Sunday, November 23, 2008

Knit on with confidence and hope

If I were strapped in this contraption as part of a beauty treatment then I think I would have to knit, too. (Found in the LIFE image archive)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Productivity and Predjudice

I have watched all of the Harry Potter movies this week and am beginning the audio books tonight. That must mean gift knitting is well and truly on the way. Between Scott and I we have finished 3 scarfs and have 3 more in progress. I finished a cabled vest with only a yard of yarn to spare. I just need to weave in the ends and give it a wash. 1 pair of socks finished and already on the recipients feet.
Irish Hiking ScarfScott's current project
I made it through the cuff of a glove before I remembered the recipient is allergic to wool. That, of course, made it necessary to go to the yarn store on my day off to buy Rowan Calmer, the best substitute for wool yarn IMO. Scott fell so hard off the yarn wagon while we were there that I think he might have bruised himself were it not for all the yarn he landed on. Lucky for me, some of that yarn will end up as a scarf for me, some a scarf for him and the rest gift yarn. Annie was there the Brooklyn Tweed's stripey Noro scarf. Do you think Jared minds that we call him Brooklyn Tweed as if it were his name? We all fawned over the new Silk Garden colors awhile and with enough cajoling Scott was convinced he wants to knit a 1x1 rib scarf for me.
My Christmas Present
Random Fact about Me--I never knits my own scarves if I don't have to. I keep telling myself that I'm going to knit a scarf that goes all the way around my neck and tied at least once, but so far it hasn't happened. I'm great with the almost scarfs. You know the ones just long enough to go around your neck once but have to be held closed with a pin or button? I don't wear them, but I can crank them out like crazy. The closest I came to making a proper scarf for myself was making two clapotis, one of which I promptly traded with my mom. The second one I made just to prove that I would make a drop stitch scarf out of mohair, good advice and mohair sensitivities be damned. Friends Fiona and Tammie made this scarf for me this past summer. It alternates between Trekking and a very early batch of my own Themyscira. I blocked it a few days ago and have been wearing it around the house despite it being almost 80 degrees in here with the heat off because it is just that neat.
Chevron Scarf

Unfortunately I might cut my holiday knitting short. I don't want to, but work and sample knitting beckons. I have a few new bases I need to test dye, knit and then work up samples. It's part of that yarn thing I love doing so much and I've been letting the new job get in the way. Can I tell you something? I don't like this writing job. I despise the barely literate people I write for. I hate that they have enough money that they can be so lazy as to hire me to do their grunt work. It isn't a hard job, but a frustrating one. On the upside, I can now write a cover letter in 4 seconds flat for any job in any field. I miss my dye pots. I miss my real job. I miss days off. I hate this economy.

Do you know what else gets to me? Stupidity. Earlier this week I was standing in line at Walgreens when there was a coordinated and successful 3-man shoplifting effort. "Shoplifting" doesn't even really convey how coordinated it was or how much they must have gotten away with. These guys were good. After they got away, the cashier didn't call the manager. "What could he do? They've already gotten away," she said. Scott was waiting in the car so I didn't strangle her right then and there for being stupid, but I did pay with a check so the police could find me if they needed a witness statement. Yannow, in case she actually ever reported to her employer that her employer was ripped off.

Today I was going to check out at the grocery store and saw this sign in front of a magazine with Obama on the cover. I guess it shouldn't surprise me that someone even went through that much effort to be that ignorant, but it does. We suburban St. Louisans aren't generally prone to any kind of action. We mostly just want to be left alone. It always makes me extra cranky to rediscover that some people are energetic in their bile-spewage. I gave it to the cashier, but it wasn't until I asked if she was going to report that to her manager that she started looking for one.

Ahem. Wasn't I talking about new base yarns? I tried two new ones today. One is a thick and thin single very loosely plyed with a thin wool string. I only did one color today and a custom color at that. I love the way the yarn dyed. Once I see how it knits up I'll consider adding it as regular bulky yarn. The Unspun BFL has been knitting up great for customers, but it is a hard sell online. It is one of those yarns you have to have explained to you, largely because it isn't even a yarn. It's a roving.

One of the other new bases, a cotton boucle, is right out. As we speak I have a sweaters worth dyeing in Chinese Red. I've made three discoveries about Chinese Red dye and cotton boucle yarn. 1) dyeing cotton is messy; 2) cotton boucle can sit in a basic solution for 2 hours and never absorb water, which means it is theoretically possible that it can sit in dye and never absorb that, either. I refuse to give in to the urge to peek in the dye bag until tomorrow. If once I rince it I have a sweaters worth of white cotton boucle and a Chinese Red sink, you will know it by my screaming; 3) Chinese Red tinted skin is virtually indistinguishable from skin that is red from a Chinese Red dye sensitivity.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Stockard Channing Hair and Pencil Thin Brows

*I walked in to the salon for an eyebrow wax and left with a spontaneous haircut. The stylist asked me what I thought of the cut and style. I told her I thought I looked like a fat Rizzo. Not that a fat Rizzo is a bad thing. Just saying--Fat Rizzo.
Rizzo Hair?

I like the cut and how it looks in the picture. The swoopy sticky up bits are keen and I can make it work for me, but the style right out of the chair was a little, er, voluminous. I drove back to work with one hand and combed product out of my hair with the other rather than face my co-workers with specter of Tall Hair. Then I spent the rest of the evening doing my hair impersonation of Stockard Channing.

*I finished a pair of gift socks last night for a friend undergoing radiation treatment and put them in the mail this morning. Hopefully the recipient will have them soon. The yarn is Cascade Heritage Handpainted. It is lovely and soft. The colors aren't pooling. It seems like it will be a sturdy yarn, but only time will tell on that one. I made a size 10.5 mens, but I am a little wary of the chart I used. It seemed a little short. Hopefully the recipient has narrow feet.

*I finished the neck edge of the Estes Vest this morning, seamed the sides this evening and finished one attached i-cord around the armhole. The recipient showed up unexpectedly so I was able to verify the fit and get a quick picture if I promised to leave her head out of it. It looks a little wonky because only one seam is sewn. Better pictures when the garment is finished.


*I have been back and forth the last several days over whether or not to start a birthday present sweater. Should I? Shouldn't I? Do I have time before birthday? Should I? Shouldn't I? I have settled on shouldn't. While I would love to give a sweater as a gift, my real motivation is to have the excuse to shun other knitting commitments (a few remaining Christmas gifts, shop samples and test swatches). I exchanged the yarn I had for a smooshy gray-brown color that Scott wanted to use for his own sweater. So naturally I started thinking about how I'm going to appropriate Scott's new yarn and make myself something nice, like an EZ sweater. Should I? Shouldn't I? Should I? Shouldn't I?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

This blog's rare political statement

"With your knowledge that life, with endless vigor, seems to tilt the playing field on which we all live, in favor of unhappiness and hate... this is what your heart tells you to do? You want to sanctify marriage? You want to honor your God and the universal love you believe he represents? Then Spread happiness—this tiny, symbolic, semantical grain of happiness—share it with all those who seek it. Quote me anything from your religious leader or book of choice telling you to stand against this. And then tell me how you can believe both that statement and another statement, another one which reads only "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

--Keith Olbermann, excerpt from Special Comment on the passing of California Proposition 8, emphasis mine. Full video here.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Stapling Sheep

Me (frantically working on holiday knitting on size 1s): I'm only knitting with giant yarn from now on. Like a stitch an inch.
Scott (leisurely knitting on size 13s): A stitch an itch? Why don't you just staple two sheep together?

Twisted Cowl Close up
The author of Bowling Across America: 50 States in Rented Shoes, who happens to be Annie Knits' brother, is landing in St. Louis on Thursday November 13th 7pm at the B&N located at 1600 Clarkson in Chesterfield. Right now I have a big job due that night, but I'm pushing to be there anyway. Read the book review here.

I have been carrying around the new Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines, It Itches and Free-Range Knitter for several days now savoring 3 months worth of book budget one page at a time. Not one, but two books of knitting humor! If there was any doubt that I was far gone about this knitting thing, I submit the previous sentence as evidence.

Friday, November 7, 2008

October Keywords

[I should probably tell you now that this blog post is rated R for "aRe you f'ing serious?"]

It's time for the October Keywords! What combination of search terms and phrases did people use to find my blog? Can you guess? If you have read this blog long enough I bet you can!

Top 5:
1. Dyeabolical--seems reasonable
2. M*hair f*tish--I never should have posted about that guy and his m*hair f*tish. He appears again no less than 3 dozen times with variations on m*ohair f*etish p*ink f*luffy and c*ardigan. Mister, I hope you develop an m*hair allergy.
3. Roving yarn--I believe I have what you are looking for
4. In case of zombies--If my dreams are to be believed then in case of zombies you should bake cookies, frog your knitting, hire an exterminator or vote.
5. godzilla 2007--you buy 1 tee-shirt with godzilla on it and the blog never lets you live it down

Answers to other searches
pain in the ears while yarn--You might be using the yarn incorrectly, son.

photos of wood duck nests--Please tell me there isn't a wood duck nest fetishist out there.

what happened to lime and violet and stalking lime and violet--I get a few of these hits every month. Lime is in graduate school. Violet is still going strong.

refluff after hand dying yarn--Fluffing Reskeining after dyeing is a matter of personal preference. On one hand reskeining makes the yarn look better in the skein. It gives you an idea of how colors will look knit up. Sometimes colors that look great straight out of the pot may look like a mess when reskeined or knitted. Sometimes colors that don't look so great straight from the pot may sing when knitted. Not reskeining looks gives the customer a better idea of how long color runs are and takes less effort. Most of the time it just makes it look different, not better or worse.

regia color nation 5399 and where to buy kauni yarn--Knitorious has both in stock.

fibermyalgia--try searching for fibromyalgia

i fucking hate the world-- I'm not using an asterisk here. I DO what someone to find this. Last month someone searched for "i fucking hate myself". They must have gone through hundreds of google links to find this blog, because the closest I ever wrote was that I effing hated fibromyalgia. To whoever is searching for these two phrases, I HEAR YOU. Maybe you typed these in to google because you wanted someone to hear you. You might think no one is listening, but I heard you. I hope things get easier for you. I don't know you, but I care. I hope you find what you are looking for.

I think I'll add some happy words in this post and see if November's search results are cheerier. Commencing keyword experiment in 3...2...1...

bunny monkey hippo dragon cashmere yarn warm socks friends family framily love knitting challenge intellect puzzlement pansey nell hearth st. louis indianapolis knit night hand dyed hand painted merino camel vicuna dyeabolical superheroes wonder woman superman batman marvel dc outlander buffy angel spinning fiber spindle dpn tiara kitty ears antennae dinosaurs fresh paper green pens highlighers fall art yarn thanksgiving

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Catch up

  • Do you know why Ravelry is so great? I can brag all about gift knitting and crocheting to my knitting friends and just post a teaser pic here.

My creation

  • The Weavers Guild Sale went really well, although I think the Unspun BFL baffled a lot of people. I brought my wheel to demonstrate spinning on Saturday. I did fill a bobbin in record time with some of my own s.w. merino/cashmere blend, despite my wheel being less than cooperative and annoyingly sensitive to stress. A very aggravating person walked in and my wheel just fell apart. I must have tensed up my grip on the fiber because before I knew it my drive band broke, the brake band released and my flyer went shooting across the room. I need to replace the brake and drive bands before I take that wheel in public again.

  • I have been playing catch up all week. I listed a few new items on the website and on etsy. I designed two new ads that should be running on Ravelry soon. I have organized pictures from a few small adventures. I caught up on friends blogs and declared blog bankruptcy for the rest. New dyes and potential new base yarns have arrived, but I forgot to order soda ash and the acid I use is back ordered, so no dyeing. Looks like I'll have to find some other way to occupy my day off, like cleaning (boo!) and knitting (if you insist).

  • Lenora made a great headband and ankle warmers from some of my Super Ego DK yarn in the Firefly colorway. I especially love the headband. She swears she didn't plan it that way. I'm not sure I believe her. :)
Ankle warmers and headband by Lenora

  • I made a pair of thank you fingerless mitts for a friend. The color is Dark Knight. The picture is fairly awful. It is a 64 stitch cast on, 2x2 rib with a buttonhole thumb halfway up.
Dark Knight Fingerless Mitts

  • On a visit to see a friend we passed Indianapolis's Children Museum. They dressed up the dinos for Halloween!
Dino Witch

  • Speaking of dinos, Scott and I went to see the dinosaurs at the St. Louis Zoo on our anniversary (way back in September). Unfortunately one of the dinosaurs got loose:

Godzilla!Me, being very serious

  • Here's a picture of a hippo. Does there have to be a reason?
Nom nom nom

  • Scott and I spent an October Sunday looking for adventure. We stopped at Lone Elk Park...

  • ...Castlewood State Park...

  • ...and then hopped a ride on the Wabash Frisco and Pacific Railroad.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Zombie Sez Vote!

6am! What an industrious time for me to be awake! I rise to greet the morning and the sun on this beautiful Tuesday morning. The day is fresh and shiny with possibility!

Except in reality I have been awake since 3:30 when I had a dream that I forgot it was election day yet for some reason went to the school I vote at. I hadn't studied up on the candidates or issues but figured I'd go straight ticket. When I got to the ballot box zombies told me (in kind of a zombie-esque sign language that involved a lot of pointing to pre-printed pamphlets) that party politics had been abolished and I would be forced to complete an oral examination on all the candidates with a hungry and politically active zombie exam administer. "Try not to be nervous. As long as you studied we won't eat your brains" the zombie communicated with jerky movements and then pointed to a cue card that said "Try not to be nervous. As long as you studied we won't eat your brains." I've been up with cramps and clutching my sample ballot with all the correct answers filled in ever since (and knitting).

This calls for a meme.

The official rules are mark with bold the things you have knit at least once, with italics the ones you plan to do sometime, and leave the rest. I'm changing it up a little. I am going to bold the techniques I have done. I italizcising everything else because, truly, I want to try it all. My notes in parentheses.

I-cord (hate it, keep picking patterns with i-cord edging)
Garter stitch
Knitting with metal wire (I'm torn between knitting it myself or buying a knitted bracelet)
Shawl (love knitting them, never wear them)
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down (Have I!)
Socks: toe-up (and how!)
Knitting with camel yarn (spun buffalo, does that count? Probably not.)
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Knitting with silk (silk blends--I am saving some of my own silk for a special project)
Moebius band knitting (I've read the book. That counts, right?)
Participating in a KAL (Summer of socks, Socktober)
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Domino knitting (modular knitting) (I have literally one bazillion modular items in my queue)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with your own handspun yarn (*whistles*)
Slippers (crocheted slippers way the heck back in 5th or 6th grade)
Graffiti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)

Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments (I wouldn't say designed so much as wrote down simple patterns in my head)
Cable stitch patterns
Lace patterns
Publishing a knitting book (That would be so awesome)
Teaching a child to knit
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Knitting to make money
Button holes
Knitting with alpaca (only a sample swatch)
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting
Dyeing with plant colors
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cozies…)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars
Olympic knitting
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
Knitting with DPNs
Holiday related knitting

Knitting for a living (sort of)
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dyeing yarn (Absolutely! Roving, too. See here!)

Knitting art
Fulling/felting (just not on purpose)
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO
Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO
Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting
Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Baby items
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Gloves (half done now)
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm warmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting on a loom (this loom intrigues me)
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog/cat hair (no, but I did contemplate some Golden Retriever/Wool yarn at the Weavers Guild sale this weekend even before I realized it was dog)
Hair accessories
Knitting in public