Chitchat and the occasional in-depth analysis about fiber, knitting, spinning, crochet, cooking, feminism, self-image, and a modicum of personal blathering.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

nota bene

I hated how narrow the post space was in the old template, so I changed it. The links can be found at the bottom of the page, now.

I am not real happy with Blogger just now, but this is a little better.

Oh, it's a froggy holiday with Buttercup...

This has been a good and frustrating weekend.

First, some photos of recent spinning, I seem to be a bit behind on those.

For the upcoming pinwheel sweater project, I've got these done. I have about 300 yards of each and enough for 300 more yards of each. These were batts from an ebay vendor, and they're marvelous. I'm very happy with the fiber and the finished result. The purple is 90/10 wool/mohair, and the pink is 70/30.

IM000797

purple

IM000796

fuschia

In the realm of purposeless therapy spinning, I started in on a multicolored roving that I've had in the stash for a while. I loved the run of the colors, and didn't want to ply it because I wanted maximum yardage. I got almost 500 yards out of it. It's between fingering and sport weight, but it's very curly. I weighted it when I set the twist, but it still curls a little. This yarn is very frustating.

daffodil single hanked
Gorgeous colors, a bad first experience with trying to create singles. Back to the drawing board with me.
As a side note, the book "spin to knit" is completely useless. Instead of giving you ways to fix this problem, it suggests you "enjoy it as the designer yarn it is!" Bah. I want to knit with it like a normal yarn.

So, I started an easy lace project with it, a stole in "overlapping waves" pattern. It looks like poopy. I think the needles are too big. I am not happy with it. So it's going to be frogged, and probably re-stashed until I can figure out what to do with it. It might just end up being plied anyway.

failed lace project
See? Not good. Maybe I should just do a scarf for my ex-boss out of it because she admired mine so, and call it a day. To the frog pond with you!

Having finally finished Bob's Brown Sheep Wildfoote socks, (finally finally! I will never knit with that again unless it's given to me for free! and even then I might have to consider carefully.) I started on a pair for myself out of Koigu.

Now, as we've discussed before, KPPPM (Koigu Premium Painter's Pallette Merino) is the caviar of handpainted sock yarn. It's beautiful. It has short runs of color that never pool or flash. Never.

old koigu sock

Leave it to me to be the weirdo. I continued knitting on them for a little while, considering what to do, and realized that if I was calling the colorway "bruises and tarnish", that I might be better off frogging.

So, seeing how gorgeous the colors DID act in the heel flap, I opted to Rip-It too, and started a pair of Jaywalkers.

the new koigu sock
So far, as you can see, SO much better. This will be my first pattern sock. I've already got adaptations planned, when I get to the heel , I'm going to revert to stockinette for the foot, because from what I've read, the pattern runs narrow, and I have wide feet.

I wanted to put it out there, as well, that Figment is an excellent shelf cat...
shelfcat!

Biscuit is more than a little bit strange...
biscuit is weird.

And our dogs have a very, very hard life indeed.
it's a hard life...

a really hard life...

Until next time!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Ice and Heat

Mostly photos this week.
lamb's ear
In the stark cold and ice, there was beauty.

alien life?
The ice confused mundane things, and turned them into things of wonder and weird mystery.

globes

Weeping cherry
Life fought to persist within the cold shroud, and we all hope it succeeds.

Backyard steps
A landscape transformed, haunted.

mums in ice

what remains of a baby pear

pagoda or light fixture?

more ice flowers

In other news, we shared Valentine's day as a lazy, play-hooky day due to the ice storm that hit our area on Tuesday night and Wednesday. All in all, we got about six inches of snow, and about an inch of ice. The driveway is now passable, at last.

I finished Bob's Irish Hiking Scarf, it's lovely. He adores it. It was his Valentine's gift.
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I've started spinning some mohair blend roving to go with the next big project, a pinwheel sweater. I have a color scheme all planned out and the fiber to do it. I also made elder daughter a pair of fingerless mitts from Alpaca yarn for part of her birthday gift.

We had a good day today, celebrating elder daughter's birthday two days early. I took her to Trader Joe's and bought her groceries-she thought it was the best thing ever. We had Thai food and a wonderful chocolate torte. The Penguins won again, and that makes 16 games in a row without a loss. Younger daughter will be home in two weeks for her fall break. I love my husband beyond reason, and he feels the same. The Italian lessons go well. (Va bene!) Life is good, and complete.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Si Dice Cosi

I'm refreshing my long-ago education in the beautiful language of Italian. In the dim memory, the darkened past, beyond the mists of time, before such a thing as an internet even existed, I took four years (four years!) of Italian Language instruction in High School. I was something of a languages geek, I took all that were offered, including three years of Spanish and a year and a half or so of French. The only one that I subsequently used was Spanish, when I lived in Texas, and also because there's a Spanish-speaking woman where I work and we sometimes banter back and forth so I don't completely forget. Literally, I have not spoken more than an odd sentence of Italian in almost thirty years. (Some of them were very odd sentences, indeed.)

A couple of years ago, at a Mensa gathering, I picked up an Italian Grammar book called "Si Dice Cosi", hoping to refresh my memory. As is the way of things, I completely forgot that I had it. Well, last week, I started downloading some instructional audio files, and I now have a complete course of Italian 1, 2, and 3 on my computer, as well as a more casual/tourist oriented course called "Learn Italian in Your Car". I've been loading them onto my Walkman Bean, and happily feeling my brain tingle at the long ago learning being reactivated. Much of it is still there, which amazes me. I think I'll be up to speed in a year or so.
Funny thing is I am kinda speaking Italian with a Spanish accent. My R's are still all wrong. It'll come back.
This is my Bean. It's adorable.
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(well, it's not MY bean, but mine looks just like that.) The sound quality is the best I've heard out of any MP3 player. Ipods can go pound salt, they don't capture music like this does.

On to fibrous undertakings. Here's Bob's scarf, about a third of the way along, now.
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A detail of the cables.
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It's actually getting a little boring. I've also finished one of his socks (FINALLY) and cast on the second. Poor Bob, so patient for his handknits!

Speaking of patience, here's some shots of my sweater, all sewn together and pinned out on the blocking styrofoam.
It looks weird because of the angle here, but here's the whole thing.
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A closer look at the underarm and shoulder
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The collar
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And the cuff detail
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I ended up doing two rows of a scallop edging on the bottom, the collar, and the cuffs. It smooths it out a lot, and the collar actually looks really nice with the edging. I think it'll be fine. It's a bit itchy. I washed it and rinsed with Downy before pinning it outso hopefully it'll be more comfy. If not, I'll just have to wear it over a tee or something. It's too nice to not wear.

It's been a bit of an unplanned vacation this week. I've had a horrible cold, woke up sick on Saturday morning and was pretty much confined to the couch until yesterday, when I managed to get up and move around a little. I'm coughing up unspeakable things, and my sinuses are exploding. It's not fun. At least the body aches are gone now, but at this point, there's no point in going in to work, wearing myself down, and spreading contagion to my co-workers. We'll just start over on Tuesday. Thank goodness for paid sick time. I'm going to try to get to the Doctor's office tomorrow or Friday, since I'll have to have a note from him to return to work. Last night was the first time I've slept more than three hours in a row, and it was very nice. A whole five uninterrupted hours of sleep! I'm hoping to top that tonight.