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31 July, 2008 at 2:33 pm (knitting)

My brain goes into melt-mode at 32C/90F and it’s currently 34C/93F. I realize that to those of you experiencing 38/100+ degree temperatures my weather forecast seems downright chilly, but I am a delicate flower and have no air conditioning to get me through.

Despite the heat, I’m still knitting away on my sweater, which currently looks ridiculous because I’ve only just started the armhole shaping on the back.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this yet, but I love, love love the feel of this yarn. It’s decently soft to work with, but doesn’t snag or stick to my hands like some other *coughMalabrigocough* soft yarns I could mention. And when it’s been washed in blooms and softens delightfully—not enough to mess with my gauge, but enough to turn into a smooth, drapey, cohesive fabric, perfect for a light layering cardigan.

However. I’m beginning to understand why this yarn was discontinued. I understand that skeins will have knots in them sometimes. Yarn breaks, I get that. I don’t mind. I do mind a little when there are 2+ breaks or knots in all seven skeins that I’ve opened so far. I mind a lot when I open a skein and start knitting and the yarn shreds in my hands. It’s one of those chained tube i-cord-esque yarns, and just like with i-cord, if one loop comes unattached…

The whole thing unravels faster than you can say “holy quality control issues, batman!”

I’m kind of undecided on whether or not to email the company. On the one hand, the yarn’s already discontinued and I got it through trade, so it’s not like I really need my money back or anything. On the other, perhaps they’d want to know about these kinds of quality control issues? Maybe I’ll finish the cardigan up and see how the yarn fares after some wear.

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Learning curve

29 July, 2008 at 10:45 am (spinning)

So my dear tsocktsarina learned to spin on a drop spindle at about the same time (actually a little bit after) I did, and took to it like a fish to water, prompting all sorts of jealousy from me and my super ridiculous beginner yarn. She then struggled for like two seconds on her wheel before going straight back to perfection, damn her. But I decided that I could totally do better than that tsilly tsarina. I could make the transition from spindle to wheel totally effortlessly, and spin super awesome yarn on my first go.

WRONG!
030290708learningcurve
Lumpy bumpy super ridiculous beginner yarn. Oh well. I guess it’s a good thing that I enjoy the learning process.

But wait, you say! When did Jesh get a wheel? Well, I visited my dear friend Pixisis this weekend, and in the process of all the cleaning we never did quite get to, it was noted that she had two wheels sitting all alone and unused in her basement. So, I am borrowing one for the time being, and loving it up a bit to keep it in working condition. It’s an Ashford Traditional, good for beginners, probably won’t be my first choice when I buy my own wheel because I prefer the look of castle style wheels, but I can learn on it just fine. The poor thing needs the love, though—I spent two hours yesterday feeding the pale, dried out wood back to a warm glowy shine with a whole lot of tung oil (my hands are still a little sticky). Here’s the whole thing, along with most of the yarn that I yoinked from Pixisis’ free to a good home destash:

(And before you lament for her, giving away so much yarn like that, she still has, among other things, 133 gallons of EL silky wool, 25 gallons of Artyarns, 19 gallons of Malabrigo, and untold amounts of sock yarn.)

So now I’ve got quite a few things to keep me busy: practicing on the wheel, working on my KH cardigan, that pair of socks that I need to finish, preparing for the Ravelympics, and of course, I need to go through and photograph all of my new yarn for my Ravelry stash. That may take me a while.

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Two of a kind

25 July, 2008 at 7:33 am (caturday, knitting)

My mum freaked me out yesterday when I showed her my sweater sleeves by asking why the cables were crossed wrong on the one I was working on.

After I got over my mild heart attack I explained to her how the cables on the left side of the cardigan are mirrored versions of the ones on the right to create a truly symmetrical piece. It’s actually one of the things that originally caught my eye about the pattern—I always feel that patterns in which all the rope cables cross the same way are somehow off-balance. This kind of attention to the small details is what makes a sweater go from “oh, how pretty!” to “wow, that’s gorgeous“.

I won’t be around much this weekend; Pixisis is picking me up this evening and we’re gonna spend a couple of days cleaning her place and organizing her stash. Have some early Caturday:


(Ovaltine is not ‘raptor food, kitten. Nice try though.)

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I’m a big fat cheater

22 July, 2008 at 7:54 am (knitting)

I entered into this game, called the Ravelympics, which you may or may not have heard of. I think I’ve mentioned it once or twice. And I was going to do a lovely lace cardigan, which I also mentioned once or twice. The problem is, after I swatched for said cardigan I was all of a sudden desperate to start knitting said cardigan.

Curtailing that impulse lasted all of five days.

kysarinsleeve

Maybe I should be glad though–I knit the entire first sleeve in 36 hours and if I keep up that pace finishing in two weeks is going to be a no-brainer. So I guess I need another challenge for the Ravelympics.

One thing I want to say about the sleeve; see the nice edge on the sleeve cap, up there? No? Have a closer look:
sleevecap
(Yes, yes, it needs to be blocked. I just bound off and ran to share it with you, leave me alone.)

I’m well aware that you’re not supposed to be able to shape sleeve caps using short rows. (That’s not true. I had no idea until I asked on Plurk and a helpful friend gave me this link.) But, well, I hate seaming and I really, really hate stepped bind-offs and messy edges that make things ten times harder to seam, and you really can’t tell me that I shouldn’t do something and then expect me to actually listen.

Lo! and, behold! I worked the short rows as normal (if the instructions said ‘bind off four at the end of the next row’ I simply knit to the last four stitches, then wrapped the nearest of those and turned to continue back), and when it came time to incorporate all those held stitches back in for the bind-off, rather than knitting the wraps together with their respective stitches, I picked them up and worked them on their own to fill in the gaps and prevent the bind-off from pulling the sleeve cap into a cupped shape. A firm bind off (the standard k2, past second stitch over first bind-off) helps to prevent any floppiness from the extra stitches. This trick is way handy and I think will definitely improve both the ease of assembling the cardigan as well as the final look. I’m so pleased.

Now if I can just remember what I did well enough to mirror it on the second sleeve.

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Little Red Riding Bag

19 July, 2008 at 11:58 am (caturday, crochet!?, FO)

This is all Cristi’s fault. She posted a third version of her lovely crocheted market bag, I said that I wanted to make one but was suffering from an all wool stash, when the pattern calls for cotton.

So she says, why not just make one in wool then?

DURR.

redmarketbag

I made it a bit wider and shorter than the pattern, and shortened the handles a fair bit, which I’m glad I did because I managed the whole thing in one skein of Cascade 220, with this much yarn left over:

And it’ll be a perfect gift to my mum so she can haul her library books around.

Pattern: Cristi’s crochet market bag. I’m too lazy to find a link—check Ravelry or her blog linked above.
Yarn: Cascade 220, one skein.
Hook: 6mm/J, which is still the only crochet hook I own. I should amend that.
Rav page over this way.

The cats are SO unimpressed with my crochet skillz, although they both gave the bag a good sniffing/scent marking. Kitty is currently too busy pretending that she’s in a tropical paradise to care about anything, though.
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(Some quick administrivia: I can now be found on Plurk, and I’m putting more stuff in my etsy store today, including some origami star stitch markers.)

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What have I gotten myself into?

16 July, 2008 at 10:55 am (knitting)

So there’s this thing going on next month, you might’ve heard of it. The Ravelympics? There’s teams and events and the trials involve swatching and—well okay, if you don’t know how this game is played by now I want to know what rock you’re living under.

I joined. I wasn’t going to, because I didn’t have an appropriately challenging upcoming project, but I was dragged right on in and now here I am, sweater sprinting for team cellular peptide cake (and I have no idea what the team name is about, either, but I was dragged into that too). So, I am forced (forced, I tell you!) to cast aside all of my plans for what to knit next for a Katharine Hepburn Cardigan. I’m fairly certain I don’t have enough yarn for the full length version, but the cropped should suit me just fine. And I’m starting with the sleeves, just in case!

cardiganswatch

The first part of the trials (swatching) went well; just look at that lovely stitch definition!

The second part is proving to be a bit more problematic.

sweatermath

Those of you who have been reading a while may be aware that I’m a bit of a maths geek. Okay, I’m a really huge maths geek. I love maths and numbers and formulas and differentials and. You get the point. But I hate, abhor, loathe with the burning of a thousand suns, gauge math. I mean, I can sit down and work out the ratios and the multiplications and divisions just fine (and without a calculator, thank you), but there’s so much imprecise-ness to it. My swatch gains a quarter of a stitch per inch if I breathe on it! Can I really round this to the thousandth place or is that .0005 going to come back and bite me later? What if I’m super tense on the day I cast on and knit tighter and EVERYTHING IS RUINED!?

I think I’ve finally got it figured out though. Now I just have to wait three weeks before I can find out.

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What’s all this, then?

14 July, 2008 at 5:59 am (crochet!?)

Way, way back when I first started knitting, I also tried a bit of crocheting, since at that point I wasn’t too clear on the difference between the two. Turns out the difference was that knitting clicked for me, and crocheting did not. So I put down the hook and picked up the needles and all was well.

Except I had to look up some crochet instructions the other day (for purposes that will remain secret until later in the week) and all of a sudden got the urge.

The urge for granny squares.
granghan10

I meant to post about said squares early yesterday; problem is, they go so quickly that I took a picture of the first one, and before I could even get it uploaded, I had four more. So I took a picture of those, but before I could get this post written, another two had shown up. And then another. And now I have ten eleven.

Of course, by my reckoning, I’ll need 100 6″x6″ squares if I want a 5’x5′ blanket. So… I’d better get to it. And I’d better scrounge up some more sock yarn scraps.

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Get a clue

9 July, 2008 at 9:18 pm (knitting, spinning)

So the fourth clue for the anniversary mystery shawl was released last week, with four chart choices.

I hate all of them. Well, maybe hate is a strong word. None of them cater to my tastes of curvy, organic lines and lots of negative space, which were the options I chose for the rest of the clues.

clue3d

What, oh what, is a mystery shawl along-er to do? I guess I’ll see what the edging option looks like. I could edge it at the size it is now and have a small teacloth, which might be nice.

I ran out of yarn on my handspun socks—couldn’t even finish the second sock’s gusset. So I’m spinning some more.

Speaking of, want to see me in action?


(My flashblocker is still not playing nice with the embedded videos. If that’s the case for you, too, you can watch it here.)

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Five things

7 July, 2008 at 4:45 pm (life, spinning)

1. Detangling yarn is really relaxing for me.

2. Spinning super fine cobweb singles on a .9 oz spindle? Less relaxing. I’ve got to get a lighter spindle.

3. I cleaned my room (!!) yesterday and discovered that I own five pairs of black leather shoes.

4. Have decided to start up project 365 again. I hope I can last longer than a week and a half, this time.

5. Say hello to ceiling cat.

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Happy fourth!

4 July, 2008 at 11:52 am (caturday, knitting, spinning)

I’m celebrating by, surprise surprise, spinning and knitting.

I wanted to see how fine I could manage to spin, so I took some of the leftover BFL and rather surprised myself with the answer.

I’m also trucking along on the mystery shawl, and I hope to finish the third clue today.
clue2b
This only shows the end of #2, though, since the thing is too big to get good photographs of while it’s still on the needles. Once I finish this clue I’ll transfer some stitches and pin it out to get a good look.

The cats? Napping. (and fighting. Kitty and Velocity are not too thrilled at having the foster kitties here.)
020708napraptor

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