Knitting Like A Sailor

Friday, June 02, 2006

My New Blog

Since I sucessfully managed to transfer all the archived items over to the new blog, there isn't much of a reason to keep this one active. I'll leave this up for a couple of weeks so stragglers can still find me, and then I'll delete the blog.
Once again here's the new blog . Do come over, I'm running a contest, so it might be profitable!

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Go Here. Seriously! It's so pretty and and and, well, just GO!

(ps) might want to bookmark it. Just Sayin'.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Getting to know you...

As I mentioned prevously, I'm participating in The Amazing Lace. I'm surprised at myself, never having been a joiner before, this is my fourth sign up for the year, the others being Secret Pal 7, 200Sox, and Dye-O-Rama. I know why I chose this one though. I have some lace projects marinating that I'd relaly like to see completed. Please allow me to introduce them.

Rosy-Fingered Dawn.
RFD has been mentioned fairly recently. Still not liking the chart design, although I've moved on to a different charted motif that's more intuitive. Within the first row of the new chart I figured out the problems and have been able to compensate. This charts' particular issue is that the designer has long stretches of plain knitting, so she provides the stitch count for each stretch in the chart. She also only charted half the pattern, with a pivot stitch that is only counted once. I can do that, no problem. However, when the stretches of plain knitting encorporate the pivot (which happens every other row) she lists the total stitch count for the entire run. This isn't a problem, but she doesn't make it clear that the stitch count includes the pivot and all the return stitches, so rather than knit 14 total stitches, I knit 14, then pivoted the chart (in my mind) around this stitch, and knit 14 back for a total run of 29 knit stitches. I caught it right away, and it made sense once I knew what was going on, but no where in the pattern does she explain it.

I know many people had issues with mistakes in the charts, understanding the charts, running out of yarn, and the size of the finished shawl. I know a lot of people gave up in disgust, but I look at it as a challenge. Figuring out what is going on is a pain, but it's helping me understand what I'm doing a little better. Emphasize little. And, once I do figure out what is going on, the knitting is fun. I'm not too worried about the size, the unblocked finished shawls that I saw were around 35 inches across or so, and blocked out to the 50 ish inch region, mine is on chart 4 of a total of six body charts, and it's already at 36 inches. I would be worried about running out of yarn, but I bought my kit after the KAL had already contacted the company with yarn shortages, and so far I've had mucho excess for every chart, plus they sent two balls for the edging. If I run out, I run out, and I'll have to substitute something else. Irritating, but no big deal eh? Anyway, here she is in all her wadded up glory.

Two charts worth of knitting is folded under because the circular isn't large enough to stretch it out decently, and I wanted to show off the pretty star motif. If you look closely, you can see where the purplish tint in the yarn overs (that would be the holes, Rob) stops and you can see the gold of the sheet coming through, mostly in the lines of yarn overs (again, that means holes, Rob) that look like spokes in the arms of the star. That's how much of the shawl is folded over, about 7-8 inches all the way around. Posed like this, it reminds me of a giant pink lace beret :) (no links included to any place where you can get the kit or the pattern, I'm not encouraging people to buy something so poorly done, but if you really and truly want the aggrivation this shawl is, Google it.)

Next on my plate, we have Kiri from Polly over at All Tangled Up. It's a lovely shawl, knit with a yarn that is appealing both visually and sensually. Here's the color I'm using, and it's accurate on my monitor. I linked it so you can see how poorly my camera captured the rich magenta. I tried toning the screaming fuschia down, but it just developed pixellated purple spots. Kind of interesting, kind of diseased looking. Also, the picture is in focus, the Kid Silk Haze is just that fluffy. I thought long and hard about making this shawl in the required yarn. It's far and away the most expensive and decadent yarn I've ever used. Yes, I've bought skeins that cost more, but the price per yard is what I'm looking at. Ouch. I ordered the yarn, and let it sit on the shelf, intimidated. Finally, in a fit of I bought the damn stuff, It's going to waste sitting there pique, I started the shawl. I'm glad that I did finally start it, it's light, shiny, fluffy, and so deliciously girly that I'm surprised I like it. However, it's a fairly simple, repetative knit that requires attention be paid to avoid missing a stitch in the mohairy goodness. It's not too bad to knit while watching tv or listening to audiobooks, but tv time has been relegated to sock knitting and audiobook time has been devoted to RFD because I want to get that sucker DONE. You're next, Kiri, m'dear, I promise.

Last, but most intimidating, is the Spring Shawl, designed by Sharon Miller. So far, it's been pretty straight forward. Unlike RFD, the charts are bang on, everything is Clearly Explained, and the designer is readily available and appreciates questions. Really, she does, she's such a sweet person.
I'm knitting it in Silk Organzine from Habu Textiles with a Crystal Palace Bamboo circular, size 0. Silk Organzine is made from reeled, twisted raw silk fibers that are then plied together. My yarn underwent the additional step of boiling to rid it of the seracin, which was well worth the price difference for me. I've smelled wet silk, and it's not the scent of choice.
For an awesome site about silk (even non-fiber people will probably enjoy this site <* looking at Rob*>) go to WormSpit.
The Spring Shawl starts at the point of the border for the center triangle, then you pick up for the real borders and knit those down, then knit on the edging. Obviously I'm not very far, but that's okay. I anticipate this taking a long time, especially since I prefer not to knit on it continuously. I'm considering it practise for Unst, which will be practise for the Ring Shawl, which is practise for my own handspun, self designed ring shawl. We're talking years down the line, but that's one of my goals.

Well, those are the introductions. Have a good week and Lace On!

Monday, May 15, 2006

A post in which I blatently steal someone elses' format.

I haven't been blogging lately. What have I been doing? A whole lot of nothing, and I've been busy as a one legged person in an ass-kicking contest doing it.

The good:
I'm finally getting around to posting the Dye-O-Meme-O-Rama for my dyeing partner.

Your favorite colors? Jewel tones, muted colors, bright is good, screaming is not.

Preferred yarn weight (Fingering, Sport, DK, maybe even Worsted)? I'm open to any and all :)

Do you prefer solid, variegated, self-striping, self-patterning yarn or multicolored yarn? Yes. Seriously, whatever you want to make, or, conversely, whatever you wind up with regardless of your intentions at the start, is great.

Would you be interested in a wool blend sock yarn (nylon, tencel, silk, acrylic, alpaca, etc.)? Yes, I do have to ask for a yarn with mostly natural content. I live in the hot, humid south, for most of the year 100% man-made fibers are smothering in a garment more solid than a lace shawl.

Imagine the perfect colorway. What would you name it? Dark Jewels, dried flowers, tie dye, something like that.

What was the biggest appeal to you for joining this dye-along? Making something for someone else (I love giving gifts) and, I have to admit, receiving something made just for me.

Have you dyed yarn/fiber before? Yup.

If so, what’s your favorite dye and method? I like the washfast and lanaset/sabracet dyes from ProChem.

Do you spin? Yup.

Have you knit socks before? Yup.

Do you use sock yarn for just socks or in other patterns too? I make shawls from it, and I plan a stranded colorwork sweater from my own dyed fingering weight yarns, eventually.

What are some of your favorite yarns? I like Gems Merino, Knitpicks, The Elann shop brand, and I really like the STR yarn, if I can find the source that's what I'd like to dye for my sweater (see above)

What yarn do you totally covet? Gems Merino and the STR yarn. (it will be mine if I have to resort to buying cones from Blue Moon lol)

Favorite patterns? I'm easy. Sometimes I like plain old vanilla, sometimes I like complex. I'm working one of my own right now that involves a provisional cast on at the ankle, knit the heel foot and toe, then go back and pick up the provisional cast on and knit up the leg. I have some of the older STR skeins and I don't want to run out or have excessive leftovers. I am enjoying it, because it allows me to use aspects of both top down and toe up patterns without having to rework them.

Any pattern you would love to make if money and time were no object? A shetland ring shawl. I have the pattern, I'm saving up for the yarn at Heirloom-Knitting.

Favorite kind of needles (brand, materials, straights or circs, etc)? I knit socks on dpn's, I like susannes ebony, crystal palace, and susan bates quicksilver (they're the grey coated ones, not the colored ones) I have an ebony pair, and I have crystal palace dpns, but I cannot find the quicksilvers anywhere locally. They are perfect for yarns that are too grabby for the bamboo needles, yet not so slick that I hurt my hands trying to prevent them from slipping out of the knitting, like I do with most metal needles. For other knitting, I use circulars usually, bamboo, inox and bryspun. Love me some bryspun circulars.

If you were a specific kind of yarn, which brand and kind of yarn would you be? Opal Petticoat in their silk yarn (they don't make it in silk but I want them to)

Nothing to do with knitting/yarn/fiber in any way but seemed kinda fun:

Do you have a favorite candy or mail-able snack? I like chocolate, I love samplers (tea, coffee, chai) I covet stuff like that but never buy it for myself.

What’s your favorite animal? Generally, dogs, specifically, my dog, Shaela.

Do you have pets? What are their species/names/ages? We have my cat Bielset (grey domestic long hair, male, 3, pronounced bee-ull-set, it's gaelic for a marking pattern in shetland sheep, a light band around the neck) my son's cat Geal (black DSH, male, 1, gee-y'all, prounounced with a soft g as in guppy, it's gaelic for cherished) and Shaela (giant yellow lab/hound/mastiff? mix, 4 years old, her name is gaelic for a color of shetland sheep, it's a frosted black) Yeah, um, have I mentioned that I spin? And that I admire greatly the shetland shawl knitters, who spun fine ring shawls from locks of shetland sheep neck wool?

If you were a color what color would you be? Teal, aquamarine, blue green, green blue, anything in that range.

Describe your favorite shirt (yours or someone else’s).. My rainbow colored tie dye t-shirt that was tied and folded and dipped so that a black spider covers the front (and back) of the shirt. I haven't been able to figure out how they did it, but I love it and will wear it until it's tattered beyond recognition.

What is your most inspiring image, flower, or object in nature? Cara's blog header. When you refresh it a different picture comes up. I find them all lovely and my children enjoy guessing which picture will be up next. Buying a few of her prints are on my someday list.

Tell me the best quote you’ve ever heard or read.
"Oh, my friend, it's not what they take away from you that counts. It's what you do with what you have left." ~Hubert Humphrey

Do you have a wishlist? Yes, I do. If you'd like it, let me know and I'll send it along.

Now on to the Bad:
I sprung my knee. I injured it many years ago, and hadn't had any problems with it until last week when the youngest ran full tilt across the living room to give me a full body leg hug, at which point I felt the muscles, ligaments and tendons above my knee go poing! Stairs, stick shifts, standing, and moving it at all are not good right now. Analgesics and icy-hot are keeping the worst of it at bay.

More bad (and quite a bit of poor me whining too):
for mothers day I was given a poster with a somewhat snotty-humored poem on it, an unsigned card, and a "huh, they said your gift would be delivered by Saturday. I'm not worried though, it'll show up", the last added when I started to suggest tracking it at the UPS website. I went out for a couple of hours Saturday, then came home, put the young children to bed, and spent two hours cooking a special mothers day dinner while the eldest and the man who lives here played video games. At least no one objected when I suggested that someone other than I clear the table and put things away. Not the most stellar of mothers day here, but it could have been worse.

The Ugly:
my laptop has a design flaw. The ac port is smack next to the vent for the heat sink. A years worth of hot air flowing over it has deformed the plug housing on the ac converter, which I noticed, and caused the insulation inside the plug to deteriorate, which I had not noticed until half of it fell out. The left half, or the right half, depending on how you look at it. Charging the laptop now involves manipulations akin to performing contortions while holding the rabbit ears on the tv set. The only reliable way is to twist, fiddle and maneuver the plug until the charging icon comes on, and then hold it in place. Yeah, I'm so into doing that. I've ordered a replacement, they quoted me a delivery date of May 17th. I ordered it on May 6th, and didn't expect it to actually take that long.

The ugliest? FedEx has had my ac converter since May 7th, in their Portland, OR facility, and has not yet done anything with it at all. Unless they plan on flying it across the country tomorrow, I don't think it's going to get here by the 17th. Bastards. It's seriously irritating me, because there are certain things I need on a daily basis that I cannot access without the internet, and right now I can't get down the stairs to the desk top. I lucked out earlier and actually got a full charge on the laptop so I'm able to blog with both hands. Yay!

The Better:
I dyed some yarns, and they are pretty. I'd show them here but one of them is going to my Dye-O-Rama partner.

The Best:
I've joined the Amazing Lace and it's prompted me to get going on the Rosey-Fingered Dawn Shawl kit I started months ago. (no comments or speculation on the name, I wouldn't have chosen it personally and find it rather funny but I try to keep the blog PG-13) I've doubled what I had finished on it in the last couple of days, and it's a highly irritating knit. The charts are off in stupid ways, mostly effecting symmetry. For example, on one side of the row she has you do o/o/o/o/ which needs to be \o\o\o\o on the other end of the row, but she doesn't chart that part, she just makes a notation that 4X means repeat o/ four times, so I have to remember to change it at the end of every row and I don't always remember. Most of the time I catch it and can tink back, but when I don't notice it for a couple of rows, I leave it. It's faggoted mesh so I can probably block it straight. Still, HIGHLY irritating, even though the shawl is beautiful and the patterns really are simple to do. Her charting method is one of the most confusing I've run across. I'm keeping notes and I intend to knit it again at some point, probably with alpaca laceweight, but I'll want to rechart it into a way that both makes sense, and is correct.

Other than that, nothing much has been happening around here. Kae, I found the addi, but I need your address, which is on the laptop. Email me and I'll put it in the mail for you.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


I'm going to go knit now.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I'm dying over here!

It started out with these two skeins. Both from the same place, and I really like the yarn. The colors left a lot to be desired, in my opinion. The one on the left is nine hundredish yards of an alpaca cormo blend, the one on the right is 1600 yards of cormo/angora/cashmere. Lefty was supposed to be handpainted in a colorway called wildflowers, righty was supposed to be mulberry colored. What they are is...Not what I wanted at all. So, after whining to Kae, and more whining to Kae, I broke out the books and figured out what I could do with them.
*insert lots of pictures of dyeing process here*
What? You don't see them? Huh...Neither do I. Oh yeah, that's right, when I went to transfer them from camera to computer, I lost half the batch. Sorry. I do have one that was salvaged, but it's kinda blurry. That's not the same yarn? Why...You're right! If you go to a very well known website that rhymes with picnic's and look at a lace weight yarn they have whose name rhymes with swimmer, you just might find that yarn in the bowl on that page.
oh, and here's another picture of the "mulberry" yarn with a handspun skein of debouillet merino. Luscious stuff, that.
*insert more pics of dye process here, la dee da... *
Basically, I used a prochem washfast acid dyes sample kit that included synthrapol, albegal set, glaubers salt, ammonium sulfate, and citric acid crystals (hey, Kae, guess what? The crystals don't have all the dust that gave me issues when I used the powder. Fancy that!)
oh, here's some rhymes with picnic's peruvian worsted weight yarn that I dyed a while back. Now, I never used to use all those fancy additives, dye powder and a crapload of vinegar was peachykeen with me. Until I realized huh, I'm not getting the results I want near often enough. Like this batch, they were all supposed to me the medium color, bottom right of the photo. Instead, I have a whole sweaters worth of yarn, in three distinct colors. Orchid (light color) Raspberry (medium shade) and Rose Wine (dark shade) and all of them have lots of variegation. Mottled, tri-colored Rogue, anyone? Don't all of you jump through the screen now.
So anyway, when I did up those skeins, I mixed up the dye, glugged in the vinegar, cranked up the heat, and when it was good and steaming, I added the skeins in. Now, I had soaked the skeins in separate containers in groups of five, so they were added in groups of five. The dye struck pretty much instantly, it took nearly two hours to get that much depth of color on the orchid skeins. Learn from my mistake, all the fancy crap has a purpose. I think of them as a safety net.
Anywhoo, back to the funkin fug that was the laceweight. I had to think about what I could do using the colors they already were. Now, I'm not a color theorist, but I do know that when I overdye, things seem to work out better if I use a primary shade. Blue is popular with me, I find blue quite attractive, I don't often buy orange tones yarns so the resulting colors usually turn out in the blue/green/purple ranges. Red is another okay one, although I find that it's picky on what it will cover, and I have to watch the pot closely or it goes from pretty to mud fairly quick. I decided to go with blue over the "wildflowers" and a red violet over the "mulberry", aiming for a dark plum. I measured and mixed, soaked, stirred it all up, put the yarn in, then popped it on the stove. The "wildflower" came out a beautiful, brilliant sapphire with dark forest and royal purple variations. The "mulberry" came out a loverly maroon, on the brown side. Um, so not what I was aiming for. What went wrong with this one? I think I had the pot a little too high so it struck faster than I thought it would(it was the first skein) so it sat on the stove cooking longer than it should have, and when I was mixing the dye, I cut back on the blue, figuring the violet would pick up for it. It didn't. So, back into the dye pot with a couple of teaspoons of bright blue, and a smidge of jet black. It was a nice, inky midnight blue, and it did just the trick.

A lovely, wine Burgundy with some small shots of purple from where the skeins were tied a little tight (it's a BIG skein). This all was done on Saturday. Yesterday I did up the alpaca/silk lace weight in the eye searing turquoise colorway. I went with green. Now, I didn't expect it to turn green, I was aiming more for a variegated teal colorway, and that's pretty much what I got, although it's varied shades of blue-green rather than teal, and there is a difference between the two. I can show it to you but I can't put it to words, sorry. I think that were I to do this again I might try a yellow green dye, but I'm quite happy with it. Anyway, here's that one.
well, actually it's two skeins, but you get the idea.
Now, what did I do while all this dyeing was going on last night?

windywindywindy. I named the pic OW, but in reality, my arms were tired, but not sore, and there was no stiffness or soreness today at all. I credit my Strauch ball winder with that, it's a marvelous machine once I popped the feet off. They're clear cushy silicone jobbers, and they allowed the winder too much movement. One fell off, I popped off the other three, and voila, a stable, steady machine that is a pleasure to use.
Yes, every ball in that picture was wound from the skein by moi over the course of about 7 hours, including the break for supper. I had some aggressions to get out. All gone now :)
Ooo...Shall I do a little flash stashing? That pic up there constitutes most of my lace weight collection. Well, the commercial stuff, anyway. On the left we have the pink mass of the ex-rogue yarn, two skeins of pink and one of blue/purple from, the wine Burgundy laceweight, the sapphire alpaca/cormo laceweight, some sockweights in the middle, There is handpainted opal in rosehips, chtx2 in the peacock colorway, a skein of dale baby ull I dyed under the inspiration of the peacock cth, opal rainforest in parrot, two skeins of pingouin wool/nylon sock yarn that I overdyed from a medium grey to a charcoal to better contrast with the pale silver grey I'm suing it with in a fi sock, a skein of some variegated acrylic blend called marbles or something or other that I want to make a sweater for one of the kids out of (I have a couple of more of them, but they're still in their neat little center pull skeins) various assorted alpaca lace and merino lace, I'm sure if you kept open the rhymes with Picnic website, you too can find such yummy yarns, more handpaintedyarn laceweight, those two green balls of it just above the ball winder are from my excellent sp7 pal, Lisa. Oh, that glaringly white ball of yarn? It's actually ecru, and it's cobweb weight 80/20 merino silk. I have 5 ounces of it, enough for two large shawls. That's about two ounces right there. I bought it from the knitters underground a couple of years ago but they no longer carry it. Jean Miles used it in a few of her creations, if you care to go peruse her lace pages, and recommended it highly. Actually, I like to go peruse her pages anyway, she has some lovely knitting there.
Hey, there's still a pic hanging out down here. What is this? Some sort of a yellowy-green merino laceweight. Hmm...I wonder what this would look like with a dollop of forest green and a dash of jet black....

Friday, April 21, 2006

Nerdy News

I'm working on a fair sized post regarding what I've been up to, fiber-wise. I'll probably post it tonight, or perhaps tomorrow night. I've my first final tomorrow, it's the Anatomy and Physiology Lab Practical. I predict lots of Mt Dew in my immediate future.