12.22.2010

Infinite Knitters

When I moved to San Diego the first thing I did was find a knitting group. The first groups I went to, didn't work out so well, here and here. I was ready to give up, but a lovely reader (and now dear friend, Cheryl) coerced me into going back and giving it another shot. I met her at a knitting group I chickened out of before, as well as another lovely lady, Patty. I had a great night, though we all agreed, that particular group wasn't for us and we struck out on her own. We decided to go to Starbucks on Monday nights and have been knitting there ever since.


Over the last four years, many lovely knitters have come and gone. I met my roommate and one of the dearest friends I have ever had, Susan. Been inspired to learn new techniques, worked out ideas and patterns, picked up spinning and weaving (you can thank sdmags for those specifically). We have had a lot of fun, we've been through some trials and I am a much better person for those Monday nights I spent at Starbucks.

Thank you so much ladies! You can guarantee if I'm back in San Diego, Mondays will find me at Starbucks again.
From left to right, Heather, Margaret, Carol, Liz, me, Patty and Nancy

12.12.2010

For the Patient

So I began the project years ago.  I suppose I could look back through my email account to figure out when I bought the yarn.  Or when I wrote my cousin excitedly to tell her I had picked out the yarn and pattern for her shawl.  But we’ll just stick to, I started it a long time ago.

Once I wanted to finish it in time for her Christmas present.  Then I hoped to have it finished for her to wear to her Mom’s wedding the following July.  Then I just kind of gave up.  Why has this been so hard to work on?

The pattern must be complicated? No.  Pretty darn simple, largely stockinette with a few yarn overs and decreases added.  Well the, the yarn must be horrible to work with? Not really.  I mean it is mohair and silk and very fuzzy, making rip outs a nightmare (so instead I leave most of my mistakes in it, don’t look too closely).  But it is really so soft to the touch.  A dream to pet in my lap.  What then has taken me so long?  I really don’t know, but I suspect it lies somewhere in this…

When I started this project it was so light.  I decided that adding some clear glass seed beads would give it some weight and sparkle.  Which they really do.  The weight seems just right for keeping it draped tightly on the shoulders on a cool night.  The twinkling glass winks at me on occasion while I’m working and I am totally enchanted.

It did however provide a minor logistic issue.  It is my first beaded knitting project.  So I strung what I thought was “a whole bunch’ of beads before I started.  I am only adding 17 beads every other row.  That whole mess of beads I had pre-strung needed to be slid down the yarn frequently.  About three times a row really.  This resulted in some yarn snaps if I tried to push too many together.

So I had a genius idea.  I would knit this with two different balls of yarn.  One for the beaded row, the other for the pattern row.  This meant moving off the straights I had started with and onto circular needles.  Well I didn’t have size  2 circulars at the time, so I went shopping.

I got a set of Boye’s aluminum circulars and got started.  But the cable join was not smooth and I had to do a lot of manipulating to get the yarn slid back and forth on the circulars which is required when you are knitting from two different balls.

I put it aside out of frustration until I could get a new set of needles.  I went to the grand opening of a new yarn store with brands from Mexico, including knitting needles I had never heard of or used before.  So I picked up a size two and brought it home.

Well guess what, U.S. size 2 describes two different needles, 2.75 mm and 3 mm diameters.  W. T. F.?!?  You know I only figured this out when I got the wrong size.  So I decided to take the needles back and swap them.  But in the last year, I haven’t been anywhere near that yarn store again.  It is much further south than my usual business zone and I never had another reason to go down there.

So I still have those needles.  Sitting around somewhere.  I don’t know if I ever used them or not.  But not too long ago, I made a Knit Picks order.  And I ordered both sets of size 2s just to be damn sure.  Then it sat for some reason.  By this time other projects had come and gone and I was always more excited about something else.

Well I am moving again and I went on a stash purge.  I gave away a considerable amount of yarn and found many WIPs that need attention, including this baby.  And my Sylvi which upon reflection would make a fantastic spring jacket for my new home in Seattle.  So next I will muster up the desire to work on that one.

Until then, I have added to inches to the Juno Regina, it’s going swimmingly again and it feels so lovely to the touch.

12.07.2010

Infinite Knitters

Knitting blogs go quiet a few times a year. Often in the summer, when summertime activities keep us away from our knitting and playing outside in the sun. Again around the winter holidays while we are frantically knitting gifts for loved ones.

Neither of those reasons apply here. I have just been, well, busy. I am moving to Seattle at the end of this month and the list of to dos for moving up the coast is extensive. As well as Christmas coming up, holiday parties, and spending quality time with friends before I go.

Knitting was been set to the wayside for a few. I bought an Ashford 24" Rigid Heddle weaving loom and worked a single project which taught me a LOT about tension. I was confused on how to change colors without carrying floats up the side or weave in ends. Although last night I hosted my weekly knitting group in my home. As kind of a going away party. The minute I mentioned my color change issue, my resident weaving expert set me straight and I emited a loud "AHA!". I should have just asked her in the first place. So yeah, forehead slap.

I am so glad that I was able to host my group at my home. It has changed quite a bit since we started knitting together 4 years ago. Members have come and gone, but several of the ole timers made it as well as some new faces. I am really going to miss these ladies. I met my former roommate Susan through this group. We've been through cancers, diabetes, surgeries, break ups and steeks together. I don't know that any of us are particularly close, but we are reliable. And it is hard not to feel a bond with someone you have worked beside every week for four years.

The new faces talk today's movie studs, unless it was Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Could be either.
Patti tries on her fingerless gloves to show off.


Mag's recent weaving work, including the Avatar inspired scarves she recently finished (posted on her website SDMags)

Nancy's "Dorky" kitty eared hat she just knit for her daughter

11.13.2010

Steaming into Port

My knitting has taken a hiatus while we prepare for shore. Which turns out is tomorrow. I lose track of time out here the days all blend together. I hear a lot of people counting down, but I am most definitely not one of those.


For starters, the last few days of the trip involve a lot of packing for me and my counterpart. I really hate packing. I would rather sail another two months, eating canned peaches, than do this packing.

This trip is a particular pain in the ass, because the containers that we want to ship so San Diego are leaving while we are still in port. We have to be completely offloaded into two containers in two days. This means I am not looking forward to port. Hot, tired, sweaty and sore is all I see in port.

The ship crew and science party on the other hand are really looking forward to it. They crew takes turns taking a day off, where they go explore and the science party only has a few pieces to ship so they will be off enjoying themselves, while I and the other technicians are here, all day, every day, loading.

This morning, is my last morning at sea and the calm before the storm. I am going to pour a hot, strong cup of coffee, fold up my laptop and sit out on deck. Soaking up the last bit of peace and concentrate on the Thanksgiving holiday right on the other side of all the crazy. I'll survive this, but this morning, I just need a little wind on my face.

11.09.2010

Knitting Haiku

Yesterday, The Yarn Harlot had a giveaway on her blog and in order to enter you had to write a knitting haiku in her comments.


I did, but it turns out her blog crashed when THOUSANDS of haiku showed up on her blog. When I went back today to look for mine, it wasn't there. I think the crashing eated it and she never saw it.

But I was so proud of it, so I am rewriting it for you, even though it won't win me a Franklin Habit nor One Skein book.

Binding off. Again.
I'm done. I mean it. I swear.
Won't fix it no more.

I however love the idea of Knitting Haiku and while I don't have a history of writing any sort of poetry, this could become a habit.

Cast on another
One project is not enough
I never finish.

Oh yes, there is science too...

I haven't talked much about the science we are doing this cruise and now we are almost completed. So maybe I should get talking.


I believe the focus of this study is sediment focusing and erosion off the coast of Central America, specifically near Cocos Ridge, Carnegie Ridge and Peru Basin. First we would do some surveying with our seismic system and multi-beam. Then we would pick a few sites from that survey to take samples of the sediment using either piston cores, gravity cores or multi-cores. There was some water sampling done too.

For the most part everything has run pretty smoothly. Seismic for a few days, stop and do a few cores for a few days. Do a water cast. This last site gave us a few problems. We had lots and lots of mammals for a change which requires shutting down.

This is me, running my deck and deploying my seismic gear...
We also had some problems with fishing gear in the water. They create a threat to the gear we tow in a seismic survey. However, the fishing gear was probably a good indication for what would happen later that night. Around two A. M. in the middle of coring, we were completely surrounded by mahi tuna.

It led to a little of this...
and a little of that...
and eventually, as the sun started to come up, some of...
Yesterday we spent stuck in the mud. A core proved difficult to pull out of the sediment and for about 21 hours were were stuck. We moved the boat a little and pulled on the wire, the moved the boat a little and pulled on the wire, in four different directions. Then we centered ourselves over it again and tried to pull straight out. There was nothing we could do, after maintaining a tension of 22,000 lbs most of the evening, the wire finally snapped around 30,000 lbs.

This happened while I was sleeping. I remember waking up at some point in the night, I don't know if it was a noise or a rocking or what, but I thought to myself, "We must be unstuck." And when right back to sleep. It must have been the wire breaking and whipping around the deck because the coring takes place right above my room.

We are surveying for two more days, then hauling gear and heading for Arrica, Chile. Along the way, these 'wogs on board will pay for their transgression, violating the realm of King Neptune.

Let the fun begin!

11.07.2010

Hand Spun Ear Flap

The last time I was in Boise (September?), I was working on a cowl from my own hand spun. Sheep Shed Studio Mill Ends three ply with two strands of black and one strand of white. I spun a ton of this and lost my enthusiasm for whatever I originally had in mind. I gave skein of it to a knitting friend of mine in Oregon and then tried a cowl for myself.


But it wasn't working out. I couldn't find a stitch pattern that worked well with the yarn. I was pretty much limited to stockinette. I ripped it out about 4 times. Then, on the fourth time, knitting in Boise, a friend asked what I was knitting. A friend who doesn't really care to hear about what I'm knitting usually.

I followed up with "Why do you ask? Do you need something."

"Oh no, I don't need anything, but I would wear an ear flap hat."

And we all know how a knitter responds to something like that. It was as if the Knit Signal was thrown into the sky. My brain said, "You hate this cowl, knit a hat. His head is freezing and his ears might fall off if you don't knit this man a hat!"

I told him I would start him a hat, to which he asked if he could pick the colors. My internal monologue flared up with rage.

"Of course you can't, I'm going to knit this with my own handspun, as a gift, for you, something I want to knit and you are going to like it!"

But instead I said, "Depends on what color you choose."

"I was thinking black and white."

"...okay..." So I cast this hat on three times. I think I was knitting it on 5s. I never really measured the gauge of the finished hand spun. Didn't measure the yardage or weight before I started giving it away. But after two tries, I decided I didn't like the tiny little gauge. It was moving much too slowly. So I said to hell with that and cast on doubled up.

I have had problems with ear flap hats in the past, stockinette curls, but there really wasn't a stitch pattern I liked with this yarn, I had tried on the cowl. I didn't really consider double knitting it until after I had finished the flaps (but that is my game plan next ear flap hat, except Jayne which needs to curl a little, just like in the movie).
So in order to fix it, I tried some duplicate stitching on the inside of the ear flaps and it did make it much flatter. I think when I get home I might try to steam block it out a little as well. I added some yarn braids to the ends of the ear flaps and a little one on the top. Because something belonged there and neither the recipient nor I are big on pom poms.
So that's done. I think I want to go on an ear flap hat study. I need to do some research about them. To me, they seem much more like cheek flaps. Or did I start them too low? Or knit the hat too high? Do they really function as anything? Ever? Besides looking sweet? What is the "best" method for knitting ear flaps? I have a feeling double knitting them is gonna be the way to go.

Also, much ado has been made about Joe's brimmed hat. Folks love it. Joe loves it. He went fishing in it. I'm getting knitting requests every day. The thing is, I only have so much yarn with me (and believe me I have way more yarn/wool than I do clothes this trip) and it takes time and work. I don't mind making things for people I know will really appreciate it but I can't just make something for everyone right now. Right this second. Oh well, I suppose saying no a few times can only up the value of my work right? Put it in demand? That's just simple economics right there.

So to all those people I love enough to knit for, to have knit more than once for, I hope you are appreciating it. If you ever don't love something anymore, I will not be offended for it to be returned to me so I can enjoy it, rather than having it languish in a drawer or closet to be hidden. I only want to make things that are loved and it isn't so much about "You don't like what I made for you? You hurt my feelings." It's more about fitting the right knitted item to the right person. You don't have to love something just because I made it; I knit all kinds of things and styles, and I know there is someone else who will, or maybe even I could keep something once in a while. You know, just... sometimes.

11.06.2010

Brioche Cabled Hat

Mastering two colored cabled brioche, knit flat, made me really proud of myself. But I had to bump it up a notch.

The person it is going to be gifted to, has requested a brimmed knit hat. So of course, I figured I should make a matching set. Deciding to knit it in the round, I tried to measure my gauge flat, but the initial cast on in the round came out like a tent from the bottom up.

Trying to work out the numbers again, I had a hard time working out a duplicate cabled pattern in the number of stitches I needed for a noggin. My next attempt came out with a stretchy enough brim, but the cables made it much too small for any adult human head.

This brings me to my current attempt. I cast on the same amount of stitches, but hopefully will have altered the cable pattern enough to fit.
I wanted to take this picture for you however to brag a litle I guess. Right there between my thumb and index finger is the beginning of the round. While, yes, it is offset ever so slightly, I think that is as seamless a join you could get. I am so proud that it isn't a glaringly obvious mess.

uh oh

24" Ashford Rigid Heddle table loom


Yeah, I might be a weaver soon. Because I don't have enough hobbies.

11.04.2010

Brioche Cabled Cowl

I grabbed a few balls of Paton's Classic Wool Merino to bring with me. One in New Denim, specifically for repairing the Cabled Newsboy Cap I recently patched and the other because when I had an entire skein of the blue leftover, what was I gonna do with it all by itself? So I purchased another in Mulberry or something like that (someone threw my label away, grumble).
I have been itching to learn brioche because, well, look at it. It looks so complicated, there is so much depth. I had heard how smooshy the fabric was. And because it was a little scary. I had to master and intimidate other knitters with my prowess, mwhahahahahah.


Sorry, I'm back. Well in the browsing the web for brioche instructions (this website was super helpful) I came across a cabled brioche scarf pattern and I figured if I could make my brioche a little more intimidating, I was gonna. And in reality, I figured adding cables would really help me get to know the brioche stitch in depth and it's resulting fabric properties.
I decided I wanted it to be a cowl (because that is apparently the word of the season) and I had to figure out how to stitch it together nearly seamlessly. I laid it onto the table and stared. And stared. And stared. I maybe drew a few stitches in my notebook. The final result is this...
I'm sure an experienced (or even not so experienced) knitter can spot the seam. It wasn't a provisional cast on or anything so I expect it to be visible. But if you ask me, that is a pretty damn fine seam in my first cabled brioche project.

The cables were really not much more complicated than any other ribbed cable once you got the hang of the brioche stitch. Ribbed cables are beautiful, completely reversible and let's not forget beautiful. I believe I did mention that they were possibly my new best friends right?

The final result is a super squishy, super warm, super soft and super thick little neck warmer and I foresee a few more of these little cuties in my future. Possibly with a proper provisional cast on for a better seam. Maybe some crazier cables.

This one will be gifted at Christmas time (and she knows who she is), but I was so proud of myself I couldn't keep it a secret. Thanks again to Patti for my FO pics!

11.03.2010

A Fair Trade

Another finished object at sea. Years ago I saw one of our crewmen, Joe, wearing a sweet ring. It was a stainless steel nut which had screws tapped into the side, then it was drilled out smooth in the center. When I asked him about it, he told me he made it himself. You know how I appreciate a handcraft, I loved it. Immediately. We struck a deal, he wanted a hat, I wanted a ring, we thought it sounded like a fair trade.


Anyway, time passed and we both forgot and didn't sail together much after then. Fast forward to last week.

Joe looks at me "Hey, didn't you promise me a hat?"
"Hey, didn't you promise me a ring?"

So we both got to work.
It is a little heavier than your standard decorative ring, but I love the weight of it. It feels good in my hand and it fits perfectly.
Don't let the lack of smiles fool you, he loves it. I was just being a bossy art director. The hat is leftover Wool of the Andes Bulky from the Ottawa Locks that I recently finished. I also had some of the plastic mesh sheeting I used to patch the Cabled Newsboy Cap so I was able to add a brim. The bulky stitches stretched quite a bit when I added the plastic sheet so I used a whip stitch in left over yarn around the edge to keep the plastic from sticking out.
Thank you Joe! I love my ring. It totally kicks butt and makes me feel like punching people.

11.01.2010

Patch Job

A Christmas or so ago, I made one of my sisters the Cabled Newsboy Cap out of Stitch 'n Bitch Nation (one for my dad as well, they seemed to be a big hit). Her dog Oakley, who is the energetic sort, got a hold of it and chewed an entire corner of the brim. Sister got pregnant and they decided they couldn't handle two dogs any more and Oakley was found a new home. Now if you ask her, the reason was the upcoming baby. In actuality, she really loved that hat.

I brought it with me and patched it the other day. It was knit in Paton's Classic Wool Merino in Denim and I had to patch it with Paton's Classic Wool Merino in New Denim which is much more solid in color. I didn't have the right size dpns for the job either. So the gauge is a little tighter and the blue is just a little off, but it is most definitely patched.

Thanks again to Patti for the photoshoot.

Argyley

So before getting back to my other Underway FOs, I'm going to interrupt here to post something I should have posted weeks ago, but just didn't have the time to sit down and write you.


Remember the Gray Sweater I cast on back in August? I had roughly a month to complete it before the friend it was intended for trekked all the way from Bristol, UK to San Diego for a conference to retrieve it. Believe it or not, I finished it on time. Even I was surprised.
It fit great. It required some creative steam blocking in the shoulders, but overall I am super satisfied with how it turned out. I (and my knitting group, where he stopped and modeled it for the girls) think he looks quite dashing. Now it just needs to get cold enough in the UK to wear this beast. Bulky 100% wool.

10.30.2010

Ottawa Locks

With three recently finished projects, I asked my bunkmate Patti if she wouldn't mind helping me with a little photo shoot. She was so gracious to say yes, and put up with my ceaseless direction, "This is about the knitting, not me, but I don't want to look like an idiot either." and "Here, step on this unsteady milk crate on a rolling ship to get better light."

THANK YOU PATTI!

Today we will highlight the ribbed/garter/cable project that I carried with me through Ontario, Canada a few weeks ago. I have decided to call it Ottawa Locks...


I joined it with a half twist. It was too short for a functional scarf after two pattern repeats and I was sure it would be much too huge after three pattern repeats. It is really wide at approximately 8". I thought the half twist would make it better to twist up on my neck, but that was wrong.


It doesn't seem to matter though, I do love it. I hope it blows and snows in Idaho for Thanksgiving so it can keep me warm and toasty without overheating, because you know, I'm gonna wear it no matter what.

So it is a background of garter stitch and the criss-crossing trellis-like pattern was accomplished in ribs so it is fully reversible. I think ribs are my new best friend.

Just as a little refresher, Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Bulky, I'm not sure what the color was because it de-stashed from someone else. A personal pattern, I knit it on size 8mms, (it doesn't have a US size on these needles, they were also a de-stash from someone else).


Photo-bombed by our Chief Mate Joe Ferris. You may remember Joe was the recipient of a kickass green garter stitch hat that he later lost in the mountains of Patagonia. I would be mad, but he wore it and that's the highest compliment a knitter can get.

10.28.2010

A Blog of It's Own

http://geoweb.tamu.edu/blog

Information about my current cruise can be found here.

psst I have information that implies two of my own photos will be on the next post about the seismic deployment.

10.26.2010

Packing

I travel. A lot. You would think that I would be a professional packer, but I'm not. Actually I'm fantastic at making things fit in my limited luggage space. What I fail at is remembering all the items that need to fit in said space.

I forgot several things I bring every scientific cruise.

- A swimsuit for the kick ass makeshift hot tub on board the R/V Melville.

- A head lamp and string of Christmas lights so I don't have to turn on the overhead lighting on my bunkmate while she is sleeping.

- My half liter Nalgene water bottle.

- A handkerchief, for hair, for sweat, for washclothes, for everything really.

That said, there are a few things that I almost never forget and I'm so glad i didn't this time. So here are a few of my travel tips, not just for Research Vessels.

1. Use a backpack, especially in foreign countries.

Yes you tend to stick out as a foreigner but if you think that is the only (or even first) thing giving you away, you are definitely not passing for a local.

The advice is the direct result of my time in Tokyo. Tokyo of all places. The heart, soul and Mecca of modern technology. When you see images all you see are Times Square like cross walks and you imagine being just fine with a 5th Ave style crocodile roller bag. Well it ain't true I tell you.

Transportation in Tokyo is fabulous. I stepped off the subway to discover about 100 stairs to the street above and a busted elevator. I had packed for my standard 6 weeks at sea (craft projects, foul weather gear, etc) in one large roller bag. Too heavy to carry, I had to drag it up the stairs. Between that and the return trip down when I left town, my luggage never recovered with a permanently damaged frame.

Let's also not forget the hideous sound of your wheels on the pavement, enough to drown out the cicadas in the parks. It will draw the eye of everyone within a block and then anyone who wouldn't have noticed you before is staring and tut-ing.

A good backpack is comfortable, quiet and it goes everywhere you do.

2. For the knitters Start with a brand new project the day of flight.

I have never (knocking on wooden dpns) had my needles confiscated at the security check point. But I always do the following, just in case, bring inexpensive clover bamboo or wooden needles, sticking to circulars, and cast on at the airport or the day before with a simple stitch pattern.

Wooden needles tend to be forgiven, especially stored with wooden pencils. Circulars are the least offensive to those around you ( shorter and no swinging ends) and minimizes the length of the actual needle keeping TSA happy.

If they are taken from you, you only just started and it is less painful to remove the needles and pick up dropped stitches or just frog and cast back on when reunited with needles in your checked bag (because you checked spares right?).

If for some reason you MUST carry on that heirloom laceweight shawl on the addi turbos you have spent the last year of your life on, throw in a lifeline before you go.

3. Zippered pillow cases.

A large bag with few pockets fits the most stuff, but makes organization more difficult. However, zippered pillow cases keep wool roving and yarn neatly separated from clothing and standard sizes are perfect for about a week's worth of folded clothes (at least in my case, but I'm not super stylish). When you reach that destination you can keep clean separated from dirty and if need be, you have a private laundry bag to head off to the laundromat.

Along the same thought, fabric bags in general make better purses. When you are souvenir shopping they are invaluable and an extra duffel bag never hurts if you plan to shopt (and I konw you do!).

4. Rubber budded earphones

Doubles as earplugs when necessary and when those noice cancelling headphones have to be turned off for taxi and take off.

5. A book. Real actual printed book.

Paper books never have to be turned off or put away. Same thing with your knitting.

Now, I'm sure I don't have to remind you kids to always know where your towel is.

10.15.2010

Knits in the Wild

My mom recently took some pictures of two of my sisters and nephew at a Pumpkin Patch in Everett, WA.

One of my sisters is wearing a hat I completely forgot I had made. I was looking through the pictures thinking, "Wow, I love that red hat! where did she get it?"

It is in a bulky alpaca, knit in one day during my Christmas visit home last year. My youngest sister (not pictured) asked me specifically for a hat and I went to a Coeur d'Alene yarn shop and found a bulky alpaca in gray. It is knit in the round, with no shaping and the yarn is drawn through the top stitches. It came out so great another sister and I went to the same yarn shop and picked the same yarn up in red. Before you know it, there were twins.

The drape in the hat is mostly due to the super soft alpaca I used, it was just like a cloud. The warmth of the alpaca totally makes up for any coolness the big open lace would have produced.

It makes me feel so good to see my knitted gifts being used.
/sigh

Now to find out what they were looking at...
<3

Ontario in the Fall

I just returned from a couple of places in Ontario, Canada where the weather is brisk in the morning and you are peeling off layers in the afternoon.
Leaves are turning and piles of pumpkins are everywhere. I couldn't have been happier.
I stopped at a yarn store called Janie H Knits outside Perth and I was so happy I stopped. I wandered through the store with the two lovely ladies who worked there while my co-worker sat in the car. Two of us pulled out skein after skein after skein while she showed off locally produced yarns and we discussed patterns and where to eat in Ottawa. I think she was 10 seconds from blowing off the shop to join me in Ottawa for lunch.

I walked away with three balls of locally grown and spun alpaca, which is labelless, on tiny little ball of quiviuk, merino, silk blend because it's a souvenir and the cost is irrelevant (right?) and a locally carved button. I also picked up this journal, not for me, because organized journals have never worked for me (I'm a quadruled composition book or engineering pad kind of girl myself) but rather for my friend Krissy who contacted me after my last post to ask about my charting method.

This little journal has pockets, calendars, knitting abbreviations and most importantly of all, pages and pages of graphed paper. I am a little surprised however that the charts are square and not a little wider with stockinette stitches being squat and all, but I gave Krissy a heads up to pay attention to square charts.

My afternoon in Ottawa included a few hours in the Canada National Gallery. It was not nearly enough time. I walked away with a list of artists I am interested in learning more about, Frances Loring, Lawren S Harris and a few more that I had never seen before but really managed to float my boat.
I stopped and knit for a few minutes on a bench over looking the locks. It was so beautiful. I wish I had time at home to just sit with my fiber and dye pot and reflect on all the beautiful fall colors.

But alas. Today I am working and packing, tomorrow I leave for Costa Rica and another exciting adventure on the high seas. I'll keep you posted.

10.11.2010

Third Time's a Chart

Much better! I've even started a chart. Maybe I'll share.

Chicago O'Hare Airport

It wouldn't be a layover if I didn't stop at a bookstore and pick up a Palahniuk novel. This trip, Pygmy.
Next stop, Ottawa.

Also, I began my second iteration of my new scarf.
I think I'm almost there. I'm gonna rip it out again, not because I'm not liking it, I really am. But I made a lot of mistakes, I'd like to change some cables and I need to either cast on 3 more stitches or two less. I think I'll go for three more.

10.08.2010

blues

So my cousin commented on the photo of my orange dyed roving I posted on Facebook. And the second I saw her name, inspiration struck me. I'm sure the second she sees the dark blue I dyed last night, she will know exactly what she inspired.I didn't have any dying planned last night (Jayne Hat, Yarn C is not ready to dye yet) so while I plied up Yarn C I figured it couldn't hurt to have the dye pot going on the stove.
The light blue was the second round through the dye pot and the green was the final, I added just a little yellow to the last round for no reason at all.


I'm packing for my next large trip and I loaded some gear on the ship today so it will be waiting for me when I meet it in Costa Rica. Things I don't want to carry. Besides work clothes, warm gear, toiletries, I added two spindles, one is my supported bowl project and another is an empty one ready for spinning the orange roving, all the orange I dyed and the yellow which was finished, and a large supply of dpns.

Now I leave town tonight to visit my aunt. I'll be bringing knitting and a little light blue and green to play around with on my spindle as I just finished plying Jayne Hat, Yarn C.

10.06.2010

I may have just rolled around naked in orange wool. I may have just shoved it into my face and taken a deep breath. Both are equally likely.

Jayne Hat, Yarn B: Dyed though Unspun.


The dyeing project went well last night. It was my first attempt dyeing roving and I was scared. Nightmares of matted, felted sheets of wool were pervading my dreams. In the photo above the wool on the upper left is from the first round in the dye pot and hopefully the color I want. The colander on the stove is full have handfuls that I tossed into the dye pot to soak up some of the leftover dye and the top right is the last handful, so third round through the dye pot.


It was matted and so while I was drying I pulled it apart a little to make sure it wasn't felted anywhere and it appears to be so far so good. The long strands of roving ended up working better than the handfuls because I could hang them to dry, which I couldn't do with that second round of fiber.

I think I managed to get the right color orange which is more or less a miracle. I literally just shook some red in, then yellow, then yellow, then yellow and crossed my fingers. I'm very excited to get spinning on this, but I have a half bobbin of undyed whites (soon to be red) that I want to finish up first.

10.05.2010

10/10/10

I am madly in love with Jared Flood's new pattern Wayfarer. It is such a simple concept and it makes me wonder what I can do with a combination of ribbing and garter stitch. Here is my first attempt to play with the combination. It's fun to play with, but I'm sure I'm gonna rip it out and play some more.

I'm playing around with spinning some blues and greens.


And finally, Jayne Hat, Yarn C has been dyed and is drying.

Jayne Hat, Yarn B


I currently have a very long strand of roving from my Mill Ends in my dye pot, going for Orange. I decided to dye this one up first because I can take it with me on a spindle if I have to.

I haven't even come close to removing it from the dye pot and I already see a massive mistake. I should have torn it into smaller handfuls. That way I can scoop it out with my giant colander spoon and allow it to cool in the sink before washing it. I don't wanna pour it out of my giant dye pot for two reasons, burning my fragile flesh and agitating hot, wet wool can result in felting.

Meanwhile, I continue to spin undyed roving on my wheel and I will dye that as soon as it is finished. I have Tonight, Wednesday, Thursday and next Friday to try to get it all dyed. Like I said, spinning can continue on a spindle away from home.


This will be an eventful evening.

10.04.2010

Jayne hat, Yarn A

So it has begun.

Sheep shed studio mill ends, spun on my Fidelis, Navajo plied twice on my cheap bulky student spindle. It's about half a bobbin's worth and approximately 42.75 yards.

I would like to get all three colors spun and dyed by the end of the week. Wish me luck.

10.02.2010

It's about Jayne time

I have a new project in the works. Well two actually but today you only get to hear about this one.


I was asked for a Jayne hat. I didn't ever wanna make a Jayne hat. But a few things have come together just right. I had started spinning some white Sheep Shed mill ends on my Heavenly Handspinning Fidelis without a project in mind. Just something to spin.

I received a Knit Picks dye kit for Christmas and it includes yellow. Which I really don't like as a color. So here is my chance to get rid of it.

Complications? The yarn is coming out DK weight. The original Jayne hat is bulky. Do I want to just knit it at a smaller gauge? or knit two strands held together? or ply it again and make a cabled 3x3.

Also, how much yarn do I dye for each section of the hat (A Google Image search for "Jayne hat" can help you if you don't know what hat I'm referring too)? I really don't want to end up with left over yellow.

9.09.2010

I, it turns out, am not a process spinner, just as I am not a process knitter. I mean, I enjoy spinning, but I have started having projects in mind and when that happens I just cannot spin fast enough. For one, I have started a Knit a Long for the Off to the Races scarf with my Sheep Shed Studio Ravelry group (hope you love a link). Well of course I want to spin up some of my SSS Mill Ends for this and I have some white sitting on a bobbin. I'll do up some more, make a 2 ply (a rarity in my house hold) and dye it after the fact.

However, I know what I want and I want to get started on the knitting, on the dying, on the plying. Anything that is LATER in the process.

I have some other new toys that want my attention too! As a belated birthday gift a friend of mine recently sent me a Cotton Clouds spinning kit that includes a Takli spindle (time to check out the hype) and several different types of cotton. Well I had to get started on that basically the second I pulled it into my house.
I have three (now four) spindles with something started on them, I have on project midway on the wheel. And I thought my knitting ADD was bad.

I went off to the Penny Arcade Expo last weekend and it was beyond awesome. I worked for Paul and Storm, some comedy musicians that you absolutely must check out, two sisters joined me, I partied it up with two of my best friends, my favorite Canadian and saw many an amazing thing. Maybe when all the memories are done extracting, I'll put it all on paper. For now, they are all compressed into a zip file tucked deep into my brain to allow for post PAX recovery. Few things to note, I did not get swine flu this year, I signed autographs, I sat next to Damien Hess (AKA MC Frontalot) all weekend, watched Adam Sessler and Morgan Webb prepare for filming and had a legitimate conversation with Jerry Holkins.

I also saw someone spinning bright blue corriedale on a turkish drop spindle to the wonderment of Molly Lewis. Oh what a magical weekend PAX is.

8.25.2010

#PAgamesdialog

Some of you in the Twitterverse may have become aware of a discussion regarding THQ's decision to sell games with a one time use code for some features. That way when a used copy of the game is sold, second hand users have to buy a code from THQ to unlock all the features of the game.

This decision results from the fact that THQ sees no proceeds from second hand sales and Gamestop is a large target for this argument.

Let's think about this for a minute, this is not a subject that is new and it applies to music, movies, artists and more.

1 - If I purchase a game used and I love it. That franchise has just made a fan. A fan that in the future will likely pay for a new copy of sequels in the future. While indirectly supporting the developer, it is good for them in the long run should their product be awesome.

2 - I am busted ass broke. I LOVE video games and I don't think anyone who knows me would argue. However I am still without a Wii, which I desperately want. Why is that? It's because I know I cannot afford the $60 price tag on most games these days. So not only do I have to pay exorbitantly for the console, but then I can't afford the games to play on it. I KNOW I am not the only person who has this problem. If developers cut the cost of a game by half, I believe their market would explode exponentially. Meaning there would be way more new sales and more money directly to the developer, rather than people waiting for used copies to become available. Gamers and developers alike are then happy.

Some arguments that have come up, THQ's plan is like selling a used car without the tires. Well that's not true. When you buy a car, you are purchasing a physical object. This doesn't mean you can drive it. When you buy a game you aren't necessarily paying for something you can hold. Thanks to things like Steam (which I LOVE) and digital downloads, you aren't paying for a physical object you are paying to experience that object.

The cost of developing games with bigger and better graphics, options, etc is rising. This is true. But once the game is made it is made. Sell it for cheaper, to a much bigger audience and you will see all the proceeds. Isn't a large part of the demand for used games thanks to the massive new price tag?

You can follow this discussion on Twitter by looking for the hastag #PAgamesdialog started by Gabe at Penny Arcade

If you are interested in my Twitter Geek you can follow me at bm0nies

8.06.2010

Moving:
I have moved into my new place and every day it feels a little more like home as I continue to unpack or store boxes out of sight. For instance my bathroom floor is now clear, but my toiletries aren't really yet where they need to be, just out of sight.

A friend from Boise came down to help me move and we even worked in some time for fun. Went out to breakfast with one of my local knitting friends, pulled out my entire stash and let her go shopping (yay for knitting friends!), visited the wild animal park and checked out the local National Comedy Theater. We had a great time! When we were exhausted from moving we also sat around on the couch/bed and watched Netflix with our knitting. It feels so good to be understood.
Last night former Roomie Susan and I paid a visit to our knitting buddy and Susan got a pet fix. She recently had to find a new home for her kitty when an allergist was unable to help get her allergies under control. With the new baby on the way (did you see that on her blog?!? She's havin' a baby!) it seemed the most responsible thing to do. Apparently you need oxygen to help cook a baby. From the looks of it though, she may have made some new friends to help her get through it.

Knitting:
Meanwhile I have begun work on a gray, bulky, 100% wool, reclaimed yarn, sweater. It is almost entirely stockinette with a diamond detail up the front just to the right (on the wearer, left for the viewer) of center. I guess you could call it a cable, there is exactly one cable stitch in every repeat. It is outlined by a single purl stitch, but it is largely created by increasing/decreasing on either side of the purl stitch. Pretty simple actually but I think it makes for a very subtle, yet interesting and masculine detail.
I had knit about 8 inches of the body (bottom up, in the round) when I discovered I had knit it about 6 inches too big around. Now don't everyone start jumping on me right away about swatching, believe it or not I did swatch. But swatched as little as I could and still get away with it. I maybe only swatched wide enough to test out my little diamond detail. It only had a few purls in it, how different could the stockinette be I figured? Well it turns out my gauge in the diamond pattern is about 70% of the rest of the sweater. So, whoops.

After remeasuring my gauge on the body I ripped the whole thing out (heart breaking!) and cast on again. I had intended to add 2 inches in ease. Largely because I envision this sweater over maybe two layers (hooo boy he's gonna be warm). It's too rough to wear next to skin and as the intended recipient is a proper English bloke (I suppose that means I'm knitting a jumper) I'm imagining a button up and undershirt underneath. Right now as I measure the bottom of the sweater, the circumference is exactly his chest measurement. I'm hoping if I add just a hair more length than the measurements require I can block this to exactly the right size. Here's hoping. I will be devastated if it doesn't fit.

The more I think about the warmth this guy is gonna provide, the more I think maybe I should have knit a cardigan. There could be steeking in my future. We'll see. The most stressful part of this project is the timeline. The recipient will be arriving in S. California at the end of this month. It has been a few years since I've seen him and it will likely be a few years before I do again. I would really like to see this on him when he comes to visit.

Now I mentioned I pulled out my entire stash. While it was out and I was pulling out skein/hanks for my Boise knitters I didn't re-consolidate or organize the yarn I was keeping. So I I want to pull it all out again, this time get a pretty picture of the actual yarn instead of just the mountain of boxes I keep it in (not all of which can you see in this picture either).

Also, tomorrow I leave for 5 days with my new nephew. I am so excited. He is so beautiful and tiny and just the most amazing thing in the world. Now, this jumper is on a deadline and I really need to finish it and I have hours in the Reno airport just sitting around tomorrow. But I really want to bring some spinning! Please? No. No spinning for me. If I bring another project I won't finish this one. As a reward when I get this jumper finished however I'm gonna be a spinning foo'!
Maybe I could just bring a little? You know, like a carrot on a stick?