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Sunday, December 23, 2007

to "kinnear" a verb

LOLOLOL

The Yarn Harlot made the New York Times today. In the Week in Review section, the article is titled, "All We Are Saying"

The knitting community never ceases to amaze me!

Oh yeah, and sorry about the lack of posts. I suspect you're all in the same boat I am. Kids home for the Holidays, grandkids visiting, and I'm knitting, knitting, crocheting, knitting.

I refused to allow myself to get sucked into the chaos that is Xmas knitting, and yet I still find myself sitting up til all hours of the night knitting, and knitting, and knitting. The only good thing about this marathon sprint of needles, hooks, and fiber is that my deadline isn't tomorrow or the day after, it's the 4rd, when Gillian returns to Savannah.

I've finished up all the scarves except one, (yippee, although she's been eyeing a couple other patterns) and I got one vest nearly off the needles, just sitting there waiting for final shoulder measurements. Now it's fingerless mitts on the needles ( a couple pairs). She fell in love with Eunny's Endpaper Mitts (haven't we all) but I've never done FI/stranded, all my colorwork has been mosaic, so I drafted a mosaic pattern last night. Also waiting in the wings is another sweater, a second vest, and hooded scarf/tabbard kind of thing....wonder which if any I'll be able to get done before she leaves again?

Sitting here all toasty warm knitting, it's quiet, kids are all gone for the day and won't be back until tomorrow. They'll all be here tomorrow, that is if the snow stops and the 35 mph winds (with gusts up to 50 mph) ends soon, otherwise it looks like Joe and I will have a very quiet Xmas.

Wishing you and yours Comfort and Joy this Holiday Season!

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Swatch of Jello

Just a quickie post to show you how the tri-colored Jello dyed yarn works up.

Even though these aren't my colors, I kinda like it.



No clue as to what I'll actually make with this. Although, I'm thinking about a couple Nora Gaughn designs......the Luce scarf (Egads another scarf!) or the Target Wave mittens.

Uh Oh....looking at her photos I saw this sweater again.....Must. Resist. Urge to cast on.

Debbie New has a interesting mitten design that is very similar to the Target Waves...sorry, I can't find a pic on the tubes to show you. I'm pretty sure it's in Unexpected Knitting though, one of "bestest" book ever. :o)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Hats and Scarves

Yes, I am still making hats and scarves requested by the kids.

Yes, I am bored out of my mind and sick of them.

I followed the crowd on Tuesday and made the My So Called Scarf. It was nice cuz I only had the one skein of Manos del Uruguay and it was an interesting stitch pattern, at least for a little while....sigh



Yesterday I decided to tried to throw in a little bit of fun. To add at least a tiny bit of amusement to knitting a scarf I made this one.

I made this one up as I went along sorta. I started out casting out 280 st. working Moss St for 5 rows then a row of cross stitch (crosses made in alternating directions) keeping the first and last 5 stitches in Moss St. Six rows of garter stitch, determined merely by weighing my ball of yarn and working it until the halfway point. Another row of alternating crosses followed with an equal number of Moss St to finish it.

It was OK for awhile but it too got boring. Although I gotta admit, towards the end the excitement peaked again. This is how much yarn I had left.

I must have a particularly large grudge against scarfs. The only reason I can think of to explain this aversion to making them and the incredibly short wick on the burnout meter, is no matter how much effort, fancy stitches, and glorious fibers, in the end you still just have a long skinny rectangle. Even something like the Stacked Diamonds, (aka Edgar) or the Snake Trumpets (aka Kureopatora's Snake) are in essence long skinny rectangles....just rectangles that fudge their boundaries.....sigh

I think the next scarf will be this one, maybe the skinny rectangle-ness will get lost in the flounce. One can hope can't she?

As for hats. Eh. I don't usually wear hats cuz I have such a pea-size head. I buy my ball caps in the children's section. I can wear a baby bonnet easily. I'm not kidding. It's a huge mystery to me how all my brains fit into such a tiny space, some of my marbles must be missing.

Recent activity could prob'ly be construed as an indication of a certain lack of ones marbles, I suppose ..... :o)

Where was I? Oh yeah, hats, aside from just more renditions of beanie's with and without brims, I jumped on the bandwagon and worked up a Just Like a Peasant Cap. The first one I made turned out ok. I'm not thrilled and felt the fabric itself was a tad bit too thick so I modified it a bit. You really didn't think that I'd let it go untouched did you?


I worked the main part of the hat in Stockinette St (obviously) using a BW mosaic pattern I think the name of it is "Maze". Instead of falling into that frightening abyss of 3 feet of k1p1 ribbing that is the tying band on this hat I cheated, saved a few hours and made a simple single crochet band 3 feet long. 30 min for yet another skinny rectangle, sure beats a couple hours, any old day! And even after all that it still is like every other hat, it looks ridiculous on me. Perhaps it will look good on Gillian. She can wear hats well and she'll be home soon. (Yippee Skippee Silly will be home soon!!!!)

I suppose it's cuz the knitting lately has been so uninspired I've been dreaming and planning a coat refashion. I'll be working on that tonight and tomorrow. Hopefully it will be done tomorrow cuz Silly is coming home on Saturday and my sewing room is "her bedroom" (wink wink nudge nudge say no more). Picture a black wool, Perry Ellis, circa 1990's, Meg Ryan/Sleepless in Seattle-esque long coat. You know a big shouldered voluminous coat with that tortuous belt slung across the butt that made it feel like you were sitting on someones foot every time you sat down. (It also had matching mini belts at the cuffs. Lovely.)

I've got the sewing all set in my mind, still wavering on what type, if any, additions I'll be making. Of course there is always fur and leather to consider, but I'm pretty sure it's going to end up being a fairly plain utilitarian coat. Something my mother would have called her "grocery store" coat. Ahhhh I can hear Mr. Seam Ripper calling me as we speak.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Fodder For My FBI File

I have no excuse. It is beyond explanation. I don't know the reason why I did it. I'm not even sure I should admit it, but photographic evidence exists therefore I'm duty bound.

Just one week ago today I was grateful for the pictures my brother snapped and I proudly displayed them for all to see. And now today? funny how dramatically things can change in 7 little days. You can see photos of the real me at Franklin's.

(I can't think of anybody I can blame this one on, I'm pretty sure the Harlot never did anything like this! LOL)

One thing for sure....I'm danged glad these photos surfaced after the Obama thing, cuz if they had been published prior to the event I would have never gotten that close. I'm sure being hooked up with Dolores will get you an FBI file in a single heartbeat.

Many thanks for this somewhat dubious honor to

Franklin,

and his esteemed panel of judges,

Rabbitch of the Fiber Studio and her blog

Carol of Black Bunny Fibers and her blog

Brenda Dayne the voice of Cast On: A Podcast for Knitters

Stitchy McYarnpants our Kitschy Queen who writes, blogs and sells her wares

I had you all fooled didn't I. The hermitage is a swingin' place. I do my housework dressed like this
















Monday, December 10, 2007

Zipper Vest

Wow, almost a month has pass and I'm just now getting around to posting a picture of this vest.
It's Drops pattern #0-399.



I must have done something not quiet right at the neckline considering the jog in the moss stitch. Oh well, not a major problem.

I did modify the pattern a little bit. (go figure) The pattern calls for garter stitch around the bottom, on the front placket/neckline, and around the armholes. I used moss stitch instead. I just thought a firmer edge was needed on something worked in such a large gauge, and sme many strands held together. I also crocheted a slip stitch around the front edge and neck for a firm edge to sew the zipper on.

The pattern also called for some shaping/sloping on the upper back. It sounded to me to be a quasi-racerback styling. Didn't do it, just made the upper back "normal".

Oh yeah I also worked it in one piece...I don't do seams when I don't have to.

Materials:
Reclaimed heather green wool worsted wt. 2 strands held together
One strand each of a no-name mohair/acrylic blend cobweb wt royal blue and hunter green.
Total linear yardage. 324-ish yards.
Gauge: 10sts x 14 rows = 10x10cm (or something like that)
#11 and #13 needles

I like it, which is weird cuz I'm not a vest type person. I'm too dang cold all the time to have my arms hanging out nearly nekked, but I am comfortable in this vest, as long as I have a pair of elbow length gauntlets on. :o) The vest also serves it's purpose well under my coat.

Oh, speaking of coats....just you wait and see what I'm doing to my Grandmother's old red wool coat!!

There's Always Room for Jello

Yep, there will always be Jello on my pantry shelves from this moment on.

Behold....



Not a trace of stiffness this morning. No physical anomalies that would betray the dye from which these yarns sprung forth. I'm happy.

Next run to the store will include Jello, lots of it. There are plenty of other experiments I want to try. I have a morbid curiosity to find out just how far I can go before I actually ruin the wool.

While I was doing the sprinkle/smooch/zap method it occurred to me, "painting" with a thin syrupy jello water solution would yield an unbelievable amount of control as to the placement of the dye. Obviously the semi-gelled globs posed no problems in the end results (other than a more saturated color). I was also thrilled with the fact that the colors from one section did not readily bleed into one another. I was dreading the awful muddy mess that usually occurs between two colors that fight each other. Notice the green/orange transition...wonderful.

I don't think the center pull ball/crockpot method would work very well. The dye/color itself doesn't seem to leach/seep/wick very well, but your "normal" crockpot method should work just fine.

I only have a single box of Strawberry Banana on the shelf....sigh

I wanna paint a picture.

Jello on wool.


Sunday, December 09, 2007

Jello Is To Dye For

I just can't leave well enough alone.

I've been dyeing with Kool Aid and Kool Aid-like mixes for a long time now. Yes, I know gram for gram it's more expensive in the long run than all the other "legitimate" dyestuffs out there but I like Kool Aid. It's not cause I could/can in theory use any of my everyday pots, pans, and utensils, nor is it cuz I don't like the results of the other types. I've tried many of them. I like Kool Aid basically cuz it's handy. When the whim to dye something hits me, all I have to do is go to the nearest grocery store if I don't have the desired color on the pantry shelf. Placing an order for dye online then having to wait for it is a disaster. Patience isn't something I have an abundance of, thus the good fit of Kool Aid in my life.

The major problem I have with Kool Aid is, where I live it's considered a seasonal thing so the selection around this time of year dwindles....sigh....BUT there is always jello. :o)

MissVicki and ShoelessWonder are couple of really kool (snicker/groan) kids on Ravelry. MissVicki has been having great success at dyeing with pre-sweetened KA and ShoelessWonder is a chemistry wonder, so I figured the two of them would be perfect to bounce the jello dyeing off. With experience and knowledge behind them they came up with what our first experiment would be.

1/2 gal water
2 2/3 cup vinegar
tsp salt,
unsweetened Jello Red Raspberry (since MissVicki is down under, she's using their equivalent...Aero..or something like that)
70 grams of wool

The procedure we used was stove top big pot method. It was also decided to have two clear water rinse pots at the ready, simmering at the same temp as the dyepot, just in case the gelatin proved to be a problem.

I just completed my first trial dye job using Jello.

Points to be considered:
I had mixed water, vinegar, and salt in the pot then added the Jello. A clumpy skin formed and immediately sunk to the bottom. It was easy enough to break up the skin/clump but in my next experiment I'll add the Jello and then the vinegar. Not sure that is what the problem was, but I can't imagine it was the salt.

Even though the yarn or water did not feel the least bit slick like I was expecting when I removed it from the exhausted dyepot, I did follow procedure and used the two auxiliary rinse pots.

Here is a pic of the skein cooling further in a warm bath with a tad bit of Dawn.


Yep, it's bleeding a little. It's still too hot to handle much, so I don't know yet if it the dye has taken or I just wasted a bunch of time. :o)

While I was waiting for the first stove top big pot method to do it's hoped for magic, I also decided to try Jello in the microwave.

In a mixing bowl in the order listed:
5 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 pkg regular Jello Berry Blue
1 cup vinegar.
81 grams of wool
(no skin/clump this time)

I zapped it 3 times for 2 minutes, letting it rest 1.5 min in between.

Here is the zapped yarn still cooling



In the water/Dawn bath it did not bleed but the water did get milky. The sugar content??



And of being impatient as all get out, I also tried a modified sprinkle/zap method.

I soaked the yarn (104 grams) in 3 cups of hot water with 1 cup of vinegar. Then I sprinkled the jello powder on the skein. In each of two sections I sprinkled lemon and lime sugar-free jello. I liberally added the hot vinegar soaking water with a spoon when needed to help the color seep throughout the fibers. By the time I got to the 3rd section the yarn and the soaking water/vinegar were cold. The jello powder was beginning to gel in globs here and there.

See the gelled globs of orange?


I kneaded and worked as much of the globs I could and then rolled in all up in plastic wrap and zapped it.



I had to add a considerable amount of water to be able to smooch the color around enough so this plastic clad skein is pretty sloppy, and my fingers were pretty sticky when I was done rolling it up. Now sitting there still cooling it looks just fine.



The sprinkle/zapped skein is hanging with the others. I wonder if either, any, or all of them will be stiff tomorrow.



Left to right:
Lemon/Lime/Orange sugar-free sprinkle/smooch/zap method
Berry Blue regular (w/ sugar) zapped bath method
Red Raspberry sugar-free big pot stove top method

Tomorrow when all are dry and hopefully not stiff ;-) I'll try to get better pix of the colors. I definitely think Jello is a very good way to dye.

PS I tried Blackberry Fusion which I had hoped would be a deep red, if not a purple. When I poured it in the water it was a dingy, rusty, tea color. I didn't bother with it, I threw it down the drain. Perhaps it would have dyed a different color but I figured I had so many things against this going in my favor having an ugly color just didn't seem worth it.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Is This a Redundant Post?

Just in case the post in limbo never shows up I guess I'll try again........sigh

First things first, I gotta tell ya, you guys sure do know how to make a person smile. Dang. I'm really glad the whole Obama / Knitting thing was so well received. Believe it when I tell you, the smiles and giggles were sent back to me more than 10000-fold. Thank you.

It's going to take a while to get through all the comments and emails, and visit all the new-to-me blogs. Please know that you're comments/emails were and are greatly appreciated.

Now on to the fibery stuff. The post in limbo was a quasi tutorial of my latest attempt to dye a Noro-type color gradient. I'm not going to go through all that again, at least not at this point. I want to give Blogger some time to resurrect the post in limbo, but I will post a few pix of the experiment.

I began with this KnitPick naked WOA. I'm calling it "Naked WOA" cuz I bought this stuff eons ago before they started calling their natural fibers as "Bare".




This poor pathetic yarn had seen better days. Ummm, like the days before I began experimenting on it lol. As the victim of not one, or two, but three grossly unorthodox experiments in dyeing, this fiber has been through hell.

The first assault was in the form a dry wool half-ass dunk in a bath of nearly exhausted dye. Classic Colors blueberry.

The second atrocity was a sprinkle/zap method with (oops) pre-sweetened Kool Aid berry blue. I know it is possible to use sweetened KA, but it's not a good idea to do it in the sprinkle/zap method I was using at the time. The fear of the heady aroma of burnt sugar contributed to a less than stellar dye job. (For those of you on Ravelry, checkout the great results MissVicki is getting with dyeing with pre-sweetened KA in the group "What a Kool Way to Dye")

The third attack was just one day when I had inadvertently opened too many pkgs. of KA lime while I was preparing for something else. Rather than trying to store open KA pkg I randomly sprinkled it on this much abused yarn.

Throughout all that the yarn had tried it's damnedest to be pretty. It never quite got there. It has hung on my drying wall for well over a year, and while it has been considered several times for projects it just never made the grade. I decided to do something about yesterday.

I wound it up on my skeining frame and took another look at it.....sigh...it didn't look half bad this way.



I began to have second thoughts, but considering I had just spent an hour winding a 54-ish foot skein, I persevered.

I divided the huge skein into 4 approximately equal parts, and bundled it up for ease of handling during the dye application stage. I'll untie each section one at a time when I'm ready to dye.



I used the paint/wrap/smooch/zap method, using KA lemon lime, and berry blue twist and Schnook's brand of flavored drink mix cheery cherry and giggle n' grape.

Just out of the zapper and still cooling.




I think I'm in love.




I think something mitered or multi-directional is called for here, or perhaps something mosaic with this yarn and another solid. I'll play around a bit and let you know how it works out.

I need to expand my skeining frame, 54-ish feet isn't near big enough for what I want to do next.

Ack

This is a test. Problems on blogger.....last post is in limbo it seems.

Afterglow and Re-birth

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Yarn Harlot - ness

The Yarn Harlot ain't got nothing on me.

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOL...........hold on a sec, I've gotta catch my breath over that knee slapper...............sheesh, I try to lay some goods ones on ya sometimes don't I?

For those of you un-enlightened, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is the Harlot's real name. She is without a doubt a Knitting Rock Star. She writes . She knits, and then knits some more. She spins too. She can spearhead a donation drive for such worthy causes as Doctors Without Borders that surpasses all imagined goals. (Over $434,439.00 people!!!! I'm tellin ya the Woman is awesome!) She can whip the knitting community into a frenzy by merely dropping a stitch.....in short, she's a Goddess.

Aside from her incredible knitting skills, her impeccable taste in projects, and her deity status, her blog is a damn good read and makes me smile. Oh hell's fire she makes me laugh out loud most days. One of the many things she does that always gives me the giggles are her sock pictures. She travels with her sock and takes pictures. Her sock pix have tickled me to no end. (I tickle easily apparently)

Are you all now scratching your heads and wondering why the hell I'm blabbering on and on about the Yarn Harlot? I never blabber on about anyone, not even my kids (at least not much). I'm not the hero worship type. What gives with the Harlot accolades is what you're all thinking right? Well, something has been weighing on my mind for a while now and Harlot Mimicry is the only thing I can come up with as an excuse for my behavior.

A couple of weeks ago, I did something that I'm sure, now that I think about it, could have swiftly and without question landed me in the custody of the Secret Service and charged with some pretty serious federal offenses.

Here's the photographic evidence that exists.

BTW the really good pix were all taken by my brother....the others?...yeah those would be my photos. :-/

The stage is set. Note the placement of the stool, the guard ropes, and the picnic table. We were seated on the picnic table.



The venue begins to fill. .



Yep that is Joe and I sitting there....
of course you silly rabbit I'm knitting......

Huh, we (the Harlot and I) both have hair issues it seems.













He arrives.












Getting closer.....



Closer....











And what does your typical Harlot inspired knitter do when the next President of the United States of America speaks to her? Well, DUH!...she asks him to hold her knitting and take a picture.

Think about that a second.



I'll give you a close up of the actual encounter.



I'm talking to and touching a man who one day, could be, the most powerful man in the world and all I can say is, "Will you hold my knitting?" Oh that is wrong on so many levels I don't even want to consider them all. But it is kinda funny, so funny/strange/demented I guess, that he laughed and said, "Sure. Should I hold it like this?" took my knitting, reverently held it and smiled that incredible smile of his.

BTW my camera did this








The moment I realize my camera/skills screwed it all up.











How about another close up?
Wanna see real human anguish?




As he handed my knitting back to me (still laughing) he said we'd get some pictures after his speech.


I think I made his day.







There were no after the event shots of Obama and my knitting taken. It seems the Secret Service guys/gals stepped up their protection as they ushered him out after the speech, and as far away from my side of the stage as possible.



There's eight of them surrounding him in this shot. Do you see any of these folks in the arrival picture? See the woman half turned in my direction? Notice how she is between me and Obama at all times?


She's about my size. I could take her. LOLOLOLOLOLOL

Oh brother who am I kidding , and what craziness lurks in my brain!?!? Who in their right mind would even think about shoving a noose-like piece of circular knitting in bulky weight with # 15 needles poking out at a Presidential Candidate!?!

Many thanks to my brother Rick who was sitting across the stage from me, that's him, the cute fuzzy one. Without the photos from Rick's vantage point any proof of the Obama/CrazyLady knitting photo would not exist. Except of course those in the file the FBI now has on me.