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Monday, September 25, 2006

Excessively Picturesque 



Pomona has convinced us she deserves to be let off leash, that the risk is outbalanced by the joy.










She has also convinced us that given no other more immediately tempting prospects, she will return to us with almost as much happiness on her face as that which is displayed as she's running away.








We had a very good dog beach day.





























I've learned a new knitting technique--entrelac!



The scarf says "hello" to the choicer properties of San Diego county while enjoying a ride on a museum train.



The scarf is from a very simple pattern--I highly reccomend that if you are living in the San Diego area and have been meaning to learn the technique, sign up for Cathy's two hour class at Two Sisters and Ewe in La Mesa. It was only $15, and WAY more enjoyable than learning through one of those online tutorial thingummies. (I think I've had a link to one of those FOREVER, and just never got around to going through it. I'm glad I waited/procrastinated.)





I spun my own yarn for the scarf, a singles version of the yarn I spun up for dye-o-rama. I was trying for a roughly worsted weight yarn, and it's knitting up all right on US9s. I'm not too sure about my color choices and their distribution, but I'm reserving judgement and enjoying the knitting of it.




The real colors are something inbetween. Pretty accurate in the daredevil scarf shots.

It was a good excercise to take the different fibers (merino superwash, south african fine wool, silk, merino/tencel [50/50], mohair, and merino) and try to spin around the same gauge. In some parts, I failed miserably, there are laceweight bits and bulky bits. My "excuse" is that I waited until the last minute, spinning like a demon grabbing the random sections of color and fibers to make the 446 yards in three hours on Tuesday night, washing it and hanging it out to dry, winding it into a knitting ball for the Wednesday at noon class.








Please forgive all the photos, but I found it impossible to choose between them. I love all her happy postures in these pictures. She LOVES dog beach and we are so lucky to have this space available to us.

When we don't feel like driving the twelve miles over to Coronado Dog Beach, we walk a mile up to a local elementary school's very nice all fenced in baseball diamond. Because it's so much smaller than dog beach her running is also scaled down and we don't spend much time there (we also don't want to get caught, so shhhhh! don't tell anyone about our ninja dog fun).

Pomona is nearly a normal dog on these leash walks and off leash silly-dog adventures, so she has proven to be a really good influence, getting us off our butts and walking and running and talking in silly voices.




I am still working on the Rogue. I'm almost done with the hood, but somehow I ended up with an uneven stitch count between the markers and I've put it in a bit of a time-out while I revel in the glory of the new-to-me entrelac, which is a much more portable and tolerant of interruption project than the Rogue at this point.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Oops. 

I have stumbled into love with "The Office."

If you can't think why, start here.

So embarrassing, but true. And also loving My Name is Earl. So you know where I'll be the 21st.

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Monday, September 11, 2006

Wandering along 

For some reason, I just don't feel very bloggy lately. Rogue has been knitting up quite quickly although I've made some dumkopf moves--like forgetting how to read a chart, even though Wilson thoughtfuly alternated the position of the row numbers from left to right to call attention to the need to read from alternating directions when knitting flat. Pretty minor though, just had to rip back the 18 rows I knit before I realised what an idiot I was.

So here's where I was at at 3ish today:



Someone has already made it very clear that they really really like this sweater.



And I'm loving my yarn. Lucky thing, that.

Spinning

I've been spinning up the merino/possum blend my Mom brought back from New Zealand for us. I'm hoping to make a 2 ply worsted weight to do something comfy and cabled for Nick. It is prepared very differently from the Louet merino/silk and I am having to focus on adapting my spinning process to the new goals and the very different fiber. You know how you get in a groove of spinning fine? It can be a bad and tedious thing.

I've joined the Handweavers Guild of America. I have yet to build a Navajo style loom and get to accomplishing my weaving resolution, but I'm interested in the COE programs for dyeing and spinning. We'll see how interested I am after the materials books come, eh?

Other Stuff

I love this kid's sweater from knitty: Sherwood. This is a stitch pattern from one of Barbara Walker's Treasuries and I'd actually photocopied it to start swatching it for maybe an edging of a little sweater I'm doing, but it didn't seem quite right. I love it like this.

Cute socks in the issue too.

Dog Stuff

Nope, nowhere near replacing my belov├ęd and much missed bedshark, but still kind of cute. ;p



Tahoe digs her.



Belu wishes she'd walk off a cliff but it means she's a little nicer to Tahoe around the house. You'd never guess how much she loves to bite him when they're out and about.





She still practices her ninja skills around the house though, sneaking up on unsuspecting yum-yums.



We've let Pomona offleash at a local fenced in park and she actually has a recall. She will come to me, bouncing with joy on her face. We won't be trying her in unfenced areas any time soon, but it makes me happy to see her squirreling around across the grass and then actually coming when called. Good girl.

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Friday, September 01, 2006

Um 

I am a whopping 2.5" into the Rogue. Which makes for a very boring picture.


So, look! Pomona!



I had a seriously dumkopf day yesterday, starting the body of the Rogue 3 or 4 times and each time getting to about the seventh or eighth twisted stockinette round of the hem facing before discovering that I'd somehow twisted the stitches before joining...I have never done this by accident before, yet I did it three or four times yesterday (I'm vague on the exact number because of the repetitive wall v. head trauma).


(This is about how I felt. This picture is posed, I stuck her lip to her gums and took the pic.)

Here's the finished yarn, which varies from 9-11 wraps per inch (there are ten in the pic, but you can see there's room for one more) and knit up to 4.5 sts per inch on a size US7:



The fiber is 80% merino/ 20% tussah silk in lichen colorway available by special order here under "Dyed Merino/Silk and Corriedale". (shameless plug)
Scroll down for the sticker shock, believe it or not that's well below Louet's retail price.

The fibers were all so aligned I spun with out predrafting or splitting the top, sometimes spinning from the fold. After all, consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. ;p

I initially wanted a three ply; I had a thick and thin fatter single and paired it with two relatively consistent thinner singles, but I didn't dig it for the whole look of the Rogue.




So I spun two more plies like the first two plies and went for a more standard yarn. It's pretty skooshy and soft and the silk has a nice sheen and strength to it, so I'm very happy. I love knitting with it and it held up to the repeated ripping like a champ so I have high hopes for low incidence of future pilling.

Pomona gives it two paws up:



The pics I have in this post probably give the impression that she's left her shyness entirely behind. This is unfortunately not true.

She has moments, hours even where she forgets that we are Evil and will snuggle. The other day, I snuggled her for hours and she eventually put her head on my chest while I was reading and I thought my heart would just burst out of my chest with happy contentment.

But she seems to have her fear hardwired in her brain.

If we let her, she would still just hide in corners all day, so I mess with her by moving her around from the couch to the bed, to another couch, moving her to cuddle and pet her and she loves her walkies most of all--she even wags her tail! For the first few minutes or so, anyway, then something makes her remember that she's terrified, but she still loves the walkies, on the whole, so I think it's good bonding, and breaks things up.

We're trying to give her nothing but positive experiences, positive associations, nothing but happiness...but it's hard, because the fear switch trips in her head so quickly.

Yet she shows perhaps some progress: if people are walking away from her, she shows interest and wants to follow them. She'll still shy and cringe if they reach to pet her, but at least she's showing an interest in something besides hiding, and she definitely enjoys walking with the whippets more than walking alone so that's a good sign too that she's becoming a little more engaged.
Although Belu bit her today, so that's not a help. B(tch.

It's funny as Pomona seems much less shy in the routine and clamor of the kennel. She likes going out, she likes being in a group of big dogs, sneaking up behind or from the side for pets as part of a group, going back in, sleeping in her crate, eating her food, chewin' rawhides...just one of the thirty. But she won't go to a home like that, content as she seems in the kennel environment, so hopefully we'll help her become a more confident dog, slowly slowly slowly overwriting the fear.



Enough about the darn dog already, yeah? Or at least, for this post anyway.

Monica had a question about the plying card and how it was held. It really isn't a necessary thing, just makes it all a bit easier keeping an even tension on the strands being plied and keeping track visually on the amount of twist. I think I became fixated on the idea of it after browsing through Alden Amos' Big Book of Handspinning.

I hold it in my left hand and control the twist with my right:



(if I had thought about it, I would have flipped it over before stringing through the strands, I forgot I might take progress pics. It looks very brand-y. sorry.)

This may be opposite for other spinners. I spin "opposite" from most people, with my left hand being my forward hand, my right controlling the source. I surf goofy too. This was recently a topic on one of the lists, so I know I'm not alone, but I thought I'd clarify for those who might be looking at it and thinking, "wait, am I spinning with my hands the wrong way?" No. You're not. As long as you're getting yarn you are happy with and your hands are comfy in whatever positions you put them in (heh, heh) you are doing it just fine.

If you have your wheel adjusted just right, with the right ratio and adjusting the takeup so it pulls in at the right rate, you don't even need to hold the yarn while plying, you can just treadle and use that free hand to hold your drink. Wheeeeeee!



It's good to stop and check your twist every now and then, whether you're holding the plies or not, just to be sure you've put in the right amount of twist and the yarn is balanced. I have a tendency to tweak and tweak the adjustments on my wheel and treadle like mad, and occasionally have to pull sections back out to add more twist or let the twist run up more because I got a lil carried away.

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