Monday, January 19, 2009

"Finish him!"

Or them, as the case might be.

I was reminded by my darling husband that the sweater I had knit him oh so many moons ago had no collar. This came up because there was this cold snap, ya'see, and a huge heating bill and, well, we're trying to remedy the one of those that we can control. Our (rented) house is huge, and though all of the other levels stay nice and toasty, the one that we actually spend most of our time in is bloody Baltic. So, abruptly, a sweater was a very desirable thing for him to wear. Without the collar, it looked like he'd escaped from an ill-conceived 80's flick, so collar it was.

Of course, I forgot one important thing about collars: stretchy bind-offs. What had previously slipped effortlessly over his head abruptly stopped at his temples and he made sad, muffled noises about being trapped forever in a sweater. Fiiiine, whiner. Tear back bind off. Try same bind off on bigger needles. Now it got to his ears. Swear excessively about not learning from my own mistakes. Knit a swatch and try a different bind off, as the yarn was getting to that point where I really only had one more knit left in it before it started being problematic. Success, albeit somewhat frilly success. I decided I did not care. I queried the husband as to his state of caring, he seconded that he did not care, was simply cold and would like his sweater now. I slipped it over his head to make sure it fit, and lo, I was pleased to see it went over his head. I asked "Does it come off easily? No, nevermind, I don't care. You're wearing it forever." More whining, and we figured out that yes, it fit, came off and on easily, and no, it didn't look frilly when being worn. Hooray!

Continuing in the "finished" vein, I finally used up all of the warp on the loom. This was a goal prior to having many people in my home, as the loom has been transported up to the craft room, instead of hanging out in the middle of the living room where it had become accustomed to residing. Now, I have many, many tiny knots in my near future, but I have more options on how to make the tiny knots look awesome due to (of course) my faboo SiL and her imparting a crapload of fantastic info sources to me over Christmas. (And our visit, too. She gave me a great book that she knit swatches for, and can't wait to try some of the techniques in it out!)

So, yay! Finished a few things (including the fun stripey socks that I bestowed on Heather, as when we'd visited she showed off her stripey socks and noted that they were already wearing out. This was Unacceptable as a knitter and friend, so socks had to be made!), and haven't cast anything new on as of yet. We'll see how long that lasts...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A bit of column A, a bit of column B.

Things that I do not love:
Short row heels on socks. They leave this weird little nubbin of loose fabric at the very bottom of the heel that drives me insane.
Short row toes. I actually like the technique, but I don't like the look or fit.
Socks that call for both a short row heel and short row toe that leave a big weird seam to kitchener on the bottom of the foot of the sock. I don't care how good of a kitchener it is. It feels weird and looks bad to me.
Tearing out a sock after hating it quietly for the better part of a year and refusing to knit its mate out of sheer stubbornness.
The fact that I cannot get 2 matching socks made for Daven out of 100g of yarn. Grr.
Finally getting all of the peices in place to start dyeing like a madwoman, and feeling singularly uninspired. Meh.
When a simple plying project goes well 75% of the way through, then turns into a mess.

Things I do love:
My new toy. Last weekend I picked up a Strauch "Finest" drum carder, and it is oodles of fun. I was cheerfully blending random things from my stash, and I'm loving the batts I'm getting. "Well, there isn't enough of this superwash fluff to do anything with, and it's the same colour family as this crappy roving that I bought off of etsy, but when their powers combine, I get fluffy batt of super improvedness!"
My sister-in-law, who is a fabulous crafter buddy and an all-around awesome person.
My husband, who dragged his laptop up into the fluff room so he could sit with me as I used my drum carder and listened as I squee'd about the results a lot. He also attacked the bathtubs with bleach this morning, so that's good, too. (Mostly. Bleach hurts mah brains.)
Pretty much getting over the fear of altering patterns. If I don't like an aspect of a pattern, and I can adjust it without changing the entire nature of the project, I can bloody well change it so that I actually enjoy working it.
These totally simple, yet intensely satisfying and fun, socks that I'm knitting.
The new 1x1 rib/2 row stripe scarf that I'm making to use up the fiery yarn I bought at MD Sheep and Wool a couple of years back. This will match my floompy brioche beret.
Waterbears. Just 'cuz.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Gonna have to face it, I'm addicted to...

Navajo plying. I just love it to bits. I love the roundness of the finished yarn, I love the trickiness of doing it, and I love only needing two bobbins to get finished yarn. As someone with a whole whack of bobbins that were (until last weekend) full of lots of lonely singles that didn't go with each other, navajo plying is the awesome answer.

How bad was it? I plied until I reclaimed 6 of my 8 bobbins. I have a short attention span when it comes to crafts, so I kept trying Neat New Fluff (tm), and then not making anything that corresponded with it. This ranged from some relatively heavy teal/purple mystery fibre, to a super-fine spun natural mohair/jacob blend, and the first of the fibre sent from the fluff of the month club I joined. (Mohair/alpaca/tussah/tencel blend that is just lovely and soft. Can we say "yum"?) I'm most impressed with the results of the latter; it is the first handspun that I've made that if I came across in a store, I'd contemplate buying. It's still not perfect, but I'm getting a helluva lot better. Squee!

On the "bitch bitch bitch" front, the huge bump of fluff I bought on Dec 22nd is still not here. *twitch* I really prefer not to misplace very large, expensive packages that certain expecations hinge on. USPS is non-helpful, as their last update was on Dec 27th as "Acceptance", and then it was eaten by their system. I did send an email to the woman I bought it from to see if she had any experience in terms of how long it normally took for stuff to get from Washington state to Virginia, but I've not heard back from her yet. Even taking the holiday into account, there has been 10 USPS business days from then until now and unless they are shipping it via donkey, it should bloody well be here by now. *fume* I am stymied, and I do not like it one bit.

Continuing in the irritation, I started spinning the red/dark red fluff I dyed, and it is sticky. Really sticky. And did I mention that my hands go all red after I spin with it? Insufficient rinsing. Meh. So, I'm re-rinsing (with the goo I forgot to use last time) to get the rest of the dyed fluff into a reasonable state. An astonishing amount of dye remained. It'll take some trial and error on my part to make sure things are better in the future. Of course, I'll do the chemical'y rinse right after the fluff comes out and has cooled down, so I don't have to keep re-drying it in my middle floor bathroom. I'm learning, but without new supplies, it makes things a little more difficult.

Back on the "yay" front, Daven and I head down to visit Darcy tomorrow, which I'm really looking forward to. Geeking and big new toy and wine tasting and a yarn store visit. It should be a lovely weekend. :)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A little tedium goes a long way.

Way back in November, I was weaving away, and I screwed up my pattern. I went "feh, I'll get around to it later." Since I've returned, "later" continued to be "not now". Weeks passed. Visitors came to the house, ooh'ed at the loom and asked if I'd been working on it recently. I'd hem and haw and mumble about the pattern screw-up, then mention it'd be very tedious to tear back the 5" or so of the pattern to make it weavable again.

Eventually, after the third round of guests to ask about it, there was a firmly planted seed of discord in the back of my mind. Today was finally "later". It was tedious, I assure you, even though it wasn't as bad as, say, warping the loom will be.

So, I've finally got a loom that is useful again! I celebrated by weaving a foot or so of the pattern, and accepting that it ain't perfect, but it doesn't have to be. I'm just glad that I can make progress on it again. :)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Oh, what the hell.

Another Ravelry WTF moment.

This fits the person wearing it (I refuse to call her a model) like a feedbag. She's doing some sort of wringing thing with her hands along the bottom hem and...GAH! BAD KNITTER! NO COOKIE!

In other news, I have organized my Stash. This was...humbling. I have a lot of yarn. A lot of it is bad yarn. I need to work on getting what no longer appeals to me out of it. But, it's now organized in such a fashion that I can see damn near all of it. (I have two plastic tubs full of yarn that you can't quite see, but I know what's in there.) I even organized my weaving baskets AND my fibre stash. I feel quite pleased with myself, and inspired to do stuff every time I walk into the stash room. Mostly that stuff has been "clean up", but eventually it should be "make things". It's embarrassing how many projects I've got in my stash, needles and all. I WILL DEFEAT YOU, BENCHED UFOs! Someday. :)