Monday, February 28, 2005

Watch what you say or they'll be calling you a radical, a liberal, fanatical, criminal...

Last Wednesday I showed two projects whose fate was then undecided. It's done been done now. The blue blob floating in the frog pond has been rewound and partially reknit. The next peek at Mystery Tank #8 -

Not much has happened since - I ran out of purple. Aw, I have to stop by Hobby Lobby this afternoon? What a chore.

The other project from that post has since been finished! It's in need of a good blocking and the flash turned the floor green, but the design shows pretty well -

Part of "Heart Doily" from Nicky Epstein's "Knitting for Your Home". Like most doily patterns, it called for fine yarn and #1 dpns. I used dishcloth cotton and quit after 44 of 74 rounds. I'd really love to do a doily in the proper size, but I'm holding off until I find Addis in that size and long enough to use for lace also. (Any disenchanted Magic Loopers have a spare #0 or #1 in 47" or 60"? I'll love you forever.)

Thank y'all all for the kind comments about the cardi! On a totally tangential note, for as long as I've been working on the raglan I've not shown or mentioned it to anybody at the SnB. It'll be interesting this evening to see what the regulars say. I'll spare y'all my predictions on who will say what.

Yoinked from Stephy, Helen, Joeli, and Smoochies. Like Stephy, I'm doing Jimmy Buffett (teeheehee)... but to make it a bit harder, I'm only using songs I have on LP.

Are you a male, or female: Railroad Lady

Describe yourself: Mañana

How do some people feel about you: Lady I Can't Explain

How do you feel about yourself? Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season

Describe your family: Peanut Butter Conspiracy

Describe your current girlfriend/boyfriend:

Describe where you want to be: Livingston's Gone to Texas

Describe what you want to be: Stranded on a Sandbar

Describe how you live: Grapefruit/Juicy Fruit

Describe how you love: Come Monday

Share a few words of wisdom: Life is Just a Tire Swing

As if having a thing like that in this post couldn't be bad enough... gratuitous cat pictures! This is Freckie, the unfortunate male middle cat.

Ana, my beloved bidding-doing droogie, has a picture up of her new housemate. Go bug her.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Brotherling's back for the weekend... yay.

Third in a series of posts about the raglan which don't really say any more than the previous!

Some of y'all will remember me whining about the neck being too loose. If I didn't pay attention it would ocasionally flash a bra strap. (How scandalous!) The new and improved neck is, well, new and improved.

I should mention again that the yarn used for the neck and button bands (and parts of the sleeves and a large portion of the back) was rescued from a frogged thrift shop sweater. If I were a good rodent, I'd post about this at the ReKAL. Do I get extra credit for thrift shop buttons?

One thing I'd been fretting about on and off - did I put the buttons on the proper side? Will the cardi faerie stalk me down and zap me for putting buttons on the boy side instead of the girl side, whichever way that is? Alls I know is, it's easier to button if the buttons are on the right (better than wrong, no?) ; if this means it's a cross-dressing cardigan, so be it. Ha. And if I inadvertantly did it "correctly"... guess the cardi faerie needs to zap somebody else.

Blurry picture alert, courtesy of the mirror:

Less blurry picture with the other camera and without the aid of the mirror:

I wish I'd read more about button bands before doing it! I didn't properly appreciate how much they're detested ; if I'd known that it wasn't supposed to come out properly on the first try, I'd have felt much prouder about my button band success! Silly rodent.

Something on "This Old House" yesterday provoked a Brain Tilt. They showed a house being built by architecture students - Yale has a program where students all work together one year to design and build a house for a low-income family. The students interviewed told of how it was their first construction experience and how it changed the way they looked at designing houses. Many mentioned that they'd never used power tools before; one claimed to have never swung a hammer before he helped to build that house. One student mentioned that the construction program was one of the main reasons she went to Yale.

Hello?? Where do they find these people? Perhaps enough reasons exist to excuse having not used power tools, but... ooziegaheebins. How to reach college age, much less grad school, without having swung a hammer... that says something about Yalies. ... Can't... Write... Brain... Tilted...

A peek at the first Mystery Tank of this year: Mystery Tank #8.

What's there to say about MT#8 so far? The light blue seed stitch diamonds are done in more yarn rescued from a frogged thrift shop something- this time I had to hold the yarn double to match the gauge of the Denimstyle. What's going to happen next, I haven't a clue - I have only the next four rows planned.

"Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way." - E.L. Doctorow

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

My brain hurts!

As promised, pictures of the sweater sliced open. In these pictures, I've picked up stitches around the neck and knit a couple rows, but then slid the stitches onto scrap yarn.

If you dare think something questionable lurks in this picture... um, look at what Joeli posted !

I've since finished the neck band and sewn on the buttons... but no pictures right now. Yep, I picked the loud buttons. Birds and flowers and cute things.

Floating in the frog pond:

Intended to be a bag of some sort, I had far less of this colour of dishcloth cotton than I'd though. As much as I like how the lace shows in this yarn, I now realise it'd be better saved for another project I'm planning.


Dishcloth cotton again. Unsure of what size it'll turn out to be, I can't decide if I want to gamble on having enough yarn again or if I want to frog it and try with the size yarn the pattern calls for.

Fathom tagged me yesterday in a vain attempt to butter me up so that when we young'uns take over the world, we'll spare her. Yeah, your plan was that transparent!! Ain't going to work! We demand yarn bribes!
Oh well.

Do you knit using the English or Continental Method?
Mainly Continental, but I've been practicing English more lately.

How long ago did you learn to knit?
Two years.

Who taught you how?
I first learned from a few books, but my knitting didn't really take off until I found online communities.

What was your first FO?
A shark from "World of Knitted Toys". I kid you not.

Favorite yarn?
Eh. I ain't picky.
Translation: I don't have enough yarnie experience to say confidently what's my favourite. Doesn't each yarn have different advantages?

Favorite pattern you’ve knit so far?
Have I mentioned before that I'm dreadful about picking favourites? I can't even state my absolute favourite colour. Good thing I don't need to cross the Bridge of Death, or else the gatekeeper would surely toss me into the Gorge of Eternal Peril.

Favorite pattern source?
Most of my favourite patterns have largely come from my own mildly twisted mind. Interweave scores a close second, though I've not knit many of their patterns. Eye candy.

Favorite needles?
Certainly Addi Turbos! I have only three or four, though; Denise scores a close second simply because of the wider range.

Nicest thing you’ve ever knit:
Probably "Madli's Shawl", unless you're counting gifts I knit where the people thought I was really nice for having spent the time on them.

Most hated project:
Eeek! So much competition! Please no comments from the peanut gallery with votes on this.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Guess y'all ain't as fascinated by dyeing cotton as I am.

Nobody else has either died or dyed around here lately, though I did almost kill a project. Some of y'all (you know who you are) have been hassling me about the lack of commenting on the raglan. I haven't declared it done, but it hasn't graced this blog lately. Why not? Well... I realised that the raglan was not destined to be a sweater. Though the instructions for making a cardigan were entirely ignored, this project has always been a cardi... just a bit closed up. The last few days have consisted of this, more or less:

Plan how to convert sweater to cardigan
Become scared. Knit something else.
Hear the cry of the cardi. Crochet steeks. Realise I need to cut next.
Become scared. Knit something else.
Pick up stitches for button bands and knit them. Realise I need to cut next.
Become scared. Spin something else.

Here's that Mo' again from Upstairs Studio:

Lumpy thin yarn! I've been knitting something vaguely hat-like from the lumpy thick yarn, though... so near as I could figure, this lumpy thin yarn had to be 3-ply to fit into the lumpy thick hat. Enter... Navajo plying. This maneuver would be greatly simplified if I had a few more arms. New lumpy thick yarn:

Which also looks like this:

Guess I can't avoid it any longer. Finally tonight... I cut. Having both crocheted around as the above instructions say *and* already picked up stitches caused a rather belt-and-suspenders approach. This is a good thing.

(Picture from early this afternoon, before one button band was knit. Still OTN here.)

What the band looks like, if you're at all interested.

After a painful battle with common sense, I cut down the entire front. Whew. Y'all ain't getting full pictures tonight, but here's a tease:

Then I need to pick a button.

Birds and hearts and things? Plain wooden things? Keep an eye peeled at the thrift shop for something new? Who knows.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Joeli doesn't love me anymore

Yesterday I attempted to dye some cotton yarn. For it being my first foray into such strangeness, it worked well. I need more cotton now... still have gobs of the Dazzle Dye left. I opened an orange and a fuschia; both dye bottles have plenty of dye left. Maybe I'll dye some socks or raid the thrift shop for good t-shirts to colour.
News flash: this dye does not behave exactly as Kool-aid does. It doesn't soak in and bleed like Kool-aid does and it's easier to make solid colours. At least, that's how it worked yesterday.

I started with yarn in this form:

Two skeins of the white Lily Elite Cotton and two balls about that size of black and white Bernat Handicrafter cotton transformed into this:

One of the balls of Handicrafter I left as a center-pull to see what would happen.
The other ball had a knot, so I picked it out and wound it into two hanks. The larger of the two and one of the white skeins I dyed pink:

The center-pull ball? The dye didn't even pretend to soak through more than one layer of yarn. After a few hours I rewound it into a hank to expedite drying. Looks interesting, no? Nah.

The rest of the Handicrafter I dyed orange. Looks like an attacking pumpkin.

The last white hank I squirted both colours on in a random pattern to see what would happen. It looks interesting to knit, but I haven't untangled the hank yet. Let me just say....
Never put yarn in the washing machine and dryer, even if you tied the hanks in several places and ran it on the gentle cycle.
Pretty pathetic that I had to learn this the hard way. Three of the hanks were fairly easy to fix... the center-pull ball came out fine and was easy to turn into a hank for hanging to dry... but this last one?

But it smells so good!

In more mundane news, Fantasia came inside for a few minutes this morning. She's not a very cooperative model. She's playing coy and walking away from the camera.

What a nice chicken-tush!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Who you callin' a young'n? Me? Oh. That's right.

Houston = driving. Whatever you want, Houston has it - if you're willing to drive 25... or 50... or 75 miles. (And believe you me, some of the best spots in the area are that far from home here on the south side of a southern suburb.)

Yesterday Mom & I visited the three (yes, that's "three", with a "th" and a "ree".) yarn shops in Spring. Hey, how'd a city of 35,000 snag that many yarn shops? Well... two are needlepoint and quilting stores with a bit of yarn... and the one devoted yarn shop is near the tourist trap known as Old Town Spring. Old Town Spring is not particularly historic; it just had the overzealous capitalists and lack of morals needed to grow into a tourist trap. When I type up my full rant about San Antonio, don't doubt Old Town Spring will work its way in!

First visit of the day: The Hen House. Mainly a quilting store with various booths from local crafters, their yarn selection is almost entirely novelty. I didn't buy anything but it was a pleasure to browse.

Second stop: Twisted Yarns. Gorgeous place with an excellent selection; yarns were decently ordered and all had their own little nooks. A section for wool, a section for baby yarns, a section for luxury yarns, a section for novelty yarns... mmm, logic. I wouldn't mind sitting there one day and just gazing with admiration at the simplicity and beauty of their arrangement. *sighs happily* Still was a good rodent there; in spite of how much yarn begged and pleaded to come home with me, I escaped the siren calls of all but a ball of NatureSpun and a hank of Cascade 220. I spent half the evening sniffing and petting and fondling the 220.

Last store: The Needle Nest - north side of Spring and almost 65 miles from home. For my approach toward yarn hoarding, this is the best place of the three visited today. Again mostly a quilting and needlepoint shop, but their yarn room had actually been around for quite a while. A few newer novelty yarns sat on a table in the center of the room while the cubbyholes in the walls overflowed with older yarns of unknown origin. Many looked like they'd been priced 10 or 15 years ago. (Nope, not arguing with that.) One wall had a rack of leaflets and a thingie-go-round of various needles; I didn't have time to peruse either. Other than the gobs of yarn Mom & I bought (see, it's good to teach others to knit!) , my favourite thing about the store is that the owner called me "young'n".

Here's part of the haul from that shop:

Despite my best attempts to take decent pictures of yarns seperately, all the pics came out blurry or wonky... and since this is how the yarn will live here, might as well not advertise it differently.

Notice the large number of penguins. I like penguins. Penguins are good. The greenish blob right at the bottom is wool/mohair. The two balls of a blue&white blur in the top right corner which would look like egg drop soup if they were yellow are a cotton/acrylic blend. Lurking behind and to the left of that is a lone ball of a similar linen blend. I don't have nearly enough of anything to do anything, but I love the yarns. (Good rodent at the first two yarn shops. Made up for it at the Needle Nest. Yay!) Right in the center is a dark blue cotton, and to the right of that are three balls of a chunky wool. Littered all about are balls of cotton/elastic... anyone smell socks coming?

Survived this far into the post? I finished PixieTwo last night! Digging the styrofoam head out of the pile yarn she'd been living in wasn't easy, but she's a slightly better behaved model than I am.

Mmm, fur. Think I'll go frog something and start something new. What I'll frog and what I'll start is anyone's guess.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

So, you think I'll finish this post before it's tomorrow?

I don't post on the various LiveJournal knitting communities very often. A few I read, but I'm not keen on the whole format of LJ. This leads to a passing familiarity with many folks without actually knowing a single thing about them. One of these people I've seen around LJ for months but never talked/typed with just her. A few weeks ago I find out she's a student at UofH, where Brotherling is; today I finally had the chance to meet her.

As always, Joeli is totally right; everybody has a story. It's just catching them at the right time, thought it also helps if they're not a mass murderererererer. One such person I'd like to know is someone I accidentally approached while looking for the knitter. (I thought she was just crocheting for a change. She wasn't since it wasn't her. I told the unsuspecting crocheter to learn to knit.)

Once the proper person was found, Vera and I spent a good hour and a half sitting and chatting. The time flew by and it was past 6 before I knew it! Hope someday she and I can get together again, either on campus or at a LYS. *wiggles eyebrows nonsensically* She is actually the first knitter I've met who is less than five years older than me; strange (but good) to finally meet a knitter my age in real life.

Since the picture of the dyed roving in the last post was so abysmal, let's try that one again:

Somehow that turns into fairly long repeats. Most of what I've done so far is the dark blue.

Public Service Annoucement: Houston roads are dreadful. Don't try to pour soda for somebody in the car with your white WIP anywhere close. I did learn how well one could wash a WIP while still on the needles, though. Came out clean and hey- it needed to be pinned out anyway.

(The diamonds actually are straight... I had to stand on a chair to get that shot. If I stood in the proper spot for a good angle, I'd whack my head on the fan. What, turn off the fan in this heat? Ha!)

The main part of Pixie Two has been finished! The pattern calls to bind off a bunch of stitches for half a dozen rows, then seam. Purple Pixie started that way but after an inch of seaming I ripped it back and opted instead for short rows and a three-needle bindoff. In the same spirit (sprite?) , Pixie Two was shaped with short rows and then grafted together. Purtier than seaming and no harder. (But of course I don't show it off in the picture.)

Full picture when Pixie Two is finished, probably tomorrow night.

... live like you were dyeing...

Think I ought to quit with these late-night posts? Each night I have a perfectly lame excuse for why I wait until so late... or early? to post. Huh.

Hobby Lobby loot! While wandering behind scrapbooking and jewelry land, I spied some fabric dyes in the clearance stacks. Pfft, I don't need to wait for an engraved invitation like some Houston drivers. Looks as if I can get into all sorts of trouble with these dyes -

Rainbow Rock Dazzle Dye - five fuschia, two yellow, three purple, one green, three orange, and two brown. Apparently this is killer chemical dye, suitable for colouring cotton and poisoning pigeons in the park.

These are the same thing but without the handy squirt bottles.

The loud and distracting background is another clearance find - can't go wrong with peppers!

Finally, "Tumble Dye", whatever that is.

Google has not been kind about explaining quite what it is; all Hobby Lobby had was green, brown, or black, so who knows for what that'll be good.

In a typically half-assed photo comes my attempt to dye some unspun fluffy bits. This is with grape Kool-aid and blue egg dyes; haven't used any of the killer chemicals posted above yet.

Better pictures once it's spun.

Oh yeah, knitting. The making of Purple Pixie being so much fun, Pixie returns! Brown and burgundy(ish) this time around.

Much furrier than the first! But one can never have too much novelty yarn on their head....

Friday, February 11, 2005

... but I don't FEEL like a Pixie.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Lumpy things

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

There and back again

Naturally the drive to San Antonio Sunday morning was gorgeous; we took some back(ish) roads to get there instead of just the insterstate. I'd shower y'all with pictures... but it rained most of the day. As we headed west, the decorative plants of choice slowly changed from banana trees to prickly pear cactapota. (Cactapuses?) Banana trees around the driveway are inviting; the cactii... not so much.

Late morning, somewhere between Eagle Lake and Gonzales, the weather cleared up enough for this exciting picture of open road.

The roads grew increasingly not-flat. I'm not quite sure what it is, but it's not flat. Not anywhere close to Oklahoma's version of lumpy terrain, but not flat. By early afternoon we were on the east side of San Antonio, where I spied this interesting sign on a truck stop/gas station.

(the month)

I certainly hope one of the employees of the month was not the critter in charge of the sign.

Once in San Antonio, we drove around in circles downtown looking at all the lookey things. If you're interested, the San Antonio Tourism Mafia has plenty of websites on the subject. Perhaps they even have decent pictures instead of what I have to offer. I'm sure you're on the edge of your seat in anticipation for what pictures I have from San Antonio.

The view from the window of our hotel room... computer geeks sure know how to throw a party.

We then wandered the nearby tourist sights, most of which were actually gift shops. (I have a good rant working up about the tourism, actually, but it'll have to wait.) Squirrels were going crazy all over the place, digging up holes in the neatly groomed parks littered around the Alamo.

Next we meandered around parts of the Riverwalk. Why this is a tourist trap, I'm not quite sure. It's a passel of shops and restaurants thrown together for the benefit of tourists... but I guess it worked, since we did walk parts of it. The ducks were amusing.

At another point were lights dangling from the trees. Not sure what that was about either. I just have an odd compulsion to take purposefully poor pictures. (Umm... I meant to do that. Riiiiiiight.)

Noisy and crowded. I guess if you want a positive spin on things, call it "energetic and full of life". Yeah, that's it! Lively and bustling. The ducks came back to attack later in the evening. This one was on the opposite side of the river and flew across, nearabouts clocking two tourists. (Go duck!) The duck then walked up to not four feet from where I stood.

Naturally I enjoyed every minute of the day. Monday morning Mom & I headed out early to Austin while Dad stayed there in SA for irksome things like real life and a real job and work-related things. Thanks to creative interperation of the map and spending a bit too long for breakfast - okay, okay, it was mostly me misdirecting Mom map-wise - we didn't get to Hill Country Weavers until past 10:30, where Ana was patiently waiting for me.

You store in Arlington, move over. Hill Country Weavers is Yarn Heaven. No store in Houston has a selection which compares, but the feel was very much like Marie's in Friendswood. (Or perhaps it was because I had an excellent tour guide?) Hmm. I left the camera in the car while fondling all the yarn in the store but did manage an outside shot.

Austin is certainly an interesting city, what parts I saw. Same spot as last picture, different direction -

Oh, a picture of the Capitol. Sorry - a wave of touristiness must've overcome me.

Houston has some charming parts downtown, but nothing quite like this -

Ain't that a gorgeous air conditioner? Cowboy on the jackelope ain't bad either.

The afternoon with Ana and Ceci flew by! (The plan was to head home by 4... that didn't happen.) Do I want to go into gory detail about every moment or be all mysterious-like? I suppose mostly mysterious. They showered me with yarn and licked me... no, that was Tinny. I think I still smell like him.

So we headed home... along the way was this water tower.

Haven't a clue what town. Smileyville?