Thursday, December 13, 2007

Finally finished.

I've had this bamboo in singles about half-plied for some time now. This is the second skein I've finished and I've got a few ounces of the roving left. It's all done on the drop spindle and I haven't had much time to spin, but finally I've got it plied.

The Worsted Stocking Knaves are finished. In the picture, I've finally finished the gusset, but...
I had to rip it back. It didn't match the 1st one, so I took it back and started over on the gusset. I finished it at Mom's on Christmas Eve, including weaving in all the ends. I was hoping for Yule, but I can finally give them to the Knave in question tomorrow.
Instead of casting on something new, I've been working on my weaving. No picture today, but I've got about three inches woven. I decided to go with a tapestry kind of method and it seems to be going much faster. The hardest part is keeping the same width throughout. I've kind of got it stretched out like a skin that's being tanned. I hope it works. It is pretty and I can't stop petting it. I plan on felting it up a bit after I'm done weaving (like ya do). I've got to get moving on this weaving. A himation is a huge garment, about 2x5 yards of fabric. Each woven square is going to be a little over 12"X12", so that's ...(calculates)...90 squares. Ugh. I'm probably going to cut the size down a little bit, 'cause that would be a bit too cumbersome for me to wear. Maybe 5'x10' will be enough. 50 squares seems to be closer to the realm of possibility than 90. Then again, if I were to decide to utilize the golden ratio, I could make it 5'x8', 40 squares. I like that, yes. It would be very Greek of me to use the golden ratio...and also save me fifty squares.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

"So, what have you been up to, Jess of the Bugs" you say.

Did you see I updated my profile pic? Well, I have no pictures of knitting today, but I can sum up. Here's my day:
  1. Got up at 5AM and actually dragged butt out of bed at 5:20 to get little bit ready for school.
  2. 7AM Little bit leaves for school
  3. 8AM I've made my lunch, had breakfast, worked on some music. I leave for school
  4. 9AM I smash up butterflies for their DNA (this actually takes longer than it sounds)
  5. 11AM find out there's no meeting woot, so I work on some music and eat lunch
  6. 1PM Holy crap. Do you know how many pine trees I've got to learn before Tuesday?? I don't want to think about it. And then there's the hickories...cry
  7. 3:50PM I am late for fiddling with butterfly DNA (I actually get about five minutes of knitting while the gel is running)
  8. 6PM Finish fiddling with butterfly DNA
  9. Quick dinner of leftovers, and then here I am.
I haven't got many neurons for knitting lately (unfortunately), but I did get a few minutes in today. OH! I finished the reggae socks! Pictures will be forthcoming, eventually. I started a pair of secret socks in Knitpicks' Essential in the meadow colorway, which is green, brown, and purple. The random brown hat is actually progressing well. I'm on the bottom ribbing and I hope that it will fit it's intended wearer okay.

That's it for now. I've been quiet 'cause school eat my head kind of a lot lately. Hopefully pictures before long.

Yeah, and I'm totally Kadollan's blog monkey. Ook.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I went to the fiber festival that was at Cannonsburgh today. It was no Rhinebeck, but sheep were sheared and fiber was had. I got a little over a pound of some brown llama for about $10, and I can't wait to get started on it. I also got quite a bit (maybe two pounds?) of alpaca for $20 from a fellow with show animals who "just wanted to get rid of it." He chucked more from the particular alpaca in question in my bag. He mentioned something about wanting to see the final product when he shows his animals, but I can't make any promises. I mean dang. Grad school eat my head.
In fact, I set aside time and pennies to go to this 'cause grad school eat my head and I've been majorly stressed out.

Anyways, there's the llama and the two show alpaca. The pictures don't do them justice at all. I've got to get a drum carder in a serious way 'cause as easy as the alpaca cards up, I'd really like to have a quicker way of doing it. I'm impatient and also I hate hand carding fiber. It's quite an expense, though, and I'm having a hard time justifying it. I mean, I don't so much sell the yarn I make or the stuff I make with the yarn, though I theoretically could. But, you see, I spent $30 on over three pounds of protoyarn - such a bargain!

I don't mind the labor terribly much, 'cause I get this lovely yarn when I'm done that I totally made from fluff. I almost bought some flax, but didn't. Every story I've ever read about flax spinning says that it's a crap kind of occupation filled with much injury. Mind you, these are fairy tales, but still...I may get adventurous one day and try it out.

The fresh off the wheel spun stuff up on the right is from Alexa Monet, one of the alpaca. I separated the white from the black and spun that up as soon as I got home. It's currently drying over my kitchen sink. It should turn out to be soft and lovely, but again, I have no earthly idea what I'll be doing with it. Add to the stash, I guess.

And speaking of stash, I have heard it said that one should never photograph one's entire stash as it is likely to cause anguish and/or pain. Well, I did photograph my entire stash, excepting only the yarn that's associated with a current project. Mind you, it's two skeins deep, but this is it. This is the entirety of my stash.

Yep, that's all of it.
The left drawer is sock yarn and the right drawer is everything else. Under the palette is all my cotton and under the blue yarn (which is recovered from a sweater for purposes of knitting a better sweater) is all the um...acrylic. I must confess that the blue is also acrylic as is the purpley poodley whirlpool of doom. I was thinking Iris sized sweater, but it never made it past being swatched. I have no idea what the heck this is, just that it's acrylic and poodley. Just to the right of the purple poodle yarn is my Peaceful Pastures handspun and my rainbowdey handspun with which I intend to make mittens for my little hands.

In knitting knews, I've finished the first sock of both the reggae socks and the worsted stocking knaves. I'm a couple rows into the ribbing for the first and just past the ribbing on the second. I don't have a picture of the reggae socks yet, but here's the wsk with one done. I had Kade's old man try them on for fit and he liked it so much, he almost didn't give it back. I needed to have made the top a little smaller around and the foot every so slightly longer, but he likes it, so I'm going to work on making sock #2 exactly the same (excepting color - you will note that sock #2 ribbing is green and not tan) and leave it at that. More pictures to come (I hope) now that I've found my camera.

I'm in Ravelry as - you guessed it: jessofthebugs. So come visit me there as well. I'll need to update there as well as in Knitwars. Man, am I the biggest dork ever or what?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Where the heck is my camera?!?!
I was going to be all virtuous and post pictures of updated knitting, but I can't seem to find my dang camera. It's here somewhere in this pile of a house I've got.
Anyhow, I'll give you the down-low:
I have startitis pretty bad. I'm thinking about starting the DNA scarf in palette, but I really need to plug away on the other stuff I've got going. Speaking of the other stuff, the man-sweater is going along quite well. I'm at the armholes on the back. It's slow, but I'm beginning to see progress happening.
The reggae socks are coming along as well. I'm at the foot of sock #1. One of my fellow GTAs, Stanton, is from Trinidad. I showed him my sock (like ya do) and he said, "Those are rasta colors!" in his Trinidad accent. I can't tell you how much that tickles me.
The Worsted Stocking Knaves are moving along as well. I'm on the ribbing of sock #2. Mystery Stole #3 is erm... hibernating. I haven't had the brain cells for fiddly lace. The only other thing I have on the needles is a moss stitch scarf for Iree and it's also hibernating.
I've done some spinning today with the bamboo and I probably should do some sewing, but I probably won't.

Monday, October 01, 2007

So, yeah, school is still eating my head, but I've at least got a couple of pics today - thanks to Kade (who let me borrow her camera this w/e).
Here you go:

I've finished another skein of yarn and I hope that one of these days the other half of this fleece comes back to me. The mill I sent it to apparently has a bit of a backlog of stuff to do and when I last called them, they were up to stuff they had received in May. 'Sarrite, though, I've got plenty going on.

You may remember a while back, I named the well from which I would not drink. See how I am drinking now.

I'm most of the way through with sock #1 and with any luck, I'll finish before the year's out. I was hoping that I'd be able to finish by Samhain, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen. Fortunately for the feet in question, it's not really getting very cold yet.
I'm also plugging along on my man-sweater-along with Kade. She's farther along than I am, but considering that I've got grad school on the brain, I'm not worried. I've decided to shorten the jacket by about two inches because, well, I'm short. It's no surprise that when we picked a pattern for the Pict and the Amazon, someone was bound to have to make a couple alterations.
It's looking nice, I like the gauge, and I'm probably about an inch away from the armhole decreases. I'll probably have to shorten the sleeves as well, but that ain't no thang.
It's off to class for me. I'm making prodigious use of the technology fee I've paid to MTSU and blogging during my office hours. What else would I do...grade papers? Pheh.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Okay, here's the down-low:

I've wandered off from the Mystery Stole-along.
The man sweater is progressing, if slowly.
The reggae socks are at the heel flap of sock #1.
Worsted stocking knaves are at the foot of sock #1.
I spun some of the silver bamboo today.
I got invited to Ravelry. Woot!

Did I mention that I'm back at school? I'm back in school. In fact, I'm at school now, getting ready to grade papers.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Got some pictures taken, finally.
Here are the art gloves, made from jesspun laceweight on US#1 dpns. The fiber is a soysilk/wool blend and was wheel spun at so many wpi's I don't want to talk about it. The pattern is derived from the Knitter's handy-dandy book o' patterns, with a few necessary modifications for purposes of proper fitting.
Here are the WSK (Worsted stocking knave) socks. I'm still decreasing at the gusset, but these should go fairly quickly once that's done. The knave in question is a bit wide in the gusset, so I'm making a couple changes to the way I normally do gussets. I am decreasing just a little slower than usual (dec row, k around, dec row, k 2 rounds), so perhaps that will work. I'll have to try it on him once I'm done with that part. I'll also have to find someplace slightly more manly to take pictures of the manly sock. Amongst the mints just isn't quite right.
Since I finished the Art gloves, I started these socks. They're a blend of bamboo, cotton, and elastic that I got from the Knaughty Knitter. The colorway is called "reggae" and I am making them 'cause it's freakin' hot in the summer in the south. I can't be wearing wool in August. Just sayin'. I may have to rip them back a bit 'cause they seemed loose when I put them on my feet. I'm not terribly far along and if I were to rip them out now would be the time.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Another thing for the list of finished objects, though I didn't get a picture of them. I finished two potholders from scrap fabrics for a neighbor of mine. She had, at first, offered to give me pennies for them. I finished them in a day, sent them home to her via her offspring, and the next day she tries to return them to me. "They're very cute, but my boyfriend just bought a bunch of them..."
And this after going on for 20 minutes the day before about how much she likes handmade things better than store-bought things and how she'd really like to have some handmade potholders or something. I told her to just keep them. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little offended, but it doesn't bother me too terribly much. I just won't make anything for her again.

The Worsted Stocking Knave's socks are coming along nicely, but I have a niggling fear that I won't have enough yarn. I've got one almost to the heel, but I've got to try it on him to see how it fits. BTW, if you Google "worsted stocking knave," I'm the second hit. Go me.

The Mystery stole is inching along, slow and steady. I'm rather enjoying the bead work. Next up in sewing is Miss Heather's Tai Chi outfit. I only have to find a large enough space to cut it out and make sure that the pattern in my head for the pants is going to work. I plan on doing a mini version either for Iris or myself. Speaking of Iris, I'm planning on making a pair of socks for her birthday this year and perhaps also some kind of little outfit.

I've allocated time each day of the week from Monday to Thursday for making things with string. Sewing is Mondays, spinning Tuesdays, Embroidery Wednesdays, and knitting Thursdays (though I knit all week long). Friday is for working on my D&D campaign. My UFOs are dwindling this way and I'm actually making progress. Who knew?
I haven't got pictures right very now, but will post some as soon as I can.

Oh, and for those of you not in-the-know, the feast day of Athena is the 1st of September. Athena is the patron Goddess of making things with string and I'm thinking that an S&B may be in order.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Doc's Socks are finished. All that's left to do is mail them off to the intended recipient, write up the pattern, and send that off! w00t!One more ta-da!, I'm finally to clue 2 on the Mystery stole. I've been knitting a row or two each morning while Iris gets ready for school.
What can I say? It's a picture of unblocked lace. The handspun yarn is working beautifully. I'm finally making progress on Jim's shirt as well. I have only a hem and buttons to go and that will be finished also.

Friday, July 27, 2007

I can't do it. I just...can't.
I can't make a tacky crocheted afghan with crap acrylic yarn from 1962 and the Red Heart has got to go. Life's too short to work with crap yarn, even in the interest of kitsch. It's all going in the yard sale. Moving this part of my stash out allows more room for decent yarn that I like. There are still acrylics in there, but the red heart is gone, so is the mohair/acrylic, and so is the crap yarn from 1962. I know it's from 1962 'cause some of it was wrapped around newspapers, one of which had a comic about a stockbroker knitting. The gods have a wicked sense of humor.I have actually been working on Doc's Socks and have 1 1/2 socks done. I'm on the decreases at the heel gusset and they're looking pretty good. Kitty thought so too. Pretty soon , I'm going to have to write up the pattern, but no worries there. The socks themselves are turning out very well.I've also been working on the Mystery stole, but it's kind of creeping along. Because it takes my full attention, it's not exactly bus stop knitting. It doesn't get as much of my time as it wants, but it is moving along and it's just starting to look like something. I was worried about using my handspun yarn and that it might be too coarse or something, but the yarn is no trouble to work with, has good stitch definition, goes through the beads just fine, and is plenty soft. This picture is kind of crap, but it's unblocked lace. What can I say? (Oh, I wrote myself little reminders on the pattern 'cause I needed encouragement.)I love my Husqvarna so far and have made a couple small things. I made a diaper bag for my neighbor and a KIP bag for myself. My first KIP bag was too small and kind of...bled. I'm getting better at making them as I go along and mine seems to be working quite well. I'm actually working on Jim's shirt and it only lacks sleeves, buttonholes, and buttons at this point. If I'd make myself work on it, it would be finished. Next up is Heather's outfit. I've got the pattern worked out and just need to get started on cutting it out and stitching it together. I'm trading that one for tai chi lessons and at the rate I'm progressing in tai chi, I'll be sewing for bleedin' ever. I'm actually not doing terribly bad and get a little farther each time. In fact, I was able to stand on my right leg in tree pose for about a minute. Progress is good.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The flowerbasket shawl is now blocking on my bed and I've finished one of the Doc's socks. #2 is cast on and I've got to find my notes so that I the second sock. The first one went pretty quickly, so I'm hoping the second will go even quicker. As soon as I get them finished and photographed, they'll be off to warm the feet of a very special doctor I know.
I'm having trouble deciding which picture to send in to "Summer of Socks" for my vacation picture. I like "Birth of an Urban Sock" by the Sears Tower and I like "Chicago Theater at Night." Of course, "El Train Knitting" is also good and has a somber, end-of-the-day feel to it. "Knitting and Spinning" is also good, but I kinda feel like I'm cheating with the picture of Thomas Eakins' work. I'm leaning toward one of the first two.
Like the sheep I am, I've joined the Mystery Stole #3 and will be knitting along with a flock of 6,702 other knitters. I only lack the beads. I've decided to go ahead and use my handspun brown for this instead of for the himation because I never really felt like it matched well. It's a lovely soft yarn and I think it is well suited to this project.
I've got the yarn and pattern for our Man-sweater mini-along with Becky, I've put in my request for Ravelry, and the rest of the yarn for the Worsted-stocking knave is on its way.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

You can take me wool, but ye'll never take me...


Happy July 4th.

So far, nobody's tried to take my wool. There would be blood, wrath, and woe all around. I did, however, send off half of the Peaceful Pastures fleece to the Wooly Knob Fiber Mill. I'm very excited to see how the roving turns out. *squee*

Sock Progress! It's funny how ten hours of riding in a car from Chi-town to the 'Boro opens up knitting time. I'm about halfway down the foot and with a little bit of time and attention, it will soon be an entire sock. I decided on a mock cable to mimic the snake winding around the Rod of Asklepios. The detail at the top shows what is supposed to be the snakes' heads. There are eyelets that make it kind of look like a snake's open mouth. The plant you see is my chocolate mint and it seems to be doing rather well this year.

I finished my Flower Basket shawl! Design by Evelyn A. Clark from Interweave Knits Fall, 2004 (As if you didn't know already!). Stitched in Knitpick's Shadow, Lost Lake colorway on Knitpick's Options needles, size 6. It's unblocked in this picture and I probably won't have time to block it until next week, but there it is off the needles. I'm very pleased.

I keep losing the Art gloves for some reason. But, I found them again and here they are. One done, one just past the ribbing. Now I just have to figure out where I left off. I love how they are both just so different and lovely and soft. Here's a detail of glove #2 as well. Mmmmmmm, color.... It's nice to be just completely in love with what you're knitting. this project brings me much joy.

In other news, I've ordered the rest of the yarn I need for the Worsted Stocking Knave socks and I've got most of what I need to buy me a new sewing machine. I'm short maybe $50 to buy the Huskystar E10 by Husqvarna. I've heard nothing but good about Husqvarna and they are known for their durability. That's what I'm going for - durability. Because the company makes all kinds of small engines and motors, the company's focus seems to be engineering a good motor that will be a workhorse for the consumer. They've been engineering everything from muskets (their original product beginning in 1689) to chainsaws, lawnmowers, motorbikes, and even meat grinders and ice cream machines. They began producing sewing machines in 1872. As a point of reference, Singer patented his machine in 1851. So, they haven't been producing sewing machines as long, but have a far better reputation than Singer. And that's saying something. Singer probably has the best reputation (historically) in the U.S.. Husqvarna Viking, Singer, and Pfaff are all owned by SVP Worldwide which is, in turn, owned by Kohlberg & Company. I'm not sure about the degree to which these parent companies keep their piddy paws out of the design process, but I feel that the Swedes really know what they're doing.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

It's my kind of town

Things that I learned while in Chicago:
1. Don't forget your camera.

I found a $10 digital camera at Walgreens. It's not a great camera and most of the pictures were not very good, but I did get a few of the sock about town.
First, I cast on at a spot near the bottom of Sears tower. Then we walked all over, hither and thither, looking for landmarks that the sock wanted to see.

We stopped by the statue of Lincoln in Grant Park, but never did get to the statue of Grant in Lincoln Park.

One thing I love about Chicago is that everything is decorated. This is the sock hanging out at the base of a lamppost near the Art Institute.

We hung out at the Art Institute for some time, mostly in the Ancient Greek gallery and the Neoclassical sculpture.

This one is called "Spinning." It's mate is one called "Knitting." The sock was pleased.

We saw the Chicago Theater later that evening, and then the local news. That's Chicago's Channel 7? I forget. I think it was a CBS affiliate. It was kind of cool to see the robotic cameras. I always imagine three or four dudes working them, but these were automatic.

After eating at a place called The Big Bowl, We rode the "el" home.

I have also learned:
2. That "extra" ball of yarn isn't extra. Bring it with you anyway.
I was working on the Flower Basket Shawl and ran out of yarn. It's Knitpick's Shadow in Lost lake. I even decided to work 11 repeats instead of 12 and ran out in the middle of the edging. I didn't cuss, but I wanted to.
3. While not ideal, it is not impossible to spin on a train.
4. Home is where the Stash is. It's good to be home.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Having (mostly) recovered from smashing the crap out of my finger, I'm ready to get to work. I managed some lace knitting with the splint and actually made progress on the Flower Basket Shawl last week. It helps that this was the only project I had to work on, but I needed some focus. I still need focus. I have the attention span of a hyperactive gnat who hasn't been taking its medication. I haven't done any actual knitting this week, probably due to the aforementioned lack of attention span as well as a lack of down time. Today I spent researching Messenger Gods and haven't had more than a few seconds outside in the fresh air.
Now that I think of it, that may be related to my mood today. That, and it's just me and Dorian here and he's not much for conversation, what with being a cat and all. Little bit is in Chi-town, living it up like the princess she is and the Big Sweetie is off to work 'til God wakes up.
Anyhow, since I've been in a general green and brown rut, my next two projects are going to be red and blue. The red will be a cardigan from Interweave Knits and I'll be alonging with Becky who picked out a lovely blue. More specs later. The blue will be Doc's socks, and I need to work out the exact pattern and take notes before I forget things.
I've done some hand-sewing and made progress on my mending/UFO pile. My sewing machine is still down, but I found a Huskqvarna for $159 that I want at Jo-Ann's. Still comparing prices, of course, and not ready to commit, but I really liked that model.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Eggplant, while a lovely color, is not ideal for fingers.
The picture doesn't quite do it justice. It really is eggplant color and rather swollen. I only just managed to get my rings off lest they cut off circulation entirely. I think it's broken.
How, you may ask, did I manage such a rich color on the end of my little left ring finger? I very gracefully smashed it with a hammer in a bizarre sewing accident. I almost threw up and passed out and I'm not certain it would have happened in that order. On a related note, my sewing machine is almost surely dead.
No, I didn't hit it with a hammer, just my finger. I was working on the overskirt pictured here and as soon as I finished, the sewing machine started acting up again. The top thread doesn't loop entirely around and catches something instead of drawing neatly up. Time for a new one.
The observant amongst you will note that this little garment has grommets at the top. Here's a better picture.
One of those, and I forget which, is responsible for the redecorating of my finger, which I'm almost sure is broken. Once I recovered from the initial blinding pain, I finished up the grommets and then the hem. I was going to do just one more thing and that's when the machine decided she was done.
The overskirt fits nicely, though, and I'm pleased with the design. Just don't ask me to duplicate it. I'm not sure I could. It's all upholstery fabric and matches my doublet. The ties are a place holder until I can get something new and all it needs now is an underskirt. That should be fairly easy. I'm thinking something pleated or something with a front panel with lace trim, but definitely long. The overskirt is past floor length and should have a floor length underskirt to go with it.
I've taken a break from spinning wool for a bit and finished up a smallish hank of bamboo. It absolutely shines. So, there it is. I've still got a couple ounces to go of it and I have no idea what it will be when it's all spun up. Lace? Something related to China? No clue. It's superthin, though I've not counted wpi yet. I'm afraid. I'm guessing it's something upwards of 20wpi. Suggestions?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

A couple small FO's today. First off, we've got two popholders. To be precise, it's really a couple of commercially bought popholders that have been cleverly covered in order to extend their usage. The original fabric covering the thermal batting was becoming worn, so I put together a couple of covers from scraps. The old popholder is neatly sewn in and it is almost as if I have two new ones.
Next up, a pattern test wristlet. I'm working on what sort of pattern to use for Doc's socks, so I'm knitting some little wristlets for the purpose of testing the pattern in the round. This one is not quite what I'm going for, but close. There are three more candidates so far. These are done in a 5-stitch mock rib in Knitpicks Essential on two size one Knitpics circulars.
It's got a weird ridge on one side because I was attempting to finish with both a picot edge and elastic bind-off. The elastic bind-off is too fat for the picot edge to lay flat, so maybe next time I'll just bind off and have the picot on one side. It's kind of like spikes, though, so I don't entirely dislike it.

I ended up frogging the Teddy Bear hat. It was too big. I've decided to just set the yarn aside for now until I come across the right pattern. I'm not convinced it wants to be a hat. I've also swatched for a sweater for me made from recovered yarn. I liked the color of the old sweater, just not the design - at all. The neck was weird, it was too long, and I couldn't push the sleeves up. I'm thinking cardigan. I have a thing for cardigans. It's slightly over 6 sts/inch in stst, so smallish gauge, but it will be a very nice finished project.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Here's a couple of pics and an excuse to show off my baby nephew. There he is in his snakey sweater I made for him. He's clearly elated. Or asleep, it's hard to tell. The other pic is of my brother in the shirt I made for him. I am told that he likes it rather a lot and wears it often. You will see Woody from Toy Story trying to hide his face from the loudness of the shirt. Poor Woody.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Pictures later. Post now.
I've joined "Summer of Socks" (see sidebar). Now, before you go off and say "ooooh, she's a joiner, that one! Can't pass up a thingalong, even if it were the shawl from H-E-double hockeysticks!" I would like to remind you that I decided last year that Summer is for socks. I'll be designing a pair called "Doc's Socks" for Dr. Sanders and I'll also be making a pair for the Worsted-Stocking Knave. I'm not sure what those will be yet, but I know they'll be green. I'm considering lace. >:)
In other news, I've finished one of the Art gloves and very cleverly left the whole KIP bag at Becky's. I assure you it's fantastic. I also started a simple moss stitch scarf to match Iree's sherbet hat and sherbet mittens for my stupid knitting to do when I'm not paying very close attention. Now, since today is tuesday and tuesdays are for spinning, I'm going to make an attempt at setting aside an hour for carding. If I'm lucky, I'll get some actual spinning in as well. I've also got to work on my car, ride a bike, fold laundry, shower, and shave. I hope to have most of this done by 2:00PM. It is now 8:00AM. Perhaps I'm delusional.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

"Blog!" she says! I am not your blogging wench! I do not blog for your pleasure and entertainment!
...okay, so I do.
I am totally your blogging wench. You say "blog" I say "how many words?"...or something. Right. How 'bout some content?

I'm working on the Art gloves mostly these days as my bus stop knitting. I took Murfreesboro's Rover yesterday over to campus to get some stuff done. I think I waited something like unto 45 minutes or more. I ended up getting quite a bit of knitting done and walking home so that I didn't have to wait for the bus again. I can walk the same distance in less time than it takes to wait for the bus. While the bus is climate controlled, fairly comfortable, and doesn't require using my legs, it's slow and unreliable. I imagine they're still working out the kinks in the system, but dang.
Anyhow, I did make progress on them and they're looking like they might be gloves when they grow up. I am totally in love with this yarn. Holy crap, the subtle color shifts, the striping, and it's soft! I had to rip the whole thing back because it was too big in the hand and too small in the pinky finger, but this seems to be fitting like a ...nevermind. I'm not going there.
The blue flower is flax. It's one of the few flowers in this world that's honest to goodness blue and not a shade of purple. They're quite lovely and are blooming well this year. I'm tempted to try flax spinning, but there are a couple obstacles. I've been reading about what a chore it is to spin flax, especially as compared to wool. You have to keep the fibers wet. Secondly, where the heck am I going to get flax fiber? I know how to get the fiber from the plant, but I'm not growing near enough in my little container garden to make a garment. Besides, when I do it, I end up with tow rather than the longer, more useful fibers and retting is kind of gross.
I'm working on stash-busting with my fabrics. So far, I've made two rilly sekrit yule presents, and I'm working on some popholders. I've decided on log cabins 'cause I'm hoping to be buying a house soon. The red in the center represents the hearth and what better project to work the mojo for house-getting? Besides, making popholders is good short attention span sewing.
Soon there will be navy sock yarn for Doc's socks and some Knitpicks' superwash for the Worsted-Stocking Knave.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Textile arts are traditionally women's work. Historically, women have done most of the domestic sewing, spinning, embroidery, and weaving. There are numerous references in Egyptian, Norse, and Classical works to women employed in these occupations. Men tended to enter into these occupations when textile production left the realm of the domestic and entered into trade and industry. Men would then become weavers and tailors, but women still spun, embroidered, and sewed or knit items for the home and to sell in a cottage industry kind of setting. These are broad generalizations spanning thousands of years, but it is difficult to find historical references to men engaging in spinning or embroidery. If you find any, let me know.
There are those who would suggest that women have been oppressed by this division of labor. Perhaps in some cases this is true, but there's a part of me that's deeply offended by the suggestion that because women have traditionally been masters of the spindle and needle, we should cast aside these things as symbols of oppression. I say, to Hel with that. Brynhild, described as the greatest of great women in the Volsungas Saga, was as likely to pick up a sword as a needle. The same goes for Gudrun in the same saga. In the Nyals saga, the Valkyrie are depicted weaving on a loom using men's heads to weight the warp threads, a sword as a shed, and entrails for the warp and weft. Athena was born fully armored and carries the Aegis as her shield. She's not only the goddess of tactical warfare, but the goddess of weaving. Artemis, as skilled an archer as her brother, was the Queen of the Nymphs whose primary occupation was spinning. Maidens of Delos would bring spindles bound with their hair to the tomb at the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus.
So, if goddesses and heroines aren't fettered by their "women's work," why should we be? There is no reason to cast off the needle in exchange for the pen (or keyboard) when we can do both. There is no reason to put less value on the skill and industry of what is traditionally women's work because we now do work that was traditionally set aside for men. We can be doctors and knitters, lawyers and quilters, scientists and spinners. I am proud of the women's work that I do. I am proud that I can make thread with my own hands and then make that thread into something. I can make dresses one hour and work on my car the next. I can read academic papers and write on almost any subject one hour and embroider or knit the next hour. I can make lace, compose songs, and wield a hammer or screwdriver.
A modern woman's value is placed upon her ability to juggle children and an occupation outside the home. But to me, that is only a different sort of enslavement. A woman's value or virtue does not lie so narrowly, but rather in her kindness, her industriousness, her adaptability, and her strength of spirit and will. I would put the same values and virtues upon men.

Long story short, I don't care who you are or what your gender may be. More people should join me in my fabric and fiber goodness.
You will be assimilated.

(x-posted to Siamese cat, Zen Jail)
Feminist article that started this tirade:
King, Kathryn R. "Of Needles and Pens and Women's Work." Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature. v.14 no.1 (Spring, 1995) pp 77-93.
Okay, so I'm a lame-o with no pictures today.
My machine seems to be working just fine now and I hope, hope, hope, that I can keep it around another 5 years before it goes phlooey.
The dress was fabulous. Holy crap and go me. I hadn't ever done that level of alteration to a pattern and not only did the final product fit, but it was flattering besides. I finished a little pillow for Iree, a Yule present for "L," and Kell's Mock Croc socks. I had made progress on the Art gloves and made it all the way to the pinky, but it fit weird when I put it on, so I ripped the whole thing out. It's small, so it should go quickly when I cast on again.
I've about decided that the stuff I've been spinning for the warp is too thin. It's about 22 wpi, and if I'm using the wpi as the number of warp threads per inch, 22 is just too much for a first weaving. What I may do is send half of my Hickman County wool off to be mill carded and spin some thicker stuff from that. Since this brown is such an uber-doober laceweight, I can make lace with it. Crazy, no?

Monday, April 16, 2007

She's a sad tomato.

I have a New Home sewing machine that I bought about 8 years ago or so and it's been acting up. The top tension breaks, especially on the zigzag stitch, it gets tangled up around the bobbin case, and it rattles. headdesk -and at a time when I've got an impending deadline. Of course, to be fair, when have I not got an impending deadline? Oy. So, I take the thing in to the shop and the lady tells me that they can clean and service it and that should help, but the end is nigh for this little machine. Better start saving now. Geez, I hate planned obsolescence. I want something that's going to last me twenty years or more. Mom's singer is likely older than I am and still running. She's got one that's muuuuuch older than that, I don't know who manufactured it, but it's the foot-pedal kind that folds down into the table. I'm tempted to start using that one. I don't want an uber digital thingamy with 9,000 stitches and a computer that's smarter than my cat. That's not saying much for the computer (or the cat), but I don't want a computer in my sewing machine at all. More parts = more stuff that breaks. I feel the same way about my car.
Simple Pictures are Best. (Amazon link)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I am a naughty blogger - and a honey bear.

I've been practicing an ancient art, passed down for thousands of years from crow to crow. I am honored that they have chosen to teach me this very ancient and revered zen practice known as "ooh! shiny!"
I am easily distracted, but I have pictures!
So, here are a number of various UFO's, including the muslin for a sleeve for a garment I'm constructing completely from scratch. No pattern, nothin'. I'm totally making this up as I go along and I hope it doesn't suck. Up in the left corner is the flower basket shawl. I've actually made a little progress on it, but it's not much to look at right now. What can I say? It's an unblocked lace shawl.

This is about how much wool I can hand card in an hour (thieving cat placed for size comparison). It comes out to about an ounce and a half, and that's at a leisurely "I'm not going to injure myself" pace. I've been working at about a hank of yarn a week, but missed last week due to washing machine woes. You see, I forget that I'm 115lbs soaking wet and not all that strong. When my washer broke down, I very cleverly tried to move it myself so that I could get to the back to disconnect it. It weighed about 200lbs according to the scrap yard scales. The new one, a Kenmore Heavy Duty, cost me $25 and is much much lighter. Anyhow, I had hurt my shoulder moving the old one and there was no way I was carding wool with a hurt shoulder.
So, this week's hank was about 1 7/8 oz and a bit coarser than usual. One of the types of wool in my big box o' sheepy goodness is a bit coarse, but most of it is rather soft. I just happened to get a bunch of the coarse stuff this time around. I wonder how much of this I'll need...
Anyhow, I think I've figured out a way to calculate how much warp I'll need.
1. Measure wraps per inch of thread to be used for warp. I figure that's about how many threads I'll need per inch.
2. Measure about how long the intended fabric is going to be. The dimensions for the himation that I'm going to make are my height in width by twice my height in length. Add about two feet.
3. Multiply wpi x (fabric length +2ft) and that's how many yards you need for warp. Go basic algebra skills!
So, here's the brown hat I've been working on. I'm at an impasse on this one, I'm afraid. It's worked on Knitpicks size 4 circulars and now I've come to the decreases. 'Cept I very cleverly don't have any size 4 dpns. Beckoo of the Hill People says that 3's should do just fine, but... I'm afraid it's going to look funny. I'm setting it aside until I can pick up some size 4 dpns. Oh - the yarn is the Teddy Bear roving that I spun up into a 3-ply and it's turning out to have this sort of wood grain pattern that's really cool. It looks terrible in anything but stst and plain ribbing, so here it is in stst and plain ribbing.
More homespun yarn. This is the rainbow soysilk/wool blend that my sweet husband gave me for Yule. I originally wanted to knit a pair of gloves on 0's, but I decided on 1's because I have a zillion of them. The yarn is very fine and these will be lightweight gloves, but they're going to be gorgeous. I'm seriously in love with this yarn. It holds my attention quite well because it changes color every so often and makes with the purdy stripeys. There's no way I'm ever ever ever going to be able to make two gloves exactly the same with this yarn, but I'm at peace with that.
I'm making progress on the Mock Croc. As you can see, I've turned the heel on sock #2 and seem to be plodding right along. Next pair in the queueueueueueueueuue is a pair in navy blue for Dr. Sanders. She wears a size 7 shoe, so I figure that the circumference should be about 8 1/4" and the length of the foot about 9 1/2". I'm only guessing because her feet live in Nashville. That's the best working measurements I've come up with so far. So, as soon as the Mock Croc are done, these are immediately next.
After that comes the next promised pair. Those are going to be huge. Not nearly as huge as my dear and darling husband's foot sweaters, but still huge. You see, for Bardic Olympics this Ostara, I made a sock certificate. Remember this? Scroll down all the way to the bottom and read the last two sentences. Now guess who won the sock certificate. headdesk
Do not name the well from which you will not drink.