Monday, December 29, 2008

What I've Been Up To: "Holiday" Edition

Well, lots of work. Yay for working in a yarn shop! Other than that, mostly watching House and No Reservations marathons, Dr. Strangelove for the umpteenth time, and Tom Lehrer videos on YouTube. I gave in and baked cookies, but not rocket-shaped. The observance of Saturn, Hell Yeah! will have to wait till next year. I did celebrate Festivus by airing some grievances with my mother. We've been feeding Shyam's cats, as evidenced by the video a couple of posts below. The cat grooming my head is the one that's *not* friendly! The other one loves to nuzzle armpits and purr.

Actual fun took place a couple of weeks ago, but I don't have any photos. We went to Berkeley to see Bruce Campbell at a screening of My Name is Bruce. Always a good time. We saw him in Pittsburgh a couple of years ago when he was screening The Man With the Screaming Brain.When we got back to the parking garage after the movie, it was shut down! Apparently it closed at midnight, and it was about 12:10 when we joined the 30 or so people standing around totally dumbstruck. The garage attendant was still inside, but he wouldn't let us in. Everyone was like, "WTF!?!?" The guy finally let everybody in, but it was totally bizarre.

The next night we went to see the Phenomenauts in Santa Cruz. I am so obsessed with that band right now. One of the opening bands was Devolutionaries, a Devo cover band. It was a really great show. Maybe not as awesome as the Zombie Party, but how could they possibly top that? We're seeing the Phenomenauts at Slim's later this month, and I'll definitely take a camera. The one thing that bugged me about the show in Santa Cruz was a little too many between-song comments about "the ladies." Come on guys, you're in the band. You don't have to try that hard anymore! (Remember, I kid because I love.) That band has pretty high per-capita hotness, anyway. Maybe it's the uniforms. . .
Which might also be the reason I dragged Bryan to see Valkyrie. Tom Cruise as an eyepatch-sporting German officer plotting to kill Hitler. How could it get any better than that?
He's also an amputee, in case you're into that. That's like 4 fetishes in one! I'm sure there's someone out there who has been waiting their whole life for that combination. It actually wasn't a bad movie. Bonus points for Eddie Izzard.

There's actually some new knitting content coming up, despite my horrible computer problems. The desktop (running Windows) got all virus-y and horrible, so it's running Linux until we get all our shit backed up. So I'm using the Mac. I dug out the CD that came with my camera, but it doesn't work like it's supposed to. Downloading the updates actually made it worse. I realized that iPhoto is *supposed* to be able to handle RAW files, but that doesn't work either.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Video: Shyam's Cat Loves My Hair




This is Jayne, aka Bertie. He'd do this all day if I let him.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

They Are the Meeces

The song from this video has been stuck in my head since Saturday. Apparently field mice like to play on the northbound Caltrain platform in Mountain View at about 7pm. I saw one run onto a guy's shoe and start sniffing up his pants before the guy noticed! I'm guessing there's no feral cat problem in Mountain View! Bryan and I decided that what they really need up there is a trained falcon that'll come back when it's called. That would be so awesome.

Friday, December 12, 2008

My Pet Rock


Paw Prints and Rock, originally uploaded by Buxtrosion.

Did you know that the pet rock fad was created by a guy from Los Gatos? This is another kind of pet rock. We had Yum Yum cremated by Caring Pet Service, run by Trent of Trent Pottery in Los Gatos. Her ashes are in this handmade "river rock."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

More Mermaid!


WIP: Mermaid, originally uploaded by Buxtrosion.

I'm shocked at how fast this is going, considering the size 2 1/2 needles. I'm almost to the center back.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

WIP: Mermaid by Hanne Falkenberg

I'm using colorway #10. I'm skipping past the i-cord and collar flap part, and starting with a provisional cast on where the body starts. I'll do the collar and i-cord in one piece later. This project makes for pretty good sitting-around-the-house-sick knitting, as long as you take good notes on the "at the same time" parts before you lose the ability to think.

Lizard Ridge Update!


Lizard Ridge Preview, originally uploaded by Buxtrosion.

Here's all the pieces so far, plus the yarn I've bought to finish it. 3 strips down, 1 to go! I'm doing strips of 5 skeins, with 6 repeats from each skein. It's going to be quite long. Bryan told me that all our blankets are too short.

Friday, November 28, 2008

FO: Spiral Cabled Chemo Cap


Spiral Cabled Chemo Cap, originally uploaded by Buxtrosion.

Spiral Cabled Chemo Cap- Dina version, preemie size. Taught at our guild meeting by Margit, the Fiber Fiend. I used yarn dyed at the previous month's workshop taught by Margit. This was quick and fun to knit. Bobbles are fun when you know how to knit backwards!


FO: Catriona Vest


FO: Catriona Vest, originally uploaded by Buxtrosion.

Finally got some pictures of Catriona! I'm about to duck outside to photograph the chemo cap so I can donate it. I finished finishing the new spinning wheel parts and have been using the new flyer & whorl for a couple days. I really like it. I have a little bit of adjustment to do to cut down on vibration and make all 4 legs touch the ground at the same time. I thought I had fixed the legs in the garage the other day, but that was before I realized the floor wasn't level. D'oh! I washed a little bit of the fleece I bought from Lynne and will do a lot more when Bryan Sr. leaves. I've got a couple of comissions I need to finish up too. Not to mention swatching and starting Mermaid!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Monterey Bay Aquarium Pics


Sea Dragon, originally uploaded by Buxtrosion.

Tons of jellies, sea otters, and a couple of penguins.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/buxtrosion/sets/72157610224020090/

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Odds n Ends

Mostly this post is to tell you about what I'll be posting about next. :)
I finished the Catriona vest and love it! I wore it last Friday, but I haven't snapped a modeled photo yet. With the sun setting before 5 and me working or volunteering most weekends, I've got to bite the bullet and get a remote switch. The self-timer is too horrible. I've also finished and lined the Sunburst Sling Bag. I got a really cute button I need to sew on. I want to do a modeled shot of that bag since my problem with the pattern could have been avoided if I'd seen more pictures of the large size being held by a human. I've been working on my Lizard Ridge (halfway done!) and am almost finished with the preemie size Spiral Cabled Chemo Cap from the guild meeting last night. I'm doing the bobbled version. Tomorrow night I'm buying a bunch of fleece from Lynne. Yay!

Work today was really exciting. I unpacked about 10 new colors of Misti Alpaca Chunky, most of them handpainted! We also got a bunch of goodies from the Ashford distributor, including my high speed adapter kit! It's a new flyer, whorl, and 4 bobbins. Now I've got ratios of 14 and 17.5 to one. I can go even higher bobbin-lead, but that means dealing with the infernal brake band. I've got to figure out how I'm going to finish the kit pieces. Evidently I was fooled by deceptive marketing of "tung oil" when I finished my wheel. I've got to decide if I'm upset enough about that to redo it. I also got to unpack and set up a Joy wheel that we'll be using for classes. The shop owner and a couple of customers ordered Knitter's Looms, but they all took them home right away. I'm really curious to see how they work. Then the mailman showed up and I got my long-awaited Romi shawl pin! It was part of a huge shipment, so there's tons of designs to choose from at the shop now.

I've also been getting a lot of house cleaning done. It's pretty exciting. I'm really busy, but it's a good kind of busy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Classes at Yarndogs

November Class Schedule
Along with the usual fibery stuff, I've got a Ruffled Roses Scarf class and a Rose of England Shawl-along.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Yarns From Guild Dye Workshop

Margit, the Fiber Fiend, taught a dye workshop for the Knitspiration guild. I dyed 2 skeins of DK weight wool. One is a semisolid, and the other is variegated. I love the variegated as it looks without reskeining, but I don't know how it will look knit up. That's one reason I like to dye self-striping yarns. I think I'll be doing more handpainted semi-solids in the future, though. They're really quick and fun.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

WIP: Crochet Cheeseburger


Crochet Cheeseburger WIP, originally uploaded by Buxtrosion.

I decided it was time I learned to make actual crocheted objects. It's so much fun! I made a carrot and 2 strawberries as well. Pattern: Cheeseburger with the Works by Beth Doherty, from Amigurumi Super Happy Crochet Cute. Rav link.

WIP: Catriona Front Finished!


Catriona Parts, originally uploaded by Buxtrosion.

Just the neck and sleeve bands to go! I've got to get 3.25mm needles before I can go any further. The neckline decreases were horribly frustrating. I am happy with the result, but not thrilled about the repeated frogging it took to get me there. In a few places, I had to move the decrease away from the edge, or make one decrease a double and skip the following one. I also wish I had done both sides at the same time. They came out uneven, but that alerted me to a mistake I had made on one side, and I fixed it. I also ended up finishing on a different row of one of the cables than I did on the back. I couldn't find any error to explain it, and I really don't think it will be noticeable after seaming. Rav link.


Giant Bag Fail!


Huge Bag Before Frogging, originally uploaded by Buxtrosion.

I knit to finished measurements, but 20" across is too big for a purse! I'm redoing it with 30 stitches (in between L and M sizes). Pattern: Sunburst Sling Bags

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Saying Goodbye


Yum Yum 6/18/93 - 10/31/08

I am very saddened to tell you that our beloved cat was euthanized yesterday. She was much sicker than we knew. I had her checked into the hospital to try to help her get over a respiratory infection and start eating again. Her vet discovered advanced intestinal cancer on an ultrasound. This is difficult for me because I'd be prepared to do anything to help her, but it was just too late. She had a really good life of 15 years with me, and I think she had a good death. She already had an IV line, so it was quick and peaceful. She was an extremely loving cat, and we miss her very much. It is difficult for us because Yum Yum's situation was so similar to that of Bryan's mom, who passed away in 2007. Unfortunately, we could not spare her from suffering as we did Yum Yum.
Anyway, you can see more pictures of Yum Yum here. http://www.flickr.com/photos/buxtrosion/sets/72157608568334063/

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Yarn in Progress: Lorna's Laces

Bobbin 1, originally uploaded by Buxtrosion.

Working on the Lorna's Laces top I got when Knitting Arts closed.  I'm planning on a 3-ply sock yarn.  Sorry about the flash.  It's ludicrously dark in the house, even with a 5-bulb lamp right above the spinning wheel.  I'm spinning in the bobbin lead configuration, so it's a little less easy to pop out the bobbin for photos.  I've been on a bit of a spinning kick lately.  I taught Rachel's son's girlfriend spindling at last month's spin-in, taught a spindling class last weekend, and taught Kool-Aid dyeing this afternoon.

This top is the last of my fiber stash!  Someone bought the Chasing Rainbows merino-tencel I had been eying at work, so I looked up the colorways and there are over 40!  Plus so many fiber blends! 
I also think I'm in the mood for undyed fiber.  I want to buy a couple pounds of wool for a sweater. I'm tempted to start doing some prep myself as well, but I don't want to take too much time away from designing.  I think I'll soon be getting a set of handcards or mini combs and some of our roving samplers to try some color blending.  That sounds a lot less intense than starting with a fleece (especially a dirty one).  
I feel like I'm on the verge of a lot of projects.  I want to order a Hanne Falkenberg kit during the trunk show, and I may be making a sweater out of Claudia's Silk Lace (size 0 needles!) soon.
Prioritizing is hard.  

Rancid @ The Warfield


Rancid @ The Warfield, originally uploaded by Buxtrosion.

Not a big fan of the Warfield.  It's one of those converted theaters where the dance floor is much too short.  The staff seems pretty out-of-touch.  I'm used to dedicated punk/indie clubs.  I was wearing my red plaid bondage pants, and the guy checking tickets said, "I like that.  It reminds me of a kilt."  I don't think he gets out much.  :)
I think I enjoyed the last time I saw Rancid (in Austin) more than this time.  I have to accept the fact that I'm not going to hear many songs from my favorite Rancid albums, because their other stuff is so much more popular. I had a much greater appreciation for Lars's songs about growing up in Campbell this time, though.  :) There's much more on that topic in his side project.  I'm sure it's changed quite a bit since the 70's!

WIP Update: Catriona Back Finished!


Catriona Back Finished!, originally uploaded by Buxtrosion.

Woot!

I've also finished the first sock in a pair I've been designing for a while.  I was stuck on getting the ankle detail & heel flap just right.  I had a lot of knitting time on my trip a couple of weeks ago & got it all worked out. Woot!

I'm almost done with another seaming comission.  I've *just* got to weave in ends.  Lots of ends.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Finished Yarn: Laceweight Silk Hanky Handspun




Here's the finished yarn from the silk hankies I was complaining about.  The detail above is cropped from this shot.  I ended up with about 500 yds.









This is what the hankies look like.  I spun each stack onto separate bobbins and plied the two together.  The multicolor stack seemed slightly less annoying than the solid stack, but I still probably wouldn't buy hankies again.  I don't like the unavoidable neppiness, though the finished yarn appears a little smoother than I'd have predicted.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Get my Shop Hop Pattern(s) at Yarndogs!


neckwarmer5, originally uploaded by Buxtrosion.

I whipped up a couple patterns for Curious Creek Serengeti, a hand dyed dk weight superwash merino. The official pattern is the Ríos Locos neck snuggler, shown above. I'm really happy with how it turned out. There's also a matching headband pattern available. The headband makes a really quick gift, and there's enough yardage to give one and keep one. If you make it to Yarndogs this weekend, also keep an eye out for Teri's crochet baby mitt pattern for Canopy, one of my new favorite yarns.

Monday, September 15, 2008

FO: Rose of England Shawl


FO: Rose of England Shawl, originally uploaded by Buxtrosion.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Juicing Up The Cat

Last weekend was pretty crappy, but it's all resolved itself now.  I woke up with a migraine on Saturday, and I had to call in sick & reschedule my beginning drop spindling class.  I'm going to the doctor next week to maybe try a different triptin (Amerge again?).  That evening while I was stressing about an audition/interview thing I had on Sunday, Bryan noticed the cat was acting weird.  We realized that she kept going to the litterbox without leaving anything behind.  We ended up taking her to the vet at 2 in the morning since I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep if I was worring about her.  The vet who was there was pretty sure she had a bladder infection, but we let them keep her overnight to get a sample and also do her annual bloodwork.  

The next morning, the vet called us and said she did have a bladder infection and would need antibiotics for 6 weeks (liquid, thankfully) to make sure it hadn't spread to her kidneys.  Her bloodwork showed that she was ready to start getting fluids for her CRF.  She's 15 years old, so this wasn't a surprise.  We'd been monitoring her kidneys for about a year, but she hadn't been recieving any treatment yet.  We went in to pick her up on the way to drop me off at the train station.  When the tech brought her out, she was a completely different animal.  She was snarling and hissing and generally being much angrier than I've ever seen her.  She bit the tech and splattered her blood on her carrier.  She tried to attack Bryan through the carrier when we put her in the car.  Then she was completely silent on the way to drop me off.  Normally she yowls like a typical Siamese on car trips.  When Bryan got her home, she went straight to her bowl and perodically growled while eating.  My thing in the City didn't have the most exciting possible outcome (I knew it'd be a big stretch), but it did work out in an arrangement that'll be really good for me.   

The cat's starting to act a little more normal, and I just gave her her first sub q fluid treatment!  I'm so happy at how it went. I knew I wouldn't have any problem doing it, but I wasn't sure how she'd react.  I guess my animal torture research skills finally came in handy. (Me? Bitter? Never!)  Right now she's supposed to get 200mL twice a week.  I thought that sounded like a lot for one sitting compared to other people's experiences on the web, but it went really fast with the 18 gauge needles.  I was assuming I'd end up needing to order some 20 gauge Terumos like everyone else, but she didn't seem to mind too much.  She growled most of the time, but it wasn't an aggressive growl and she didn't try too hard to get away.  I'll probably heat up the Ringer's a little more next time.  Overall, I think it pissed her off less than getting pills.  She hates the liquid antibiotics too, and starts drooling & foaming after she gets them. Now she's hiding in the bedroom with a huge lump of fluid under her skin.  If it falls down her leg, I'll take a picture.  My husband's so grossed out by that possibility!

We're going back to the vet for a recheck Monday.  I haven't actually gotten a copy of her results from last weekend yet.  When I see the numbers, I'll have a better idea of how serious things are.  I don't think it's too bad since she hasn't been acting sick (except for the bladder thing), and sometimes even cats with really bad numbers can be stable for years on fluids and meds.  It sucks that she needs treatment now, but I'm glad I've started doing everything I can to help her before it makes her feel bad.  Often people have no idea anything's wrong before the cat "crashes".  My cat's been getting geriatric bloodwork for years, but nothing really turned up until her pre-anasthesia bloodwork the day of her tooth cleaning last year.

I'll probably do a more technical post on fluid administration soon for anybody Googling for tips, so just bear with me.  :)
Here's the sites I used for info.

ROE Shawl Blocking


ROE Shawl Blocking, originally uploaded by Buxtrosion.

Both times I've knitted this pattern, I've had second thoughts about my gauge starting around the next to last chart. I knew it worked out fine last time, and I knew I was using up slightly less yarn than Cookie with the same yarn and needles. It turned out great of course! Marianne Kinzel's Rose of England Teacloth from her 2nd Book of Modern Lace Knitting. 3 skeins Misti Alpaca Lace, US 6 needles, about 60" diameter. This'll be at Yarndogs for a while. You can say hi to it during the Shop Hop when I'll be in Texas for my husband's 10 year high school reunion. :)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Wearing Circular Cape


Circular Cape, originally uploaded by Buxtrosion.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hubby's New Music Video: I Can Chew

It's finally finished! I can stop having my diet dictated by song lyrics, and maybe I can get this song out of my head! Bryan decided to credit me for "catering and hand modeling".

Monday, August 18, 2008

1st Wrestling Match Complete!


Circular Cape Blocking, originally uploaded by Buxtrosion.

I've finished something! Yay! This is the Lady's Circular Cape from Victorian Lace Today in Kidsilk Haze (color Pearl). It was one of the 4 projects I entered in the Ravelympics WIP Wrestling event. The other three aren't anywhere close to being finished.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Aggrolites @ Warped Tour


The Aggrolites, originally uploaded by Buxtrosion.

On Friday I tabled with CA NOW at Warped Tour in Mountain View. We were promoting their "I (heart) Consensual Sex" campaign.

Let me know if you want to order a shirt or are interested in getting together a South Bay NOW chapter, and I can get you in touch with people. The shirts are organic cotton and have the definition of "consent" on the back.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Finished Yarn: Handspun Silk


Handspun Silk, originally uploaded by Buxtrosion.

At Mary's last Saturday I finished up 450 yards of handspun silk singles, about fingering weight. Fiber (2 oz) from Heritage Arts booth at Kid 'n Ewe 2006. I'm fairly sure it's bleached Tussah. It was pretty fun to spin, with a manageable number of neppy bits and just a couple of pupa shell bits.

Once again I ended up spinning finer than I had in mind. I like to pet the hand dyed silk singles yarns in shops, most of which are fairly thick. I don't think they wear very well, though. If I'm going to make something intentionally delicate, I want to do it in finer yarn. I ended up spinning this just thick enough to get that fluffy shiny look that you see in thicker silk singles.

Spoiled Fuzzy Rotten


Spoiled Fuzzy Rotten, originally uploaded by Buxtrosion.

The other day I was doing a light blocking on this blanket I seamed for a customer, so of course the cat had to go sit on it. It's the bird blanket from Knit.1 magazine's green issue. The customer knit it in Mission Falls 1824 Cotton. Last night while I was uploading this photo, the cat was on top of my Lady Eleanor (I've been re-knotting the fringe).

Monday, August 04, 2008

Chihuly at the de Young


originally uploaded by Buxtrosion.

I did a lot of fun stuff last week when my college roommate was in town. Probably the most photogenic was going to see the Chihuly exhibition at the de Young museum in San Francisco.

More of my photos here.

I'd definitely recommend going on a weekday if possible. Although we didn't have any trouble getting tickets when we got there, it was rather crowded. And skip the cafe, no matter how good it smells. Unless you want to pay $7 (and wait 30 minutes) for a hot dog just for the experience.

We also went to the San Jose Museum of Art, which was actually really cool. There's a lot of wacky hi-tech installations, and there's a robot theme going on now. I think it would be really fun for kids. There's a table where you can build a Lego robot & have it photographed and uploaded to Flickr. My friends' are in there somewhere.

My friends went to the Tech as well and really liked it. They came back with a robot-drawn portrait of themselves. Admission is only $8 and includes an IMAX ticket.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Recovery Boy

Bryan's up to soft foods now (the song about that hasn't been recorded yet) but you can see the music video for "Liquid Diet Blues" and earlier recovery videos on Youtube.
Some of the music video footage is from the Prelinger archives, a collection of 2,000 public domain films. There's some hilarious industrial films there like "The Hormel Story" and many equally hilarious sex ed films from the 50's.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sock Design/Resizing Resources

Here's some stuff I found while answering sizing questions on the Rudy socks. I'm probably going to add at least 1 smaller size to the pattern. I did most of the math for somebody yesterday, but I'll still need to put it in a consistent format and maybe test the heel turn. All this information is for socks with a heel flap.

  • Heel math for socks between 40 and 80 stitches around (in 4-stitch increments)- From socknitters.com. Has numbers for 6 heel types- v heel, round heel, rounder heel, square heel, modified square heel, & strap heel. Also explains how to get those numbers
  • Knittinggeek.com has examples of what those turns look like here.
  • Generic sock recipe from Knitty Gritty (good for beginners).
  • Illustrated beginner's guide to the tricky parts.
I've used fleegle's lace yarn spreadsheet a LOT recently. I just discovered that our meetup group's own Suzi has a list of sock yarns arranged by meters/100g. This is really useful for suggesting substitutes.

Finished Yarn: Feb. in Tacoma Laceweight


February in Tacoma Handspun Laceweight, originally uploaded by Buxtrosion.

2-ply, about 30 WPI.
From a Tactile batt bought at Stitches West. I was worried about the bits of silk noil being obnoxiously obvious, but it turned out really nice after plying. I think I've got about 500 yards, enough for an Evelyn Clark style triangle. I've got a bunch of books on lace design checked out through Link+ right now.













I picked up some Mermaid at Green Planet when my meetup group was there last week. It's cotton, merino, silk, and seacell. I'm thinking I'll use it with my tweedy handspun for some kind of top-down raglan mini cardi. Of course, I'll have to finish something first!













Here's one of the hibiscus photos I promised.





















Whee! Spray bottles are fun! Cat discipline, quick blocking, pretentious nature photography. . .

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Blech.

Bryan's doing a lot better, but I've been really busy with work lately. This week, one of my co-workers is on vacation. Next week, another one has jury duty. I've been working on a shawl version of the Rose of England and I've taken in some finishing work. The only purely personal project I've touched is the cape. I've been trying to do 4 border repeats every day, so I should be finished soon. I've fallen in love with a few different yarns over the last few days and I have some design ideas I want to play with, but they'll have to wait a little. I've been doing lots of photography, but not for the blog. Tomorrow I might actually make it to a SFSI shift for the first time in months. My college roommate & significant other are showing up in a couple days to stay with us. I have to respond to two sizing questions on the Rudie socks, clean the garage, and try out my new SpotBot pet edition. Stupid puke cat. I lost the Dream in Color shrug at the hospital (I think) and it hasn't turned up yet. Maybe I'll make it to Sunnyvale next week for another skein so I can reknit it. Bryan's going back to work Monday! Yay! Plus I've got to show my guests the cafeteria, right? Plus Shyam's kittens. They like kittens. Now I've got to go make bean burritos (sans tortilla for Recovery Boy). Next time there will be photos of my hibiscus if nothing else. It finally started blooming.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Surgery Update

My husband had orthognathic surgery last week to fix his open bite. Now he has a bunch of screws in his head. I saw the x-rays. The surgery went fine, but I've been busy trying to feed him 6-8 liquid meals every day. I don't know why I thought I'd have time to knit! I finished the Dream in Color Shrug at the hospital last week and talked to a couple of nurses about knitting. In the surgery waiting room I talked to a really outgoing quilter who was doing some hand sewing to finish a machine quilted piece. It was really cute. The quilting was done in a fancy heart pattern that was programmed into the machine. There was also a nun crocheting something, but she didn't join the conversation.
I made some progress on the Lady's Cape and Catriona, but I forgot to bring extra balls of yarn. I decided on a needle size for the socks I'm working on, though. 1 1/2 were too small and 2 1/2 were too big. I got some 2 (2.75mm) and I think they'll be perfect. After we got home I got to the halfway point on the cape edging. I've set everything else aside to work on a shop sample that was stuck at the swatching stage for a little while.
I'll be back at work this week, and I should be back to social knitting soon. Hopefully I'll get some pictures of the shrug tomorrow, assuming I don't change my mind on the arm seam lengths again.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Handspun Singles from Tactile Batt

I've finished the first of two bobbins of singles from the Tactile batt I got at Stitches. It's a really nice blend, but I could do without the silk noil since I decided it wanted to be laceweight.

Fiber details: 2 oz February in Tacoma batt.
53% Alpaca, 25% Merino/Bamboo, 11% BFL, 3% Tussah silk, 3% yak down, 3% silk noil, and 2% angora.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/buxtrosion/2299346742/


This fiber's been really fun to spin so fine since it has so many components. It never gets boring. Since I wanted the singles thin and even, I used a short draw for more control and to more closely examine the yarn. I didn't smooth the yarn with the forward hand like I would for true worsted spinning.

WIP Round-up


Circular Cape, originally uploaded by Buxtrosion.

I haven't been very talkative online lately (Bryan switched keyboard to Dvorak), but I've been lurking. I've also had a bad case of startitis. I've been forcing myself to work a little on older WIPs every day. The body of the Circular Cape is done, and the border is going very quickly. This is by far the quickest lace project I've knitted. The body is just a feather and fan variation with a lot of resting rows, and it only took me a couple of repeats to memorize the border.

There's not enough progress on Catriona to take a picture, and I'm debating changing needle size a self-designed sock.


This is my new WIP, the Dream in Color Shrug (Classy in Dusky Aurora). The Dream in Color yarns are so gorgeous!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ruffled Roses Scarf


Ruffled Roses Scarf, originally uploaded by Buxtrosion.


Ruffled Roses by Annie Modesitt
http://www.ravelry.com/projects/spinalcat/ruffled-roses

Awesome!
3 colors of Misti Alpaca Worsted and a partial ball of ONline Linie 194 Solo (a ruffle/tape yarn).
Pattern (free) available at Yarndogs. Or check the designer's site for a shop near you.

Mods/Notes- For me, the purl rows of the tape were the right side. Subbed dark green for red-brown yarn. No problems with stitch count. I think other people got confused because the stitch count for the center lace pattern is given. There’s stitches on either side of that for a garter stitch edging. I used this tutorial for a similar ruffle yarn to help figure out how to use it. Think whip stitch, not running stitch. I used the 3-needle bind off after figuring out how to graft in ribbing and then realizing that it would always be offset by half a stitch because the pieces were both knit in the same direction.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

More Self-Striping Sock Yarn!


Self-Striping Sock yarn, originally uploaded by Buxtrosion.

My first time mixing Jacquard acid dyes. :) Primaries are Yellow Sun and Sky Blue. I love how it looks in the skein, but I'm not sure how I'll like the stripes. The green and blue-green are awfully similar. Maybe I'll do the same colors as a variegated yarn next time. I wrapped the sub-skeins for dyeing on a PVC device like this.

Here's mine. For this yarn, I only used 4 arms (4 colors). I did the actual dyeing on the stove, with each sub-skein in a large Mason jar in a waterbath in my big Ikea pot. The colors came out a little semi-solid, probably because of the cramped jars and my laziness in stirring.

Here's a little more info on building the PVC device. You'll need 14 pieces that are about 3", 6 pieces that are 18", 6 pieces that are 16", 12 pieces that are about 8" and 2 pieces that are about 6". You'll also need 4 elbow pieces and 18 T pieces.

On the knitting front, I've got just a few (very long) rows left on the Circular Cape from VLT. I still don't know if it will block out to be big enough, but I'm hopeful.

I've just started the Ruffled Roses scarf by Annie Modesitt. The tape yarn is interesting, and I LOVE Misti Alpaca Worsted. It might be my favorite yarn. At the same time I got the materials for Ruffled Roses, I stocked up on Kureyon for my Lizard Ridge. 6 more skeins! Woot! You can see them here if you're curious.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Uh-oh

Anyone heard of Flat Feet sock yarn, the stuff sold in a machine-knitted, hand-painted rectangle? Now Knit Picks is selling undyed blanks of machine-knitted Bare yarn. Looks like fun, but it's twice as expensive as the same yarn in the skein. How many of these would I have to dye to justify buying a knitting machine? Lolz. I'm partial to immersion dyeing, anyway. :)

FO: Handspun Toe-Up Socks

The knee socks were finally finished a couple of weeks ago! Rav link. Here's the photo set of the entire process- dyeing, spinning, and knitting. This is the 8 oz of Blue-faced Leicester I got at the Kid n Ewe fiber festival in Bourne, TX in 2006. I dyed the roving with Kool-Aid and Easter egg dyes, and spun it into a 3-ply yarn. I don't have the WPI, but it's 17-18.5 sts/2", 26-28.5 rows/2" on a size 0(US) needle.

Here's the notes on the toe-up construction and shaping. This was my first time doing toe-up socks, and it was fun. No picking up stitches, and I could start small and increase until it fit, instead of having to guess the number of stitches to cast on when starting at the cuff. (No, I don't swatch for socks. That's silly. The first few inches of the sock is the swatch.)

Judy's magic cast-on about 12 stitches. Increased 4 stitches every other row in the usual manner until I reached 64. When that got too snug, I increased 2 stitches every few rows until I reached 72.

For the gusset (when the foot starts to get even bigger, in this case 6 3/4 inches from heel) I increased 2 stitches every other row until there were 100 stitches (36 for instep, and now 64 for the heel).

I used this tutorial from Becca on her blog, Forward Motion, for the math on the short row heel turn. Basically you work 4 pairs of short rows, increasing at the beginning of every row, on 8 sts fewer than half the number of stitches before you started gusset increases (28 in this case).
There were 36 stitches in this section after the short rows were finished (28 + 8 = 36).

I worked the heel flap in eye of partridge stitch. On every row of the heel flap, you work the last stitch together with one of the stitches from the gusset increases that had been waiting patiently while you did the short rows. This is sort of analogous to the part where you pick up stitches in a top-down pattern, except there's no picking up stitches! Yay! For the sake of anyone who's trying to check the math, there were 18 stitches waiting on either side of the short row heel turn, so 36 heel flap rows were needed. This is the same as the general math for top-down socks. Heel flap rows = heel flap stitches = 1/2 total stitches.


After the heel flap there were again 72 stitches. I worked even for about 4 1/2 inches (until the point where the bottom of the calf really starts to necessitate increasing). I worked increases on either side of the 2 center back stitches every 4th row until I reached 124 stitches. (about 14 inches from the floor).

I worked even until just below the knee (3.25 inches from end of increases), decreased 4 stitches, and worked 4x4 ribbing for 1 inch. I bound off somewhat loosely in the normal manner for ribbing. Some people may need to use a stretchier bind-off method. I think the rate of calf increases (2 stitches every 4th row) should probably work for most people. We all use the same rate of gusset increases, right? You can always calculate your own rate of increases by finding the difference between your calf and high ankle measurements, calculating how many stitches need to be increased, and measuring the vertical distance to see how many rows you've got to increase over. Sort of like this, but upside down and without so much shaping between the calf and knee.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Online Color Palette Tools

I was inspired by this Bella Knitting blog post to spend some time with my color wheel and a box of colored pencils. I also started poking around online and found a few more color picking and palette generating tools.

On Color Schemer (the one mentioned on the Bella Knitting blog), you can browse color schemes that other people have uploaded. The real product they're trying to sell is their $50 Color Schemer software, but there is a quick-and-dirty online palette generator on their site. The generated palettes tend to be pretty garish, though. They also offer a nifty little free doo-dad that tells you the value of any pixel on your screen.

Then there's this site for generating palettes. It tends towards monochromatic or 2-hued schemes.

This flickr toy from Big Huge Labs will create a scheme based on a photo you upload or give it a link to. It's pretty nice.

Colourlovers.com has a very similar function (for online photos only) that offers a little more control. They also have an "advanced color palette tool," COPASO, but it only works with uploaded photos, and you'll have to create an account to save your work.

Weekend Spinning Wrap-Up!

I think I've finally recovered from the weekend. I had a migraine most of Thursday night and Friday. By the time it was over, I missed dinner with one of Bryan's college roommates who was in town, and ended up needing to get the car detailed. (AJ in San Jose does a good job, BTW.) Who ever thought it was a good idea to put nasty mint flavoring in migraine meds? Blech. It's time to switch since the Maxalt quits working after a few hours anyway.

Saturday was spinning at Mary's. I worked on spinning up my Crosspatch Creations batt (yay, more long-draw!) Lisa made and plied her first yarn on Mary's wheel! I really love seeing people learn to spin. I taught a drop spindle class a couple of weeks ago and it was so much fun! I love beginner yarn! I never make it anymore, probably because I'm obsessed with predrafting!


Here's the finished yarn. I had fun spinning this, but it had a little bit of a tacky/sticky feel. There was a fair amount of vegetable matter, but it fell out easily during spinning. 3-ply, 4 oz, about 250 yds. Around a worsted weight. I'll probably use it as accent yarn in a garment someday.


Sunday was my 3rd wedding anniversary. Bryan got me Deborah Newton's book Designing Knitwear and a Manfrotto 484RC2 ball head (the one with the quick-release). I'm so glad I got the quick-release!. I used the ball head with my Gorillapod SLR-Zoom to take those yarn shots. Here's a setup pic. You can see the most recent incarnation of my "$10 macro photo studio" from the Strobist tutorial. In this case, it was free. I already had all the supplies on hand. Except poster board. I need to remember to buy poster board!

I got Bryan the new Mario Kart for the Wii. It's really fun cause when you tilt the controller in the turns, something actually happens. I had a really ingrained habit of doing that while playing the SNES version, which just made my in-laws laugh at me.