Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Actual Fiber Post 

Finished red sweater!

I was going to write up the pattern and submit it for publication (to who? I dunno. Anybody. If I'd left off the waist it would've been just right for Vogueknits, being a chunkyknit wool long sleeved mock turtleneck croptop and all ;)) but I've decided against it. I may rewrite and tweak it and see about it then, but for now, nope.

Things I'll change:

Other than that though, I love this sweater.
It's warm, cozy and completely my own creation.
Well, and a little help from Barbara Walker's Charted Knitting Lancet Braid.

I liked how fast it was to knit, although I don't think I want to work with the Gatsby yarn anymore. It's discontinued but I still have about three skeins left (which is amazing because it means this sweater took only seven to make I think, all hail the wonder that is chunky knitting). It has a nice sheen, but it's a tweedy single, so the little yellow and brown slubs kind of just pull off while you knit. Meh. Enough stay in that you get the point of it anyway.

It also means that I fulfilled a new year's goal: I designed and knit my own cable sweater.

Thank g-d that's over, eh?

Spinning sock yarn!

These are singles from 4 ounces of BFL that Mary-Kay handdyed and gave out at a little get-together at her house. I spun it up and watched epsiodes from the first season of Lost which she loaned me. So kind of a celebration of Mary-Kay's generosity, eh?

I totally forgot to take a pic of it pre-spinning, and post-plying, 'cuz I'm a crap blogger.

Last night I plied them together, and today I'm going to ply them together again for a cabled yarn. It looks actually like they'll be more sportweight than sockweight, but I already have a pattern picked out for them:

The Ribble Socks from Socks³ (on the right, underneath the green sleeve). Yeah, you can barely see it in the pic, but also pictured is the cuff of the Aran Sandal Socks I've started in Silky Wool and the second time started sleeve of the Wear Everywhere Pullover.

The Wear Everywhere Pullover takes forever as the linen, dpns, twisted stitches and a fancy rib stitch that is a mere 4 rows repeated but just similar enough and just different enough that you have to really keep track of where you are (at least I do, at this stage) mean that this might be a long term knitting project. A part of me is thinking this is a good chance to figure out 2 socks, 2 circs type thing, but another, equally large part says "hell no!" to starting over again.

I like the color though (Shamrock) and I'm looking forward to just tossing it in the washer afterwards and seeing if linen really does get better and better as time goes by.

Boo crappy alpaca roving!

I spun up the rest of my vm-infested overpriced "Peaches" alpaca roving and decided to make a cabled yarn of it. I'm just in a cabley mood, what can I say?

I wanted to get all of it in one skein, so I way overloaded my plying head and bobbin--just for reference, it shouldn't look like this. ;)

Also, if you pay $3/oz it shouldn't look like this when you wash it to set the twist:

Yay stripey merino!

I sought solace in the arms of the pine colored merino my secret pal had sent, and some of my handpainted variegated South African Fine Wool:

I ended up with a three ply worsted weight that'll do a subtle striping thingy when knit.

I've also been having a fun time spinning bulky yarns from merino superwash, but they're still undyed and therefore dull.

Does this look comfortable to you?

It doesn't look comfortable to me, but he sleeps like that all the time. Weirdo.



Most betterest.


Sunday, March 26, 2006

Forgive me Blogger For I Have Sinned; It has been ten days since my last post 

And don't really have an excuse except that we've been suffering from a plague of cuteness lately.

Big butt, little head, a new family motto?

Seriously, the dogs have been keeping us down.

Belu helps Nick play GT4.

Belu demands I finish the red sweater.

I finish the red sweater, but Belu takes cr@p pictures.

As revenge, I washed one of the grotty little fuzzballs that the dogs had got seasoned "just right" (i.e. oh g-d! what is that?! oh g-d, get that outta my face!).

She's been determinedly (dare I say doggedly, hardy har har) re-seasoning it.

I will have a real post soon, 'cuz there's a actually a lot I'd like to get down. But now, I am running late for getting ready to meet up for knitting. Really really late. I should stop typing. Now.


Thursday, March 16, 2006

I hate reality TV. 

But I really liked "American Inventor."

"My Mom's gonna be upset and I hope you're happy!" I kind of like that guy, with his "space beetle Utopia." For those who didn't watch, a plastic globe with flashing lights, a racetrack, feeding center and atomiser for...cockroaches.

Also, speaking of media, what do "y'all" think of this Annie Proulx Oscar™ tirade? I haven't seen Capote either, but weren't they both New Yorker worthy? Isn't that accolade enough? No? Well, why be surprised when a screenplay you haven't even written gets wing-wanged when a movie ALL ABOUT LOS ANGELES shows up on the roster and wins Best In Show. Not like you got shut out or nuthin'.

A week late or whatever, but that's how I get my news.
I listen to the NPR Quiz Shows* to let me know what's worth talking about.

*Seriously, if you think you are Clever McSchmartypantz, you will enjoy the Wait Wait.


Monday, March 13, 2006

Almost an FO. Good causes. and a giggle. 

This is the sweater for which I've been using the Gatsby. I wanted a simple repetitive cable stitch pattern and picked the lancet braid from Barbara Walker's third stitch book, that I received from my Mom for Christmas.

This is very fast...unless you count knitting and re-knitting the left front four, five, six times.

It's snuggly. It's also missing the collar and midriff. I'm going to knit a spiral rib and we'll see how it goes.

Good Causes

Amy Boogie's husband has a very funny friend with a very unfunny brain tumor, and there's a fundraiser going on to defray the costs of its removal.

If you are a small crafting business looking to get your name out there while benefitting the best. dogs. ever. or somebody who digs independent crafty stuff (there's vegan stuff, subversive cross-stitch, handpainted yarns and fibers by yours truly...) check out Crafters for Critters.

And I have to get my @ss in gear 'cuz Nick and I are running the Race For Autism 5k on the 25th with Nancy and her family in Balboa Park. Diagnoses of autism are going up, causes are still unclear; it's a very worthy cause, please donate if you can spare it.

And I received info from the Revlon run/walk in the mail today. It's a 5k, and held in L.A. on May 13. It's a flat course and I loved running into the Coliseum at the end (they have the same route this year). I didn't dig the disorganisation at the start last year, but it'd be a fun run. Then again, an early morning...I can't decide if I want to run it again this year. We're doing the Bay to Breakers 12k mobile party scene for the first time on the 22nd of March. Which reminds me, I need to start pricing hotels.

Oh wow. I just checked out the Fairmont for the dates, because we had a great time at The Tonga Bar when we lived in the Bay Area, and umm...yeah. For $750 a night, I expect a cleaning service in the line of Coming to America ("the royal penis is clean, sire"). Wow, must be a nice room. We'll probably stay across the bay anyway, and may drive up in the first place. I want to go running in Redwoods again. Man, I miss Oakland.

Although, I miss Sacramento too. But we love San Diego too (see photo at end to see picture which summarises why). Are we geo-polygamists?

Via IM, Nancy and I watched the first half of an "Inside Polygamy" program before I couldn't take it anymore.

When Nick and I lived in Sacramento, we had an InstantMessaging program. It used to drive me crazy because every time I was trying to waste time on the PC online it would log on and Nick's family would pop up trying to chat with him. Then I would have to relinquish the pc/or admit that no, I was trying to waste time online and he wasn't available.

So I've kind of had a "meh" attitude toward IM, until recently.
Recently, while we were all trying to organise a local knitter outting we flurried something like 26 e-mails. So I thought we should look into it. I thought I'd try to be cool and install Jabber as part of my pseudo-tech geek persona. Part of picking jabber is picking a client. I picked Trillian, because of the name, being a HGTG fan and all. But I didn't download/pay for Pro, so it's kind of moot. The free version still has a ton of plugins, namely Yahoo, without all the yahoo service crap add-ons and failures. So, I'm really diggin' it. I only sign in to Trillian when I think I might have time for chatting and it kills all the problems of an auto-logging in service (yahoo's apparent default). So, if you ever want to IM a total dork, add "tortadetortuga" at yahoo dot com to your contacts. It might be fun, but no guarantees. ;)

Also, via IM, Nancy gave me my favorite link of the week:

A Catapult!

Beauty, eh?


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Of for F------Sakes* 

She's at it again. I don't think my mind is easily boggled, but it is bloggled. Thas' a seriously cool blog she's got goin' on. It's a nice mix of tech, great photography, excellent knitting (damn fast knitting!) and nice clean lines like MJ's. A clean well-lighted place in the blogworld, so to speak.

Also, if you like You Knit What?! and Jessica's Thursday feature and Stitchy McYarnpants' Museum of Kitschy Stitches, you'll dig Threadbared.

And have you seen the Lucia's Zig and Zag Sockulator? It's a a chevron pattern like the Jaywalkers, but you can adapt it to your own gauge easily calculated. Pretty cool. And she's got a forum going now, in case Knitter's Review feels too crowded. Though the LYS owner forum there is excellent reading.

Okay, enough talking about other people

How big is too big a knitting mistake? Something that you'll notice every time you put it on but other people...maybe not? Just a slight asymmetry?

I was knitting something, realised a mistake, ripped back to the area to correct it, corrected it...and in the process forgot to do another bit of shaping within the section. Ripped back, and the Olympics began, so I left it on the stitch holder. Started over 18 days later and...d'oh! Forgot the other half of the shaping. So, ripped back, and...d'oh, one extra stitch where it shouldn't be. In sportweight, like the bicolor cardi, not a big deal, but this is Gatsby we're talking here. Which is getting decidedly ragged from the ripping. So I'm leaving it the way it is. We can play spot the mistake later.

Also, part of the requirement for buying from gradware.com is to submit a student identification with current stickers/notation and preferrably with photo--if you don't have photo, you have to submit it separately. Anyway, I didn't have one, but I still wanted the software at a third of the retail price so...

may I present my worst photo ID picture ever?

Me and Nick Nolte got the same publicist, yo.

Anyway, maybe it's because they're based in Cali, but my gradware order got here before they've even charged the card.

Speaking of The Card, you should listen to To the Point's "Drowning in Debt" episode. It's very much a snapshot program (ergo, "to the point") but still, hear it as an alarm call. It's funny, Nick and I are almost moderately politically liberal,( I was going to say "ridiculously" politically liberal, but that is only judged by the scale of pseudo-republicanism visible in the present democratic agenda, so I thought I'd characterize ourselves more accurately over time...) but at the same time, so fiscally conservative. In theory anyway. (on my part, Nick is clean in this).

It's kind of crazy though, the US gov't takes 10-25%, your church or charity takes 10% and you really do need to save 10%. How much faith do you have in Social Security or your company pension?
It looks like a lot of disposable income isn't so disposable after all.


I haven't worked a stitch on the bicolor cables since I last posted, I just haven't felt like it. Finishing syndrome/fear of fug, whatevvah. It's Modesitte, so the fug isn't a factor. She doesn't do fug. Wait, does she?

I think it was Nancy who asked me about the boring factor of the stockinette. The boring part is the sleeves. The body is fun, there's something to do every other row, it's not just business as usual. I just have a fear of finishing. Kudos to IK for publishing a pattern that is simple, but pretty, and intelligent.


What do you think of the iron cross? My kneejerk reaction based on my east county San Diego location is "skinhead." There's a clothing/sticker/wtf company that's actually local that uses the iron cross and the word "skin" in gothic script, and I'm sorry, but nothing makes me want to put on my little green liberal jackboots more than this. Yeah, they support local churches and little leagues...but d@mn it makes me mad. Am I being oversensitive? It bugs me that a clothing company with a title of "Skin Empire" using a combination of german reich symbols and "skin" is prospering...and supporting worthy causes. Maybe I'm just jealous of their grassroots redneck success? Nah, I don't think so. Why? Of all the symbols/ideas out there, why the combination of iron cross/skin if it isn't a racist agenda?

more random

Hey, no more joking about jury service. I just got freakin' served. What the hell? I'm married to a peace officer, they have to know that I won't trust a g------ word the state witnesses are sayin'. ;p
At least, not without a hell of a lot of harrassing and ball-scrunchin'. I can tell if a man is fibbing when I have his testicles en mi mano. And somehow, I don't think the justice system has such an allowance, let alone my own digestive system.

Speaking of justice systems...The Three Burials of Milquiades Estrada was a good flick. It's worth being said that the majority of the services of border patrol that matter is more in the vein of rescuing wouldbe immigrants from environmental conditions and predatory elements (this view may be anecdotal bias) just like Planned Parenthood is more about prevention of pregnancy than the infamous abortion agenda, really. 5% of PP services are abortion. Mexico's number two source of income is renumeration from the states. I think it would be great deal better if we had a lot more personalised NAFTA and a lot less dehumanisation.

Yes, in southern California speak, you say it, "whatever."

*needless to say, "f------ stands for "Friday's"


Monday, March 06, 2006

All the pictures that were missing from previous posts 

It's been very strange for me to not bombard this blog with photos, but I haven't put a photo processing program on the laptop and it has become very much my favorite mode of webcommunication.
I bought a heavily discounted Adobe creative package from gradware.com, so I'm looking forward to being utterly confused by the professional wonder that is photoshop.

I call this pic "The difference between caring and not caring."
The alpaca roving I bought had vm every inch, and snarly unaligned neppy bits every foot or so, and for the first bobbin I spun of it I kept tweezers on my knee and picked out every little bit and carefully drafted and spun at a fairly consistent grist...and life's too damn short to pick out THAT much vm, stopping and starting, stopping and starting.
So I didn't do that for the next one I spun.

Then I plied them together, bits of vm sticking out be danged.

Here's the pic of dried skeins, dyed with cochineal and logwood in the roaster. The cochineal is the pink, the logwood is the purple. I moved stuff around a bit, so there was a fair bit of blending.

LtoR: superwash sockyarn, mohair/silk yarn, bombyx silk yarn, 50/50 wool/silk yarn, 100% wool yarn. The superwash behaved much as it does with acid dyes, really sucking up the color.

Here's a pic of them after washing. The first wash had quite a lot of color come out, but by the second rinse, the water was clear and I couldn't see any pink, so I think that's the final color. ;)

LtoR: wool, silk, superwash wool, wool/silk, mohair/silk

I know these pics are bad, but I'll have close-ups and better pics as part of a tutorial series on the shop blog. I'm very happy with the results, and I've started stinking up the house with indigo.

Starting to look like something someone can wear...button placement is not final. Still left to do: the collar, attaching sleeves to body, button attachment, seamstress hook installation, sewing down of hems. Look for it as an FO sometime next year...

The color in the pic is not right, it's a fabulous green, not lime green.

I bought the buttons at the Alamitos Bay Yarn Co., the only thing I bought in the midst of the knitting meetup frenzy.


Saturday, March 04, 2006

¡Vaca Sagrada! 

Have you guys seen this incredible piece of fiber art from May?

Also, check out the beauty of the rainbow on Sara's blog. Love process posts.

And...a-ha! I am the number one google result for knitting letdown. There's a message in there somewhere.

For someone.

Not me though.

I'm burning with eternal optimism.

Or something.


Thursday, March 02, 2006

A Blog Post in Ten Thirteen Songs 

A meme snagged from Bronxie Knits, an actual Gold Medalist of the Knitting Olympics: put your ipod on shuffle, write down the ten songs which play.

1. Showroom Dummies by Señor Coconut, look,free download from Amazon. That's nice.

Since I'm a super-slow blogger, I figure I'll blog and intersperse with the meme when the songs change.

2.Luck be A Lady from Guys and Dolls sung by Peter Gallagher and ensemble.

I've been doing some natural dyeing, trying out an Earthues colors kit. I used cochineal extract and logwood extract and my roaster to do three pounds or so of yarn and I just could not get the pot to exhaust.

3. 'The Mikado': Mi-Ya Sa-Ma/A More Humane Mikado - Louise Gold/Timothy Spall. Apparently, I'm a) not as cool as I'd like to think I am and b) my ipod is in a soundtrack mood.

I had wool roving in for almost twelve hours on heat and could not get the pot to exhaust or the depth of shade to deepen. But the yarn that had first run attained some lovely shades. If I was a good blogger I'd have pics. Mañana. Como siempre, mañana, un otro día...
No really, I'll take pics and post 'em. In Wipplinger's

(4. A Higher Place, Tom Petty)

Instruction manual which comes with the kit she says to air cure the skeins for a week, so, it's been a week now; I'll take pre-wash pics and post and we'll see how much color stays in. I followed instructions to the letter, even scouring beforehand, something I never do with my protein fibers. (It's a good idea though, because you never know if the person who handled your fibers before you was wearing greasy moisturiser or whatever, which can affect the way your dye takes up.)

(5. Spread, Andre 3000 of Outkast. Nick and I love this song, so funny, so Prince-influenced)

I have another three or so pounds that have been mordanted and are awaiting indigo dipping. The instruction manual dictates use of an alkali agent and specifies NOT soda ash, but caustic soda, or lye. Which is hella hard to find it seems.

(6. Leave, R.E.M.)

Anyone local have suggestions for a source for pure sodium hydroxide? Any good reason why I should use lye instead of soda ash? In Heidi's excellent indigo post, she uses soda ash (and I consider her our local expert on natural dyeing) and she got great results so...

(7. Flowers on the Wall, The Statler Bros.)

I'll be overdyeing parts of the indigo dyed skeins and fibers with osage for a blue-green effect because I'm a One Trick Pony. Love the song, love the album. (Holy cow, it's a movie? Another soundtrack!)

(8. Making Love Out of Nothing at All, Air Supply) G-d, how embarrassing that that should show up. What next, "Holding Out for A Hero?")

Anyone have good ideas for peed-on couch disposal which don't actually include fire (it's covered in synthetic materials=toxic smoke, no matter how fun it might be to see it burn)?

I'm working on making this computer my perfect computer, I need to get a good image editing software on it. I might just transfer Microsoft Picture It from our other computer, but it's sometimes slow and clunky. recommendationsions? Is Elements worth $99?

I'm still chugging along on the Olympic Bicolor cable cardi, up to shaping the shoulders. Perhaps I'll edit this post later and put in piccies.

(9. Burn, Nine Inch Nails. Well, that's excellent juxtaposition with Air Supply, simply sublime.)

I have so much spinning and dyeing I need (and want) to do. And homework. Oi.

Tuesday, our business class gathered in the library and watched the librarian give a lecture on using the internet for research. The internet? Oh my, what is this thing of which you speak?
What a waste of time.
While our professor graded assignments (without reading them I think, from what I could see, and he gave my interview 10 pts when it was worth 20 because he had it confused with the extra credit busy work he also offers, I had to explain my concern regarding the mistake several times before he realised the error

(10. Riding the Winds of the West, Riders in the Sky)

and corrected it. "You don't understand why it was worth ten points?" "No, I'd like to know why I received ten points for an assignment worth twenty points." Vary this three times and equal it to a "Oh, I didn't realise, I think I thought it was a summary or something, I'm grading all these papers..." and whatever.
Dude, bring your game sometime, it might be nice to see a reason I should come to class.
And yes, I will probably drop a note to the Dean.

Anyway, I used the time to write up a mondo to-do list.

(11. Train In Vain, Annie Lennox. Yeah, we're past the meme ten, but I'm still blabbing, so might as well)

It adds up to a lot of doctors appts, vet appts, homework, studying, computer fiddling, and thank you notes. Wheeee!

(12. Loved You Enough, Yonder Mountain String Band. Fun band to go see, probably not as good as the Whoreshoes, but I like 'em anyway.)

If I was as cool/brave as Jessica, I'd do a monthly goal list, but I'm scared.

(13. Down On Me, Janis Joplin)


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