Thursday, May 31, 2007

Two Steps Forward & Three Steps Back

That's what it feels like around here right now anyway. I managed to get the sock reknit to a few rows past where I ripped from.
Look Ma, no pooling!
It seems to have worked. The pooling is no more. Now I have striping. Which was the intention of course, so I'm very happy. Whether or not the stripes actually match the other sock will have to wait for a bit. But striping is good enough, exact striping would be a bonus.

But then, we come to the bag. I'd gotten about 60% of the way through the bottom of the French Market Bag when I decided to switch over to a circular. So I made myself some stitch markers to keep track of the increase points.
I know I could have just looked and seen where to do increases but I'd been playing with stitch marker making and thought it would be fun to have some to go with the bag as I worked on it. But in keeping with today's theme, a few rounds after going onto the circular I realized that I'd miscounted or something and so I've ripped it all out and I'm going to start over. So I really didn't need those markers yet after all. Well, they'll come in handy eventually, right?

Sigh. Two steps forward and three steps back about sums it up.

And lastly, the dog has stored up enough cute points to stay alive for quite a while. A couple of nights ago she was up on the couch next to me. When I started working on my laptop she started watching the screen.
What's a blog, Mommy?
She was watching the mouse arrow move around on the screen and every time the screen changed she noticed. I started taking photos but I wish I'd had the camera set to video because while I was taking pictures, I switched tabs in Firefox and brought up the picture of her from the last post and she did the push your head forward to get a closer look thing. It was hysterically funny.

Well, maybe you had to be there...

Monday, May 28, 2007

So much time, so little accomplished

For a long weekend I got remarkably little accomplished. I started the Knitty French Market Bag in order to have something to knit in yarn big enough to see without extra magnification. I've only gotten this far so it's not really worthy of a photo yet. But I'll go ahead because it does show the pretty yarn. I hope some of that heathering will show in the final felted version.

That's a set of caesin needles. Which I'm glad I bought, because the dog apparently thinks they taste yucky so she only put one tooth mark on one of them. Unlike the bamboo dpn in my Inside Out socks which she splintered into many little bits.

I got a little further with the Inside Out socks out of Monsoon from the February (yes February) kit from the sock club. I still haven't knit up everything I ripped back yet but so far I'm still getting stripes not pooling. I hope that will continue and that I have found the tensioning trick and can remember to use it consistently. In case the info is needed by someone else, the only way I can get gauge (or close anyway) is to force myself to knit tightly. Even using 000 needles I could only get 7.5 stitches per inch, not 8. So I changed how I hold the yarn. Normally I just wrap around my pinkie and that works ok.

But I couldn't get gauge like that for this pattern with this yarn even going down to 000 needles. For these socks I found that if I also wrapped around my ring finger I could keep the yarn tight enough to get very close to gauge if not right on it.

It makes it harder to knit and slower but I'm getting gauge - or close enough anyway. Anyway, hopefully that might help someone else sometime. Yeesh my hands look horrible. I'm not really a scullery maid. I just apparently have her hands. (I wonder if she'd be willing to trade back?)

I also managed to find a scrap of white wool and make a tail for my sleepy sheep. But a photo of that would just be gratuitous cuteness so I'll stop myself. For now.

Oh and some spinning got done. At least half of this was spun well over a year ago. I finished it up over the course of the last month and plyed it up this weekend. The grist of the singles is all over the map because I was using this to try to teach myself how to spin the size yarn I wanted not only what the wheel would let me have if that makes sense. It's a mystery fiber that isn't as glossy as it looks in this photo.
This was spun on my Columbine but plied on my Jensen Tina II wheel. And I was quite sloppy about the plying because, really I just wanted the Columbine bobbins for the luscious brown wool I'm spinning on it. I have no idea how much this weighs or how many yards there are. It is in three skeins because there were intervening bits of other stuff (I have no idea why about that either at this point - last week is already out of active memory stores, let alone last year) which I didn't want to just ply in. Anyway, I dunno that I'll ever use it for anything. I don't find the color particularly appealing. That's fairly close in the photo there. A bit more mauve and less lavendery I guess I'm just not a mauve person. Which begs the question, why did I buy this roving in the first place? I have no idea.

And in further annoying dog tales, she's eaten the longest magnet for my chart keeper. I have no idea so far how much of it actually entered her system vs just getting chewed up but I'm starting to get a bit annoyed about how every freaking thing has to get chewed. None of my other dogs were this bad. Even the one who chewed an electrical cord (and miraculously was uninjured) didn't chew everything he could get his mouth on. It also turns out that there is still a piece of felting needle missing. She's not acting like it's in her system but I may have to take her in for an xray soon if I can't find the needle bit or the rest of the magnet. Stupid dog. Good thing she's so cute.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Oh dear - I'm doomed

The last thing I need is another interest to spread my time even thinner. So of course, needle felting caught my eye when it first started appearing. But I kept telling myself I wasn't artistic like that and managed to stay away from it. Until recently.

I dunno if I can blame Sheri or not for this one. I think her blog is where I first found out about WoolPets. And once I saw them I was doomed. I struggled valiently for a while but eventually I caved in. Among others, I bought a Sleepy Sheep kit.
I stalled on trying one because I was still suffering from an inferiority complex vis-a-vis sculpting anything, even in fiber. Today I decided to give one a try. Here's my Sleepy Sheep attempt, completed today in about an hour and a half while watching TV with the sick Hubby (he needs lots of entertaining when he's sick).

It was so fast to do and so fun that I'm totally doing more of them. I'm doomed. As will the dog be if she repeats today's stunt of trying to eat the card with the felting needles attached to it. Luckily she didn't eat the needles. She might have gotten some fluff though. And she definitely got the little skewer thingy. Fortunately enough of it was left in bits all over the floor for me to feel sure she didn't actually swallow anything dangerous. And miraculously, she didn't even try to eat the FO.

I thought it turned out ok. Not great maybe, but ok. Until the following conversation when my daughter arrived home:

Me: See what I did today? What do you think?

DD: What is it?

Me: A sheep, a sleepy sheep.

DD: It looks like a white rat. A dead one.
It's a good thing my ego is resilient. LOL I was planning on trying to make a robin next so that there's a daddy bird for the nest in my daughter's tree. But considering that comment on my Sleepy Sheep, I'm not so sure. I might sulk instead.

Speaking of the tree, c'est fin at last.
And this is why it's there at all in case anyone is curious.
Apparently indoor plumbing came after the house was built. But it also makes a convenient place to run network cable and whatnot.

A friend who saw it in life commented that if the eggs had been real they'd roll out of the nest.
I see what she meant in a way, I think I did round at least one of them too much. But, I've used up my interest in messing about with this tree so I'm hoping it doesn't look too much like that. Or if it does, that the kid won't notice it for years, ideally not until she's picked some other theme for her room that will mean repainting the thing to be a rocket or a Grecian or Roman column because she's moved on from "Nature" to "Star Trek: The Fifth Reinvention" or "Indiana Jane and the Temple of Aphrodite" or some such nonsense.

OK back to actual fiber content. Since last posting I still haven't gotten on the wheel, but I did think about it today. I think I might manage some spinning time tomorrow if Hubby doesn't need me too much. And hopefully some more knitting time. The socks look like this right now.
In addition to all that reknitting I have to do (there's more of the kinky ripped back wool hiding out of frame - but it's all good, and it knits up quite nicely again) I've just realised I forgot the tail on my Sleepy Sheep and there's no white left from the kit thanks to the dog. And my white spinning fiber that I can get to is either not the same color or not the same texture. So I guess I'll have to check on the other sheep kit I have. Maybe it can spare enough for a tail.

That's it for pictures today. I don't know if I'll make it to my uphosltery class tomorrow. It'll depend on how Hubby is doing. I'll be a bit bummed if I don't, I've finally gotten to putting the chair back together to look like a chair and I'd like to get a picture up here soon. I had managed to remember the camera last week, but its battery was dead. It was that sort of day.

Well, I'm off to get back to nursing the poor sufferer. Just as well since neither typing nor knitting is pain free. My fingers hurt. Not from needle felting, or anything else fun or crafty, but from scrubbing the broiler pan. You'd think I'd know better than to use one while the dish-doer is sick. Doh!

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Between a mild case of startitis, and cases of viruses and such around the place over the last couple of weeks, my knitting production hasn't been enough to be worth taking more pictures. I did manage to get the striping Monsoon sock knitted up to the heel beginning. And today while waiting at the clinic for my husband to get hydrated and then sent home with anti-biotics for his bronchmonia I frogged back the one that was pooling because I decided that I did actually care that they matched. But if it pools instead of striping this time through, I'm taking it as a sign from the universe and leaving it pooling instead of frogging again. Frogging was actually a great job to do while waiting in the urgent care clinic all morning though. It was just the right amount mindless and yet attention requiring.

After I frogged it, I knit up a few rows but then got to the point where I was too twitchy to knit anymore. The twitchy has lasted through most of the night, I have knit three rows of a swatch for a new pair of socks tonight but otherwise it's been all laundry and dishes and other domestic annoyances.

In "not really fiber related except by stretching the definition rather thin" I have finished the tree and almost all the repairs to the walls. I just need to do trim paint repairs and then I can clear the tools and such out of the child's room and move her in. Of course that won't be happening that fast with hubby laid out with pneuitis but maybe I can get some of it done. I think moving her bed will be beyond me though since I think it has to come apart to get it out the door.

I'll try to get pictures in a day or two of finished trees, and some sort of knitting or spinning progress. I think tomorrow I'll at least be able to get some spinning in.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Sleepless in Silicon Valley

Sunday night I couldn't sleep because I was so worried about my duties Monday as a mommy. OK, let's be honest, mostly I was just terrified that, among other things (like splitting my pants seam or not knowing the answer to a question I was asked), I would find myself wrestling with an uncooperative loom or wheel or spindle and swear in frustration right in front of a classroom full of kids. "Huh", you say?

Monday I talked (on an executive summary of an executive summary sort of level) to a 2nd grade class about how fibers were turned into clothes from pre-history through the industrial revolution and today. I demonstrated spinning with a hand spindle, a wheel, and weaving on a loom. I let the kids take turns trying weaving on the loom (luckily their teacher supervised that part) and taught nearly 3o kids how to use a hand spindle in two shifts. Sort of. I recommend that if you decide to try something similar you find a way to limit yourself to about 5 or less at a time. You'll have a better chance of staying sane.

Of course, I completely forgot to take any photos of the kids learning spindling or weaving on the loom or any of it so I have no proof of this lunacy on my part. I also forgot to take any photos of the making of all those CD spindles or the pre-weaving done to have something to show the kids to start with. Or of my living room filled to bursting with all manner of fiber and CDs and dowels and looms and thread cones. There is a small chance that someone else took photos at school and if true I'll see if I can get some to post here..

I didn't even think to take a picture of the devastation left behind in my bedroom when I dug the loom out of storage in order to warp it last weekend. My loom's been stored for so long that I'd forgotten just how difficult that little job was. Or possibly I've just forgotten how to do it properly. I shan't be repeating it for a bit I think because, in transporting the loom home again, every single harness leapt off its hooks and most of the cables went all higgledy-piggledy. I'm still so tuckered from the whole experience (and a bit of a cold and upholstery class yesterday) that I can't face putting it all back together yet.

But I probably will re-warp soon. I want to weave a stole from a warp chain I bought at CNCH more years ago than I care to admit which turned up during the aforementioned digging out of the loom. I'm trying to decide if it is better to figure out how (ie find the requisite pattern of dents to fill and leave empty) to warp at 6 epi with a 10 dent reed or just get a 12 dent reed and go every other. I'm not sure how much difference it will make. Many of the yarns are fluffy mohairy boucle things and I'm not sure if it will end up showing in the final project where some of the warp threads are closer together if I use the 10 dent reed with some sort of (1010111010) pattern.

I've gotten some knitting done. I even have finished items. I even have photos of some of them. I'll try to remember to get more soon. I also plan to remember to post to the blog more often from now on.

I've done some spinning for a project and hope to soon be warping up a tapestry loom and trying my hand at a very simple project on that. Although, doing a quick tot up of the number of irons in the fire at the moment, I might have to rethink that one.

The spinning fiber is a nice fluffy wool roving I picked up from a friend. I'm pretty pleased with how it's going considering how long it's been since I last did much spinning. I'm getting a pretty even thread and it's even the size I want or very close to it. How cool is that? Here's my lovely purple Columbine wheel showing the amount I've gotten done. Not that much.
But the color in this picture is much more accurate - well if you can see it anyway. It's a lovely brown. I can't wait to use it.

It's gonna be a two ply yarn when it grows up.

And for the big finish fiber-wise... I have a finished object to show off. I used Ysolda's chart for her skull illusion scarf to make a small pirate theme bag for my friend for her birthday. I added a few skull beads on the ends of the I-cord straps since I didn't want to graft them together because I wanted her to be able to adjust the strap length. I lined it with fabric so she can use it to tote a small knitting project or whatever. And I added a zipper top.

Straight on it looks fairly innocuous...
except maybe for all the skull beads. But at the right angle...
Avast me hearties! I love this chart from the skull illusion scarf and I'm regretting not making the scarf for me-me-me. I may still decide to indulge in a speed knitting attempt. Movie theaters can get chilly after all. Especially at midnight shows.

In somewhat non-fiber related news, I've fixed what I screwed up on the tree and gotten some leaves and the start of a bird's nest on it. I still have more leaves to do and then a branch or two onto the ceiling and then I'll be done with that at last. There's more leaves than show here but I don't have another picture yet.

I'm using a stencil for the leaves but they look a little too something (fake or flat or something) so I think I'll be doing a lot of touch up stuff before I call it finished.
And in chair news, I have finished doing the 8-way spring tying and yesterday I started to build the chair back up again. Of course, again I forgot to take my camera to class so I've got no photos of yesterday's work. Here are the springs before and after I did the classic 8-way tied spring that you hear about.

The springs all tied up.
Yesterday I covered all that hard work up with burlap and pounded more tacks into petrified wood. Seriously, some of the wood on this chair is so hard I have to pound for minutes at a time to drive a tack all the way in. Talk about a "hardwood frame".