Tuesday, July 25, 2006

How's that?

Your Brain's Pattern
Your mind is a creative hotbed of artistic talent.
You're always making pictures in your mind, especially when you're bored.
You are easily inspired to think colorful, interesting thoughts.
And although it may be hard to express these thoughts, it won't always be.
What Pattern Is Your Brain?

Now we know!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Not Original

I wish I could type my blog posts in sparkly, metallic gel pen ink that I normally use when writing. I have a slight addiction to gel pens and faciful inks.....This is not my orignal post. Blogger ate my original post. I had even copied it to a notepad because this frequently happens, and I had just closed my notepad since it gave me the ok after publishing, but in reality the internet gremlins ate my post and it wasn't published at all.

Thanks to you all for your wonderful encouragement on the articles. The first one is pretty much done with the pictures taken and inserted into the appropriate places. The second one still needs photos. I am still in the midst of the Top Secret Project, with many deadlines looming on the horizon. Major deadlines. $500 worth of deadlines, in fact. Wow. Is it the big time, if I had to pay my way in. 40 days remaining until the Top Secret Project is live for the world to love. I hope we make it in time....I'm sure we will.

I did change some post settings on the blog, because I have a spammer who keeps coming in and posting stupid messages (that repeat no less) to every single post on the blog. Why? I don't know. I'm not that very important, and this blog isn't the most travelled on the net. So instead of making you type in those fiddly little security codes (the ones that are image based so the creepy, crawly spammers can't do it automatically), the posts are moderated. I'll approve most anything all you wonderful readers have to say. Provided it's not a stupid spam message ;)

That's Miss E above. I was trying to take the girlies' pictures the other day because they had on coordinating outfits, but it was not meant to be. Right there, she's slipping off the couch to go run around and not stay still enough for the photo....but I really like the picture. It looks whimsical and innocent. When you're two, the world just seems so much nicer.

Jaywalkers are the current project. This is them about a week ago. Right now. I'm through the heel turn and about two inches away from starting the toe decreases. I'm just too lazy to retake another picture at the moment. They're knit on size 0 KnitPicks circs, with their elastic sock yarn that I got on mega good sale (and that looks nothing like the colors shown on my monitor.) Oh, well. At least they'll be nice and thick for fall. Please tell me what on earth possessed me to buy size 0s? Two of them to boot. I've acknowledged my insanity and have dual pairs of size two on their way to me now.

And this picture is of the next sock yarn on my list of things to do. It's sparkly Fortissima Colori Disco. It's got a very small metallic thread plied into it. I can't wait to see how it knits up....on my new size 2s.

Off to pursue dyeing up 72 of 80 skeins for the Top Secret Project.....

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I did it

I wrote to Amy (editor of Knitty.com) to ask how I should submit my articles. I didn't even submit them. Why do I have that funny fluttery feeling in my stomach?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Purple Fire: a lesson in funky plying

Purple Fire is fresh off the wheel. It's spun from hand painted, domestic wool roving (I painted it in the colors of Lilacs) that I then handcarded mixing some of it with sparkle fiber. The single itself was spun worsted weight with slight thick n thin variation. There are some sections of flame, but they're not extreme. Then I plied it with a thick, rayon thread. The kind that Cascade sells as a carry along, but it's a different brand that I can't recall at the moment. I got it on closeout a couple of months ago.

The skein is a lesson in plying. In fact, I'm in the process of writing two articles on plying, and the art skein photos will detail the funky plying instructions. The plan now is to submit them both to Knitty as a kind of mini series on the subject. This venture was originally conceived as one article featuring both regular and funky plying, but I soon exceeded capacity. The regular plying article alone sits at 6 single spaced, 8.5" by 11" pages. Yeah....I might have to trim it down a bit. I'm contemplating emailing Amy for a bit more guidance concerning article submission, but I don't want to be pest. Insecurity, indecision....I'm not sure what the best course of action is. The article is good - it's what I wanted to know when I first started plying compiled: how to photos and step by step instructions, the finer points of plying, determining the amount of twist, setting the twist and troubleshooting when things don't go as planned. Of course I compiled the info and wrote it, so my opinion of it's worth is definitely biased.

Back to the yarn. It's got: 3 different plying techniques, knots, beehives, super coils, and faux boucle going on for it. Firmly in the worsted category at 124 yards and 3.5 ounces. I wouldn't want to be bored spinning it, now would I? The funky ply article covers everything except the beehives and the super coils. But there's a current article at Knitty about that.

I don't know what it will be yet. Right now, the satisfaction and the art are in it's creation. It's actually extremely beautiful to look at and hold - art yarn is a tactile medium and is better when held. I've jokingly told my husband that I need large glass bowls and containers to display my yarn in; cheap and seasonal decoration. I haven't done it yet, because of the twin two year olds, but don't think I wouldn't but for the practical considerations.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Nickel Plated Satisfaction

I admit it. I am one of those people. One of those people who heard about the the new KnitPicks needles, hurried off as fast as they could and bought some. Twin 24" circs, size 0: for socks. I've had this thing about sock needles for a long time. I love working with bamboo DPNs on socks - they develop a nice patina. Perfect for knitting along without drags or snags. However, I hate, hate, hate the fact that they are so easily broken. I've broken several bamboo DPNs mid project by accident. Not even a mostly dramatic or semi-horrific accident induced by twin two year olds or a curious cat. No, more like an inch of my bamboo DPN was sticking out of my bag as I walked out the door. Apparently, I was a bit too close and broke that baby clean in two without even noticing the bump. That of course led to 1/3 of my sock stitches unraveling themselves in the course of the car ride to whatever ill-fated place I was going.

Everyone told me I would love magic loop. But I hate magic loop. It changes my gauge and takes me forever for some reason. That and I have this thing for Addi Turbos - who doesn't? They're the hot celebrity with the sleek body and all the moves of my knitting universe. I can't handle any kind of other circular needle. Bamboo is too slow in a circ, for me. The other metal ones have crappy cables and the metal is too heavy. I like Inox Express, but they just don't compare to the Addis. The thing is, I've been hesitant to try out doing socks on Addis because it means a $40 investment for each size that I'd like. Yikes. I do knit. I do a lot of knitting, but dropping $40 at a sitting for socks is enough to ward me off. I have a yarn budget, and I'd like to spend more of it on yarn and not needles. Since most of my projects are knit firmly in the worsted category, the smaller needles would be mainly used for sock knitting.

Enter, KnitPicks Needles. I am 3 1/2" into my Jaywalkers on size 0 needles. These babies are a dream to work with. The tips are perfectly pointy. I am sliding my way through the KFB and double decreases like they were nothing special. Like I didn't realize that on any other needle that wasn't so perfectly pointy I would be pulling my hair out and struggling. I do admit to a few surprise pokes when I start paying attention to what Mr. N is doing on the computer, instead of the knitting, but I can hardly call that the fault of the needle. I am not a needle pusher for the most part. If you are in the habit of pushing your needle after every stitch - grab a bandaid - these points will get you.

The cables on these needles are a dream. They're thinner and more flexible than my Addis. In fact, it's taking a bit of getting used to, and I'm having to pull the cable through the stitches instead of being able to push the stitches along the cable to the end of the needle. But it's worth it. The cord has no memory - even in the 90+ Iowa heat and extremely high humidity. Nor does it have any drag. The stitches just keep slipping on by fast as I can form them.

But that's not the extent of my new KnitPicks needle mania. Even before my twin circs arrived, I hurried off and ordered the Options package. I had a set of Denise needles at the time, but they were very underutilized simply because they were slow. The needles were slow and the cords were big compared to the Addis. I mainly used the larger needles for felting projects, because I could form the stitches loosely enough that the extra drag wasn't as much of an issue. But other than that they sat on my shelf waiting for me to find a use for them. They now have a new home with a happy college student who was just in the market for such a set. The Options package arrived three days before I anticipated it and well under the projected two week shipping time posted at the site. The binder that it comes in is classy and expandable. You can configure it however you want. You even get a few extra spots for accessories yet to be purchased. There have been some complaints that the needles aren't marked. This really wasn't an issue for me. Most of my Addis are unmarked and I have a system to compensate for it. I simply used a gel pen to mark the sizes on the outside of the plastic sleeve in the binder. If perchance I happen to forget what size I selected for a project, I do have a needle sizer that I can use to easily find out. The Options needles are equally as nice as the circs.

I was a little surprised that the Options pack comes with fewer tools than the Denise pack. There are fewer cables, and not as many needle sizes. Of course, had I slowed down long enough to read this before I hit the purchase button, I would have anticipated this before they came. No worries, though. With the low prices on the optional accessories, I'm sure I'll be able to get my Options package to where I want it to be. At the moment, I'm not even using them, so it shouldn't be an issue. I do love the fact that it's easy to buy multiple needle tips of the same size. Now I can have as many size 7 & 8s as I want and not feel guilty.

If you've been waiting to try out these needles, stop waiting. Go out and get yourself some. You won't be disappointed. Really.