weeks in a funk completely unrelated to my online or fiber life. I find myself slightly behind again on blog reading, commenting and returning emails. On the bright side, my apartment is mostly clean, my shop is mostly stocked, my to-read pile is getting smaller and knitting has happened. This being a knitting blog, happening knitting is a good thing.

Finished Project:

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Project: Coral Snakes Scarf
Pattern: Alexio Ocean Waves Scarf
Yarn: Dyeabolical Yarns Super Ego in color Firefly, 155g
Notes: I widened the scarf by casting on 60 stitches rather than the 36 the orginal pattern calls for. The designer is sheer genius and makes a wicked omelet. The yarn was smooshy and pooled in delightful ways. I highly recommend going to this indie dyer's etsy site and buying all of her yarn. Ahem.

Projects in progress:

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I am so relieved to find the Regia Mosaik socks (left). These were my line and waiting room socks. I finally had to cast on a new pair from Rio de la Plata (right) to throw in my bag until these socks decided to reveal where they were hiding.

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I finished the second sleeve of the reverse stockinette Oat Couture sweater. I love the softness and drape of the yarn I'm using (Plymouth Jeanee, 50 cotton/50 acrylic) but it shows every tension problem. You can see I am rowing out pretty badly. I'm not quite sure what to do about it. If every other row had loose tension I could use two different size needles. This is more a case of not maintaining even tension throughout the row, possibly because I get bored halfway through the row possibly because I am not paying enough attention to what my hands are doing. I thought I had this problem licked by switching to combination knitting. Guess not. The good news is that washing the pieces will help some of the tension issues. This sweater is supposed to be a comfortable throw in the washer and dryer and lay around the house sweater so it doesn't matter as much if it isn't perfect. There is miles and miles of stockinette to improve my tension on. And finally, if I decide it is too horrible I have plenty of yarn to reknit the sleeves with.

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This morning I decided I will never finish the Irish Diamond Shawl. I love the pattern, but I am about 30% through and the rows are already 400 stitches and take 15 minutes to knit on the lace side. I'm not even sure I like the color. I marked it "frogged" on Ravelry and shoved needles and everything in a bag and hung it up on a hook to be forgotten about until such time that knitting a teal lace table cloth sounds appealing.

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My plan for the rest of the day is to jump start the star project. Have you tried knitting a small intarsia star before? I'm finding the shape of the star isn't suited well for the geometry of knitting. That explains the lack of knitted star charts, too. I have had these designs brewing in my head for so long that I'm determined to work it out.

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I have fallen out of love with the Noro Sakura side-to-side cardigan jacket by Adrienne Vittadini (left). I am thinking about ripping it and casting on for the Falkenberg-esque DROPS side-to-side cardigan (right). I have to think about this some more. I'm not even sure I like the color of the yarn, but it is a matter of principle. How could I have possibly have walked past a sweaters worth of Noro yarn at 40% off and not purchased it regardless of what color it was?

Shop talk:

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I added a new yarn to my etsy shop yesterday. This new yarn is a 4-ply DK weight merino. 1 of the 4 plies takes the dye up faster than the other 3 plies giving it an interesting barber pole look. I love this yarn and the way it knits.

I did a few things differently with this yarn. About half of the batch was dyed in 200g skeins, the rest in 100g skeins. Each 100g has 260 yards and sells for $18. The 200g skeins are 520 yards and sell for $36. I used a dyeing technique a little different than I normally do. This technique created skeins that have more variation from skein to skein, but those variations are subtle and subdued rather than the bright and colorful like my normal colorways.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Book Meme

Lifted from non-knitting blog friends.

1. Which book(s) do you irrationally cringe away from reading, despite seeing only positive reviews?

I rarely see exclusively positive reviews of any book or books.

I get a lot of recommendations for wordy 600+ page sci-fi/fantasy multi-volume tomes from friends who read fast like freaks. These books often start off the first 200 pages with so much detail and twisty plot that I can't follow it enough in the 20 minutes of bed reading to get in to it. I also generally dislike any fiction that assumes you know what the world is about and who the people are without any introduction at all. While these books might be valuable in their own way and while I may come to love them if I have the time, my reading time is limited and my to-be-read pile is alarmingly tall.

2. Borrowing shamelessly from the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde, you are told you can't die until you read the most boring novel on the planet. While this immortality is great for a while, eventually you realize it’s past time to die. Which book would you expect to get you a nice grave?

If I said what I really mean in response to this question there would be an uproar among my geeky friends. Geeks every where would stop talking to me. For this reason, I choose instead War and Peace. Maybe it is the most fascinating book in all creation, but it's long and would at least take me a good little while to get through it.

3. Which book have you pretended, or at least hinted, that you’ve read, when in fact you’ve been nowhere near it?

I know 3 authors in real life. I have friends who buy me books they think I will like and expect me to read them in a timely manner. [I promise I do. Don't stop buying me books.] I sell books. I converse casually with a few authors of knitting books. So you see, I cannot really answer this question, either. Suffice it to say that bears might get me if the truth were to come out.

4. You’re interviewing for the post of Official Book Adviser to some VIP (who’s not a big reader). What’s the first book you’d recommend and why?

Stop Hiring Failures--by Steven Springer. Amazon.com tells me it is a good book. What does The VIP expect from someone who is also not a big reader? Seriously, Mr/s. VIP, hire someone who reads a decent amount, not just someone who wishes she read more.

If I were recommending books I have actually read that weren't knitting books or mind candy, For her own good: Two centuries of the experts advice for women by Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English, Intimate Matters: A history of sexuality in America by John D'Emilio and Estelle Freedman and The invention of heterosexuality by Jonathan Katz. These books formed the cornerstones of many a sociology/anthropology/history paper in college. They are quick reads that give a valuable look back at the way sexuality, gender and politics are intertwined and manipulated in America.

I would also make The VIP read Casts Off by Stephanie Pearl McPhee and Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmerman. It is so much easier to sort out very important priorities while doing a bit of knitting.

5.A good fairy comes and grants you one wish: you will have perfect reading comprehension in the foreign language of your choice. Which language do you go with?

Japanese and not just because I want to read Japanese amigurumi and lace patterns.

6. A mischievous fairy comes and says that you must choose one book that you will reread once a year for the rest of your life (you can read other books as well). Which book would you pick?

I usually end up re-reading one Harry Potter book, one Diana Gabaldon book and one Stephanie Pearl McPhee book every year anyway.

7. I know that the book blogging community, and its various challenges, have pushed my reading borders. What’s one bookish thing you ‘discovered’ from book blogging (maybe a new genre, or author, or new appreciation for cover art – anything)?

You mean there is life outside knitting blogs? Do podcasts about comic books count? There is one thing I discovered--audio books. They have been around for years and years, but I just this year started listening to them.

8. That good fairy is back for one final visit. Now, she’s granting you your dream library! Describe it. Is everything leather-bound? Is it full of first edition hard covers? Pristine trade paperbacks? Perhaps a few favourite authors have inscribed their works? Go ahead – let your imagination run free.

The books in my perfect library would include a hefty reference section on any topic that might come up, knitting pattern and technique books, books of legal theory, graphic novels and trades, comfort fiction and serious, but important novels. There probably would not be many biographies, but there would probably be a lot of books about how people lived in the Victorian and post-Reconstruction eras. All of these books would hardbacked, spiral bound to lay flat, fit nicely in to my book holder, have large pages and have the text divided in to easy to read at a glance columns, all of which would make for easier reading while knitting. Priorities, you know...

Friday, April 11, 2008

PSA, Ravelry, Snakes on a Scarf

PSA #1: Know the boundaries of your own vehicle and embrace the power of personal space for both driver and vehicle.

PSA #2: Pulling right up on someone's rear is rude, be it while parking, driving, or heavens forbid, biking or walking.

PSA#3: If you don't know the boundaries of your own vehicle and hit the girl in front of you while waiting in line at the drive thru, don't be an asshole and say "No I didn't hit your car you stupid bitch! Now pull the fuck forward!"

PSA #4: If you are that girl, don't immediately run in to the drive thru wall while pulling the fuck forward.

My insides shook for about 2 hours afterwards, but I am fine. The car is fine, minus a tiny little bit paint. The drive thru wall is fine. The employee at the window assures me that I am not the first or last to run in to that wall today. If he would have just leaned his head out, waved and apologized for bumping me it would not have been an issue. But today...it just capped off an already crappy day and it was only 11AM. I am getting a little sick of having really good reasons to cuss in my blog, too. How about some nice knitterly things?

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I sold this bit of scarf and the rest of the ball right off my needles. That sounds so rockstar cool when I say it like that, like someone came up and begged me to buy the very yarn I was knitting with. In reality, 7-letter Deborah liked the skein with just a little bit of yellow which I considered seconds better than the more vibrant yellow firsts so I took my needles out and handed it to her. Here is the same scarf started with a new skein. See? More yellow.
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Me likes it. I cast on starting at a different spot in the repeat to see how it would affect pooling. Do you see the difference? Poppymom pointed out that it looks more like coral snakes than fireflies. I am going to try not remember she said that while the scarf is around my neck. I probably just lost a bunch of sales from people with snake phobias, didn't I?

The pattern I'm using, Scott's Alexio Ocean Waves (love that man), which was linked in Lime & Violet's Daily Chum yesterday! Thanks, V! Thanks adminnie!

If you are interested in getting a skein of Firefly all for yourself for FREE, check out the "10 Lousy Bucks" group on Ravelry. For every $10 donation to Ravelry to help offset the costs of this great website, you will have a chance to win some pretty cool prizes. I donated 4 oz. of the merino/tencel "Can't Hit the Side of A..." colorway to the dream fiber stash and a gift certificate for a free skein of Dyeabolical Yarns. You know Ravelry, you use Ravelry, go donate! :)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Zig, then Zag

I have teh dumb. Over a year ago I poured over Scott's Alexio scarf pattern trying to fix any errors before we went live with it. Then I took it down for a bit while we reworked the copyright notice on it and then four months ago I, in spectacular fashion, posted a draft of the scarf pattern back up online for everyone to see. A draft, people. As in the wrong pattern. The correct version is back up now. I am so sorry for anyone who tried to knit this thing and gave up. If you find any additional errors or questions, please email me at stlrachelknits at gmail dot com. I will blush 18 shades of red, humbly apologize and then fix it.

I don't think there are any errors, though. Just to be sure, I knit 3 repeats using a skein of Firefly that didn't come out as yellow as I was hoping. I love the pooling. I love the sproingy yarn. I love it. I love it. I love it. I am so glad I let Scott talk me in to this color combination.

[P.S. I cast on 60 stitches for this width.]

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Monday, April 7, 2008

Etsy Update

I am updating etsy later today. I love how this batch came out. I am really excited about the new "Firefly" color. When Scott proposed the color combination, I was hesitant, but oh! Oh! It takes a little longer to dye than the other colors, but it is so worth it.

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Friday, April 4, 2008

Godzilla Knits

I haven't looked at my site stats lately. I am apparently quite popular with fibermyalgia* sufferers who like to knit entrelac shawls** and love Kauni yarn. Happily, there are a lot of various ways people are searching for Scott's Ocean Wave Scarf pattern.

I also have a lot of hits for "bald girl" both with and without quotes, one "bald girl comics" and one "+'bald girl' -britney -britney". Every single month without fail at least three people (or the same person three times) types in "bald girl"both with and without quotes and gets this post. It is somewhat alarming if you consider that googling "bald girl" with and without quotes doesn't turn up my blog in the first 30 pages of search results. Someone is going through over 30 pages to find where I mentioned the words "bald girl" once. Dude! Obsess much?

Other interesting ways people have found my blog:

"f*ck off I'm knitting"--[I put the asterisk in because the combination of "f*ck" and "bald girl" might cause our obsessed internet searcher harm. Back to the topic at hand, so to speak...]I know exactly what these folks were searching for. It is a coffee mug from Cafe Press and it is sitting right here next to me right now. See?
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"44D breasts pic"--Some yahoo was told by his anonymous internet girlfriend that she was a 44D. He can't figure out how big that is. It is somewhat disturbing that after looking at 25 pages of search results my blog still doesn't come up. How many pages did you look at before you found an obscure reference, Mr. 44D? Dude, if you go to "image search" on Google you would get better results. You don't need to come to my blog for that. [Don't ever do an Google image search for any topic at work or in front of the delicate without the SafeSearch feature turned on. Not ever. People can make porn out of anything.]

"all kinds of landslide pictures"--Not just a particular kind of landslide picture. ALL kinds. I don't remember ever writing about landslides.

"buffy zombies" and "comics godzilla"--Welcome friends! I just watched the Buffy zombie episode yesterday and look at my great new godzilla t-shirt:

Day 17: Godzilla is a whiner.

"godzilla moth"--I think a godzilla-moth hybrid is my new irrational fear.

"I hate f**king fibromyalgia"--Me, too.

"godzilla in clothes"--Uh.

"lolcat godzilla"--Enough with the godzilla already.

"Mystical Creations Yarn"-- Bwahahahaha! [ETA: Er, I mean, I don't find the whole mental aspect of the drama funny in any way, but the rubbernecking and thousands and thousands of posts have been amusing to watch.]

"Should I wash my swatch"--YES. Emphatically yes.

"Use apron in a sentence"--You just did.

"Things that are girly"--You're looking at the wrong blog.

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*I like to believe my fibermyalgia post led fibromyalgia sufferers to spell their disease correctly.
**The title of that post is Entrelac Shawl and Master Knitting Course. One is an FO. The other....is not.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Dyeabolical Update

This morning I woke up early and started rewinding skeins. Then I went to work and talked to a dozen high school girls about spinning and knitting (fun!), worked at the shop, redid a display or two, skipped lunch, went on a futile search for the perfect cardstock color, rewond some more skeins, ate dinner, went to Walgreens in search of something that would work for a backdrop, took pictures, made labels, labeled, uploaded pictures and now blogged because Ann says I NEVER update. As if! :)

Half of these are going to Knitorious tomorrow afternoon. The other half are going up on etsy sometime tomorrow. As for me, I'm going to BED (it's 2:40 am!) and I'm sleeping in and when I wake up I'm drinking coffee, knitting on a sweater and THAT'S IT! (besides going to Knitorious and updating etsy, that is). It will be like a day off except for the working part and I love it!

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