Monday, February 26, 2007

One Eye Down

I finished the first Tiger Eye sock sometime last week. This was my first experience with a toe-up construction. It has been a learning experience. The second sock will benefit greatly.

Finished Tiger Eye
This is not even close to the correct color. Think very dark purple, almost black.

The heel called for a standard heel flap and gusset, which I really disliked, both in execution and looks. So I ripped it out and knit a short row heel (based on Priscella's Dreams Socks in an old Interweave Knits and now in IK's Favorite Socks). I pretty much had to hope they would fit because once I turned the heel, I couldn't get the sock on, though I suppose I could have threaded it onto some waste yarn. Once I had knit the specified 5.5" of the leg I cast off using the chrocheted picot cast off. It took several attempts, most of an afternoon and a great deal of foul language, but it was very pretty. Except it was so tight, I couldn't get it over my toes. So I ripped the crochet out. Len suggested I put it away for a few days. He was maybe a little afraid.

That evening,
I decided to use the ribbing that goes up the back of the sock all the way around and cast off normally. That was fine, but I decided the leg was too short. So I ripped out the cast off, once again, and added another repeat. While I was knitting the extra repeat, it occurred to me that I may have seen a knitted picot cast off. So I dragged out my trusty Vogue Knitting and there it was. A knitted picot cast off. It took a couple of attempts, but I am very pleased with the results.

Queer Joe once wrote that knitting doesn't take patience, it takes tenacity. This sock is proof.

Oscar Night

I have an unnatural love for the Academy Awards. It would a more natural love if I actually saw most of the nominated movies. But rare are the years that I see even one of them. Len sometimes imagines that I had a Life before him, that I went to movies and he has made me very boring. It is so very untrue. I never went to movies before him, I rarely even rented them. For good or ill, we are well suited.

But, I do love the Oscars, the dresses, the pomp, the pompous. The ceremony is annoying, funny, stupid and it really hasn't been the same since Cher quit showing up in her Bob Mackie finery. This year I had decided that I wouldn't watch, but I got sucked in anyway. This morning it dawned on me: I don't watch for the glamour, the awards, the movies, or even the really bad dresses. I watch because the show reminds me of someone who used to be my best friend. The last vestige of an old friendship. I imagine that he is watching, too, and wishes he could call me and say, "Can you believe that costume Cher is wearing? What is she thinking!?"

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Weaving on the Inkle Loom

I finally figured out how to weave the brocade pick up on the inkle loom (or least the method I'm using seems to produce the most reasonable effect). Essentially, the main weft (teal) and the pattern weft (white) go through the same shed:
See? A cute little flower! My hope is that once the piece is cut off and washed, it will not be so elongated. My plan now is to weave a whole lot of bookmarks. There is a bunch of Procion MX dye on the way to my house, so the bookmarks will not be all teal and white; they will be teal and Something Else. I'm planning for the weaving to go quickly (hahahaha!!) because I have wire. And a plan.

Also, it seems that I have extended myself rather far into Knitting for Other People. My sister, Sarah seems to be expecting that bath mat rather sooner than later, especially now that I have the yarn. Len's father is expecting a hat. Len's sister is expecting/hoping for hats for her twins. My other sister, Krista, is hoping very much for a new scarf (and as much as I hate knitting those things, I really don't like the first one I knit for her). Who else? My intention has been to be a selfish knitter. It isn't working!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Actual Knitting Progress

It's been awhile since I posted anything about knitting (ah, January 31st. I've finished that sock and will tell the sordid details in a future post -- I'm still recovering). I also have only four more rows on the last chart of Icarus to go. Once I finish this shawl, I've promised myself a trip to Yarn Heaven (otherwise known as Threadbear). And I have been making progress on Len's hat:

Len's Hat

For the moment it is just a tall, skinny tube. In about an inch I will start trying to figure out the decreases. I will, maybe, write down what I do, so that the next time I won't have to try to figure it out again. That would be the intelligent thing to do.

Lazy Sunday

Lazy Sunday

Gwen and Judy

Thursday, February 15, 2007

More Penny Dye

A year ago (to the day, it turns out), I posted about penny dyeing. The recipe I was following said that the color would be different depending on the water used. Len (he has some interest in chemistry and has only used that interest for nefarious purposes) and I decided to put that statement to the test:
Penny Dyes
From left to right: Distilled water, water from my Dad and Stepmother's house (they have some really sulpherous water, and our own unsoftened water. I started the dye less than a week ago, so we have some time to go.
You might wonder why we are using the pre-1982 pennies rather than the more easily obtained copper pipe. Good question! I don't have an answer. Just seemed like cheating, somehow. Now that we have about 300 pennies for this job, I don't think we need more, but it is hard not to go through every handful of change looking for old pennies. What can I say? I am a nerd.

I Didn't Mean to Miss Valentine's Day

...but I did. I was in the process of writing a post yesterday, from my not-very-snowed-in house, but I was kicked off the internet and I didn't particularly want to fight with the connection. Now that we pay for it, our connection has gotten a lot better -- the university used to provide dial-up service to students, faculty and staff for free, but now that dial-up is going the way of 8-track technology no one wants it anymore and the U doesn't provide it anymore. We live in the country so our choices are extremely expensive satellite, some sort of radio signal do-hickey (also expensive) and dial-up. We're too cheap to pay very much for internet, especially since Len only uses it to buy records and I don't use the computer at home. It turns out the service you pay for has made it into the standard cassette tape era and isn't so bad. Except when it kicks me off.

Don't you love it when you have to put up with a long, completely pointless aside?

What I had intended to say, yesterday, before I was so rudely disconnected, was that I am not a Valentine's Day fan. I'm sure that comes as a big shock. I spent way too many years not-very-happily single to find much meaning in the Hallmark presentation of romance. To the contrary, I found the pressure to coupledom quite hurtful. Now, I just find the All Women Want Chocolate/Diamonds/Flowers/Stuffed Bears called The Love Bandit offensive. The most romantic gift I've ever gotten was an atlas from Len during our first year together, I had mentioned in passing that I would like to have one and was blown away that he remembered. Last weekend he spent several hours out in the freezing cold, replacing the alternator in my car so I wouldn't have to take it to the dealership. That's the stuff of Love.

Here are a couple of my favorite quotes on love:

"Love is not a game
Love is not a toy
Love's no romance"
--From "Congratulations"
Paul Simon

And this is from a piece I heard many years ago on NPR, it was a conversation between Matthew Broderick and the playwright, Wendy Wasserstein. They were talking about broken hearts and Wasserstein said this at the end:

"I do find the thought that two people can fall in love really humane. I remember, when I was writing The Sisters Rosensweig, that was my thought that here was this woman who was all closed up, and someone comes into her life and that she- It just seemed terrible human-"

It struck me as such a lovely thought, that love is both humane and human. Unfortunately, NPR doesn't have this archived.

And on a completely different topic: George Clooney has sent me an e-mail offering me a "lucrative part time job"! Yes, I'm very excited too. It seems "the job takes less than 5 hours a week and it a mean by which you can increase your weekly income by about $500 weekly". So if you don't hear from me for a while, that's where I'll be. Swooning at George's feet. With a Love Bandit.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Pick Up Attempts

No no. Not men (I never was any good at that), weaving pick-up. And, it turns out, I'm not much good at that either.

I dragged out my inkle loom again, after many, many months of languishing. I put the warp on during last year's Oscars, so it hasn't been quite a year. Almost immediately, I discovered a warping mishap: I think one warp thread followed the wrong path (here is a picture of a correct warp), it wasn't obvious until I started having a hard time advancing. So I had to cut it off. Darn.
So I decided to start playing around with the brocade pick-up technique.

Pick-Up Attempts

I'm working with cotton yarns, the teal is a 10/2 mill end. It gets fuzzy and sticks to itself. The white in the warp is another mill end labeled 12/3 and it's a little thicker than the teal. In my first pick-up attempt, I used a single strand of the white. It looks stupid. I re-read Bress' instructions; she says to use a thicker, "fluffier" yarn for the pattern weft. So the top bit is some other, unlabeled cotton. It looks a little better, but still not what I'm after. Experiments will continue tonight.

I'm dealing with other deficiencies as well (aside from deficiency of experience or knowledge). I have only one shuttle and someone chewed on it.

Gnawed End

A few days ago I listened to the Inklings episode of WeaveCast. Robyn Spady mentioned weaving with 30 gauge wire. Now I want to rip this warp off and put wire on. My head is spinning: what about beads? what about pick-up? maybe I could take a soldering iron to the thing after weaving and create other textures. Maybe I should actually learn how to use my inkle loom before I start putting strange new warps on?


B&W Waves

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Molly Ivins

Molly Ivins died yesterday. She was funny, biting, with a healthy dose of righteous anger and an amazing amount of optimism. Read her archive. You'll understand.