Monday, August 30, 2004

Fastest FO in the west...

This weekend I knocked out a FO. Now, that's not unusual for people like Wendy, who knock out FOs in a week that involve 375.3 feet of fair isle and four cubic tons of yarn. But for little 'ole me, this is a big deal.

Friday night I cast on. Sunday afternoon I cast off and felted. I present the NSB clutch, in a garish red:

Before felting:
After felting:
And a close up of the fabric:

Mouse, I hear you cry, what are all those little purple bits? Well, I kinda felted this at my grandmothers, and she kinda put in a few towels (like 30 of them) into the wash, and they kinda got purple lint all over my bag. I ended up shaving this thing with the Mate's electric razor (shhh, don't tell!) and hand picking all the little bits off

And it's not quite as misshapen as it looks in that picture. I swear.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

A clean house is a happy house...

And boy, my house was unhappy!

We spent most of last night cleaning. The results?


Ahhh, much better. Now, I know most of you don't care about my clean house, but I feel so good about myself right now I don't care. So there. :)
I did get to start a new project: A NSB (Not-Sophie-Bag, as I didn't come up with a better name and now the NSB stuck...) in dark red.
The red yarn I bought (at the same time as the yellow I made my NSB out of) is much thicker than I thought, so I ended going up to a larger needle. This is a 11, I belive. And with such thick yarn and needles, I am half way through the bottom of the bag in just a few rows.
The only problem? The ginormus skein that the red came to me in had some... problems. I didn't unwind two wraps when I hit a snag. I very patienly undid the snag, only to hit another one a few inches later. I thought to myself "Oh, I started at the wrong end." I rewaped what I had started and tried the other end.
Just as bad. In fact, after a frustrating hour, I got the ball of red you see above... and this:
... Ouch.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Lazy days

Well, not so lazy. I've got school now, so about half of my 'free' time is now eaten by book learnin' and class time.

The real ball-buster of this semester is swim class. I'm not in the best of shape, but I love swimming, so I enroled in swimming for conditioning. Turns out i'm the slowest in the class. That sucks hard. I hate being the worst at something. But I finaly got some goggles and a swim cap, so I'm not choaking on my hair every time I take a breath, which is good. Last night I managed to almost keep up with the class. Go me.

So I'm going to try to keep a running 'score board' of my swim practices.

Week 2: 1,500 yards

But I'm in a sewing class. I have no idea what i'm going to make for my 'projects,' but i'm leaning toward a corset. I wonder what the teach would think about that! And does anybody know of any good free bag patterns? I loves them bags...

On knitting news... um... A girl said she would buy a purse off of me if I made it in red. She really liked the Not-Sophie. And so do I. It's become my primary purse, and I love it so.

I haven't knitted at all this week. Not even to finish up my Seashell knit thing. I've been running back and forth trying to get everything I need done done.

And I haven't bought the yarn for my Candle Flame Shawl. Of course, as soon as I give away that Lambs Pride Polarweight to the Statsh Redistribution Project, I decide to do a project that needs it. I'm a lamer.

Monday, August 23, 2004

So, I’m loose…

What am I talking about? Crocheting, mostly. I went to Kitten’s house this weekend to attend the Fabulous Fiber Fest (more on that below) and she convinced me to re-try crocheting. I’ve decided two things: my hate of crochet came from the patterns I was besieged with as a child, and that I am a loose woman.

When I was little, my grandmother used to crochet. A lot. Afghans, doilies, doll clothes. Most of it was very… um, kitschy. Ruffelly pink and white toilet paper covers. Barbie outfits that made her look as if she was wrapped in thick rope. The afghans, I admit, are lovely, and I use them to this day.

Now, Kitten crochets. When we hang out, I see her stuff and think she’s a fluke, creating things I like from crochet. But I don’t go pick up a hook and try it out. Remember, in my mind, crochet is still Barbie-rope-bondage and hidden-TP.

This weekend I broke that mold in my mind.

I tried Scrumbling (which was fun), and I started a bucket hat in crochet. Which is where I found out I am loose.

Kitten knits/crochets very tightly. We started the same pattern with the same yarn. She’s using a “I” hook, and I’ve got a “J” because that’s what I scrounged up in her hook box. The pattern calls for a “G” or “H” hook, and Kitten went up a size because she knows she crochets tightly. I don’t have a clue how the hook size actually translates to fabric density, so I’m just using what I found.

About 9 rows into the pattern, Kitten’s hat is about CD-Rom sized. Mine? Bigger than a dinner plate. No kidding. Hers would fit a kid, maybe, but mine is only suitable for a floppy Frisbee, or maybe a tablecloth. So I ripped it out and started over on a “G”, and am much happier.

Now, I know you want to hear about the Fiber fest, don’t you?

Kitten and I got to the deli where we were meeting people right about on time. Jen and La (of JenLa) showed up soon after, and I met all sorts of bloggers. MJ, (YummyYarn) has the most brilliant smile, and is a fantastic knitter. Even more fantastic is that she’s only been knitting for a few months. Unbelievable. Jen’s friend that she brought along was friken hilarious. I can’t remember all the blogs of the people I met, but we had a great time. Kitten drank way too much coffee, and I indulged in 2 cups of decaf. Shut up; that’s a lot of coffee for me. (PS: the Broadway Deli on the Santa Monica Promenade is overpriced and understaffed. We had fun anyway.)

The fiber fest itself was fun, even if it was a bit… dinky. The classes were being held at a different location that the market place, so it wasn’t that crowded. Kitten and I ran into a few people from Clan MacColin, the re-enactment group that I belong to.

The Carolina Homespun people were friendly and helpful, and I got to try out stuff.

I spun on a Fiona double treadle wheel, and I have to say that it was absolutely wonderful. Like… buttah. A bit odd looking, but my god… So, so nice. I could have sat there all day. I felt like an actual spinner. Of course, the Fiona has a price tag of over a grand, so it’s not like I actually will ever own one, but my god… so nice.

Now, there is no way in hell I could use that wheel at faire. In fact, even the double treadle version of the Traditional (the single treadle version is used in our group by several people) was ixnayed by the one of the rule-makers from Clan who happened to be there. What a shame.

I also tried “scrumbling” and liked it. Kitten and I made… I dunno what to call them. Scrumbles? We made one for the table, and then each made a second one to take to Kitten’s kids. Ok, they never made it to the kids, but I love my little ameba like furball thing.

We left the Fiber fest happy, and headed back to Kitten's. The rest of the weekend passed in a kind of haze… I don’t remember everything, but I do know I finally felted my not-Sophie bag.

Here’s the before and after:

And here's a close up of the knitted fabric:

The end result is just about perfect. I want to add some pockets (net pockets. Like those cargo nets in cars.) to the inside for my phone and wallet, but otherwise it’s great.

Sewing class tonight; I’m going to make my very first garment! Wish me luck…

Friday, August 13, 2004

Anybody else going? Kitten and I are.

Feel free to steal the sidebar button if you're going. We should meet up somewhere. I'm going to try to collect all the names of the bloggers who are going. If you are, or know somebody who is, drop me a comment and I'll add you to the list!

In other news I'm almost done with the yellow Sophie bag I started long ago. I've also decided that since I'm no longer following the sophie pattern, and never did in the first place (I eyeballed the numbers) that I'm not going to call it a Sophie bag. It bears no resemblance to the original, and I don't want people to look at the disaster my bag will probaly be and go "Ew, the Sophie bag sucks!"

The Sophie was the inspiration for my bag, but I'm going in a different direction.

What's so different about mine? Well, aside from the fact that it's the same size (roughly), everything. My bag won't have the twisted I-cord handle. I'm going to knit up to the lip, then make a kind of sloping decrease into the handle on both sides. When that's done, I'm thinking about adding a blue crochet edging around the handle and lip of the bag. I also might add a pocket or 50. I've always wanted to cut a hole in my knitting and pick up the stitches on the inside of the bag, making a pocket that doesn't bulge outward. And the 'lips' of the pockets might just be lined in blue, as well. And maybe a pocket on the outside as well, for change and such.

Here's the design pic I made.

I'm in the market for a new name for the bag. Any suggestions? Right now it's called the "Not-Sophie bag."

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Big post.

When I woke up on Thursday morning, the Secret Pal fairy had been to my house! I found this on my craft chair. Oh what could be inside?

A lovely card (a polar bear) with a nice note. And oh. My. God.

This is 8 oz of alpaca, in the mist grey color. It’s softer than I could hope for.

At first glance at the label, I was so excited that I thought that it was 1,300 yards. Now, of course, I realize that’s the yardage per pound. But it’s still, um… 6,50 yards of yummy, yummy grey alpaca! Thank you, oh Great and Wonderful Secret Pal!

Also in the box was a package of raspberry tea, which the Mate is enjoying very much (I’m not much for tea, but my Mate loves it), some Boston baked beans (those candy peanut things) and some “Rocks” that are actually chocolate. I am enjoying them very much.

(Note: I do not have mouse ears or whiskers. Ok, I have whiskers, but no ears. Ok, I have ears, but they're regular people ears. I looked so silly in this picture I couldn’t help ‘doctoring’ it even further.)

And what is that? Why, it’s the yarn I spun at the Ventura County Fair spinning competition. Red and I went because the LYS owner said it was a ‘demonstration,’ so we packed up our drop spindles and trotted along. Turns out it was the spin-off for the entire fair, and Red and I had our collective asses beat by the incredible spinners there. Red, however, took 5th place in the Beginners category. I placed somewhere in the teens, I think, of the intermediate. Made me want to sign up for Beginner level next year…

Task 1 (B, above): 20 minutes to card and spin a little baggy of white Lincoln locks into an ‘appropriate’ single. Judges were looking for “appropriate preparation of the fiber, and consistency of spin.” Did I mention that I didn’t know it was a competition? That meant no cards with me, no bobbin, no lazy cate (not that I own a real one), nothing but my spindle and me. I did ok anyway, but when I was winding off onto my arm, I lost control of the VERY energetic single and had a snarl. And my skein, as you can see, is ‘furry’. Never spun with Lincoln before…
Task 2 (A, above): 20 minutes to turn blue roving (… can’t remember what kind) into a 2 ply. Looking for a pretty skein, this time. I did a bit better, but it still wasn’t great. Next year I’ll do better.

While the judges were deciding, we were lead through funny spinning games. First one? All the wheel spinners had to remove their flyer, bobbin, and drive band, and put them back on blindfolded. The first one spinning won. Of course, Red and I had the advantage here: we can put the leaders on and spin while not looking because we do it while talking to the audience at the Ren Faire. But some of those poor women looked like they were going to pass out. On the other hand, some people had no problems at all, and were as efficient with their eyes closed as with them open. Those are the scary, professional spinners.

Then we spun with rubber gloves on. Ick. Red, however, actually spins better like that.

The upside? I had a lot of fun! Plus I ‘won’ a basket full of orange sized balls of different rovings (silk, wool, linen, soy silk? And a few that I don’t have a clue on) plus a note card and some other notion type stuff.

What a great way to spend an evening.

And what’s this? This is my beautiful Lorna’s Laces Shepard Sock, in the Rainbow, before I put it into a ball. (Ok, this is somebody elses. I lost the before picture.) Pretty, isn’t it? I got this through the GSRP, and fell in love with the colors. Then I saw how it knitted up. (Note that these are perfectly lovely socks... just not in my colors AT ALL.) I wound my beautiful skein into a ball, just to check.

Urk. Like… clown in the blender. Not so good.

But there’s that Pooling Colors pattern from the new IK. I’m going to try that. If I don’t like it I’m giving it to Kitten to make a hat out of. She thinks her super quick crochet pattern will make good use of the color repeats. She’s probably right.

Enough spam from me, eh? Going to SIGGRAPH (graphics conference) tomorrow. I have a post almost ready for Thursday, too.

Wow. Two posts in a week? What is the world coming to?

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Finaly, a FO photoshoot!

That's Red and Little Dead Bear, who she calls Deady Fredy. [ETA: It's Deady Teddy, as some Yetti has corrected me. ] Red is wearing my version of the RockStar Scarf I made her for Christmas... two years ago? Something like that. I used lime green mohair and Lion brand fun fur becuase it was what I had. She seems to like it, and says it's very warm.

See? the painting I did of Little Dead Bear looks just like him...