Thursday, January 31, 2008

Didn't make the cut

I got back my submitted pattern idea from Interweave Knits today. It still looked like such a good idea to me. I'm disappointed they didn't take my pattern.

I ran the pattern through the Sweater Wizard now for the first time and in the yarn I specified it would require about 1700 yards and cost about $150 in materials to make it. That is kind of expensive. I wonder if they take that into consideration. I thought about going over to my LYS to buy the yarn - or buying it online, for that matter, although I would probably get it at my LYS to support them - and realized I am daunted at the prospect of knitting an entire sweater. I've never been intimidated at that prospect before, but I'm not going to many meetings these days and I am not getting as much knitting done, unless you count at stoplights in my car, so I know it would take me forever to get it finished. Plus my confidence has taken a thrashing after getting rejected by both IK and Knitty. I still can't figure out what would have turned Knitty off my dinosaurs, and it bothers me. After previewing the Spring '08 IK, I think my design is similar enough to other designs they did choose to print, that they already had stuff mine was like and mine didn't do enough new for them. I don't know. Anyway, I've designed plenty of sweaters and other items in the past, and it's not that I don't think I can do it, but more that I'm a little depressed and feel like what's the point anyway.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

2 yarns I've finished lately

I bought the pink roving online and dyed the brown myself and plied them together to make this 2-ply:

I bought roving carded from 3 colors (rust, olive, lemon) online and made this 3-ply (my first):

Sunday, January 20, 2008

WW update: I've lost 5 pounds as of today

I've been quite diligent on Weight Watchers so far and it's now been two weeks. I've lost 5 pounds. Sunday morning is my weigh-in and then Sunday is my "day off" - I save most of my extra points for Sundays so I can have a break. It worked for me in the past, for about a year and a half, at least until I fell off the WW wagon... So, this time I try not to fall off.


Project Specs
Finished Size: About 8 1/2" in length
Yarn: Sundara sock yarn, "Pale Sky over Sugared Violet," 1 skein.
Needles: US 1 circular needles
See them on Ravelry

I love them. I made the pattern available for download free on Ravelry - it's a basic glove pattern (starts with fingertips and proceeds to wrist), but the edging is quite nice. Download now - FREE!

If you are not on Ravelry, leave a comment that you would like the PDF and I will be happy to send it to you. I hope you enjoy using this pattern! I have now made a half dozen pairs of gloves and it continues to be a fun experience every time!

New dyed roving spun & plied

I plied the red-rose-orange-lavender single with the brown single:

I am not 100% thrilled with it, and I don't know why. It's the color combination, which I expected to like more than I do. I was quite pleased with how dyeing the brown roving came out, both with the color and with how it didn't felt (I tried very carefully to avoid this). I spun the finest singles I've done so far with this brown. The color looked like it would go with the reddish single, but it just didn't thrill me once they were plied together.

I am learning. I am daring to suck.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Color matching, part deux

This time, I left out the red and it matched much better!

On the left is the fiber with the target color, on the right are several thinner ropes of roving that I dyed with 1/2 tsp brown and 1/2 tsp yellow. I also dumped in leftover brown and yellow from November when I was handpainting some yarn. But they were relatively weak and had been made originally from only about 1/4 tsp of the color in each case, and I had only probably half of the original quantity remaining.

Oh boy! I just realized I forgot the vinegar altogether! I just never remembered to put it in! Damn! I better go do a short vinegar soak so maybe they will still be colorfast. They took up almost all of the dye, although there was some left in the pot and now I understand why.

Anyway, the color is much closer to what I was going for, and I'm pleased.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Fiber Fiesta

I finished the first of the ice blue gloves:

aint it lovely? I've already been wearing it around like Michael Jackson.

I got this lovely pink roving:

from which I spun this:

I ordered three pounds of various ends of white roving:

and they included this parcel of brown as a thank-you gift.

I wanted to spin up brown and ply it with the pink but didn't have enough so I dyed some more brown. I didn't quite match the brown color (that's the gift roving on the left, the dyed and drying on the right):

I used half a teaspoon of brown, half a teaspoon of yellow, and half a teaspoon of red as an afterthought because I thought without it it seemed too yellow. I should have left the red out and it'd have been more on target. Ah well, dare to fail! I learned something. And it has yet to dry so let's see what color it is then. What fun! I like dyeing in immersion rather than by painting color on, I have discovered. Painting it on is messier.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sundara yarn problems, a glove, and more spinning

On Thursday night I spent 1 1/2 hours untangling a skein of Sundara sock yarn. It had no knots in it, but when I untwisted the skein and put it on my swift, it had clearly been twisted up in a manner that tangled up a whole lot of the strands together. It wasn’t easy to untangle, and I had to wind by hand and pass the ball through and between strands the entire time I was winding, up until the very last few strands left on the swift. I was so frustrated and annoyed. I posted about it on Ravelry because I needed to vent. I couldn't get up the nerve to email Sundara again about a problem with the yarn. Along with venting, though, I added that she is such a wonderful colorist that it seems like a shame to give up on her yarns because of these technical difficulties, but this was an unacceptable experience. Anyway, she saw the post on Ravelry and emailed me about it. I'm glad she did, because I felt kind of passive-aggressive in posting there rather than contacting her directly. She is going to refund me the cost of the yarn, which is great, and she apologized and said she didn't blame me if I gave up on her. But I really like her yarn so much! So I emailed her back and said all that, and I'm going to keep buying her yarn because she is an amazing colorist and the yarns are lovely to work with.

Here is most of a first glove out of this same yarn that I had to untangle.

More spinning to report on. Here's a ball of roving, one of four "bumblebee" batts I bought from marion on etsy - handpainted superwash merino and some black border leicester lamb locks for texture and color contrast.

Here is how I spun up its brothers:

It's the best spinning I've done so far, pretty consistently about the thickness of a candle wick, or finer perhaps. The weird thing about it is that the bits of black are a wildly different texture so they were very hard to spin with the yellow, especially at first. I've gotten used to it now, and I think I'm doing pretty well with it. I've done three of the four batts now. I keep stopping after each batt because when I get tired I get sloppy. I'll be very interested to see how the singles look once they're plied together.

Lastly, Adam is playing a game called "Overlord" which is really starting to work my last nerve. I am of a mind to start a column reviewing games from the perspective of the SO's of gamers, in which I review the experience of listening to the damned game for hours at a time. There's a sycophantic little creep in this game whose voice I'm really really tired of at this point. Fortunately he's almost done with it, and it's going back to GameFly tonight, I think.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

2 new yarns and finished socks

The roving (100% merino wool, "Everything's Just Peachy" colorway, which I bought on etsy from copperpot):

The singles:

The plied yarn on the bobbin:

And the finished skein (99 yds, worsted weight):

I thought it would be cool to show it from source material to finished yarn.

Silver carbon bamboo, which I spun myself (173 yds, a slightly heavier but still worsted weight):
silver carbon bamboo
I bought the roving, bamboo carbon fiber, called Black Gold or Black Diamond by those in the industry, from Louet. I've offered this to my mom if she wants it, although it seems to me as though it might be somewhat high-maintenance to knit with. You'd probably need to use metal needles, because bamboo ones would catch the fine, fine fibers, but the yarn would easily slide off the metal. So, possibly a PITA.

Here is a pair of socks I made for Adam's sister Tammy. They are also orange, but knitted from a much finer gauge yarn (sock weight, from Sundara):
tammy's socks

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

You spin me right round, baby, right round

Adam wanted to try spinning as well. Actually, he tried it the first day when he put it together after I'd had a go, but last night he was watching me and said he wanted to try again. He's watched other spinners before and I guess it's contagious.

I really love doing it. It's completely absorbing. Last night I was frustrated and irritated with the bamboo roving that I was trying out for the first time; it's got a very different feel to it and it was totally different from spinning wool. But even that was pretty nice. So far my favorite thing to spin is the roving my mom got me from her friend Terry's sheep. I think that's so damn cool! My friends (and now my coworkers too) are joking with me that I will want to have sheep of my own soon. Well, maybe some day, never say never, but right now I'm fine with somebody else doing all the work of raising them feeding them trimming the hair from around their butts and shearing them, not to mention cleaning and carding the wool once it's sheared. And it's dirty stuff. So give me a nice clean roving that somebody else has already done all the work to. I'll just spin it up quietly in my little chair. Hee.

WW update: Day two, successful so far

I brought my Fat Burning Soup to work again with me, as well as a Lean Cuisine and a boiled egg and an apple. I also went out at lunchtime and got some Power Bars (4 pts each and I love them). I'm not QUITE as hungry today as I was yesterday, although it's been hard. Midday I was pretty foggy, mentally, which I think was just needing to eat.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Back on Weight Watchers again starting today

I've been working on getting up the willingness to diet and I started back on WW today. I joined again online, and I made some Fat Burning Soup (my sister gave me the recipe when I did it a few years ago) and bought all the diet foods that give me the scant comfort available ... It's so hard getting started again. But I am really trying to be willing and so far, so good.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Yarn dyeing party of one, your table is ready

I decided that the yarn I spun was really only good for something that I would knit and then felt, in which case it needed to be a darker color than cream, which would get dirty easily. So I had to dye it, which I did last night. On my way home I stopped at Costco and bought some blackberries which determined my choice of colors.

I am using Jacquard acid dyes, and the info sheet that I got off the Dharma website gave the recipe of 1 tsp dye and 3 tbsp vinegar for every 100 g of yarn. I weighed the yarn, and determined its weight to be 350 g. I used 1/2 tsp Jet Black (639), 1/2 tsp Brilliant Blue (623), and 2 1/2 tsp Cherry Red (617) dye to get this purple color.

Instead of mixing the dye carefully with water before putting it into the boil I just put the powder straight in. The black (which was first) mixed in instantly, but the blue and the red kind of floated on the surface and I had to stir to get them mixed in, which I think is how the resultant dye gradations occurred. The yarn appears mostly dark purple with some areas almost black. I like how it came out. I think it'll probably pool colors in whatever I knit (Adam's lobbying for an afghan) but I'm okay with that. Here's a picture of the skeins, almost dry:

They are hanging over the utility sinks in the basement.

I cooked them on the stove upstairs, but I'm not comfortable doing that again so I'm going to get a hot plate to use in the basement. I used a dedicated stainless steel pot (not used for food or anything else except dyeing) but I still felt it was too close to where food is prepared to be a good idea going forward.

Here's a closeup of the colors.

I counted 101 rounds at 66" around and that comes out to 6,666", or 555.5 yards.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Felted Dinosaurs

Here's T-Rex:

and Utahraptor:

and Dromicieomimus:

Astute online comics readers will recognize the cast of characters from, aka Dinosaur Comics. I knitted them, felted them, stuffed them, and made a pattern (contains all three dinos) for you to do the same.

To purchase this pattern, please go to my Etsy store.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

My very own handmade yarn

I spun two bobbins of single ply but I was afraid to ply them together. Adam harassed me until I got out the wheel again and plyed them (and plyed them and plyed them). Then I spun some more from the roving Mom gave me, which was easier than the roving that came with the wheel. I plyed that with more of the first batch, and so on, until I had five finished skeins of yarn. It's very bulky and uneven, obviously, as it's my first, but I'll do more for sure and it will gradually get better.

I have a tremendous feeling of accomplishment!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

We had a great time last night. We were disappointed that Adam's sister, her husband, and their boy weren't able to come over after all; evidently the babysitter flaked. And she was family! So there's no excuse. But you can't fire family, on the other hand. So we stayed at H&R's through 230 am. We rang in the new year with a very sadly impaired Dick Clark and fireworks we could see over Newark.

A lot of our conversation was devoted to plotting a gardening coop. There were three of us couples there; we went through the 2008 Burpee seed catalog and divided up what produce we want to grow this year. We did really well with cucumbers and sweet peppers last year so we're doing more of those again, and we're going to try onions and garlic. I'd like to try a different type of squash, but only one or two plants as opposed to the infestation of them I did last year. We're also going to grow a few herbs - lavender, thyme, and basil, says Adam, and I'd like to do some rosemary because I adore it.

Further on into the evening we played Apples to Apples, which I'd never played before but which is very fun. All in all it was a lovely evening.

Today, Adam's sister et al came over and hung out for a bit before they drove back to Virginia. We spent the rest of today lying on the sofas in front of the TV, watching Planet of the Apes movies and (me) knitting the rest of the orange sock. Those socks are going to Tammy, Adam's sister.