Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Dye-O-Rama Updates

You absolutely have to go see Ruth's blog..... I can't tell you just how happy it makes me to see the socks she knit with the wool I dyed for her! Be sure to click on the picture for the larger version, and don't forget to check out the outrageous hats as well. Oh - and she's selling some of her luscious hand-spun now, too.

Yesterday was the day for the prize drawing for DOR participants. There were 40 (!!) prizes, so I figured my chances were pretty decent for landing something - and I was right! I scrolled slowly down the pretty prize page, and cheered when I came to my name. I won one of the Wool2Dye4 $50 gift certificates! How excellent is that? I'm debating what to spend it on; thinking probably some more of the Kona Fingering Superwash. Ah, decisions...

Monday, July 17, 2006

Needle Review - KnitPicks' DPNs

One of the recent hot topics on Socknitters' has been KnitPicks Options Knitting Needles. In addition to these well-received interchangeable circulars, KP also introduced 6" metal dpns. Oddly enough, I haven't seen any talk of the dpns on Socknitters'... so I decided to order a set and give them a try. At a very modest $3.99 for a set of 5, I figured it was practically my duty to sock knitters everywhere to review these new needles.

Despite concern over backorder and lag time issues, my needles (ordered on a Thursday) arrived last Monday. My first impression was a twinge of disappointment that the package didn't state the needle size. Turns out that it does - on the UPC sticker. The packaging is, well, cheap, but that's fine with me. I don't want to pay extra for fancy packaging that in all likelihood I'll throw away, as I tend to keep my dpns in a case by size.

The six-inch-long needles are pretty, shiny nickle-plated and feel substantial compared to my usual bamboo needles. The points are perfect with a taper measuring just under half an inch ending in sharp tips. The size 1 is a 2.5mm, though, which is often classified as a US size 1.5.

I immediately started using the KP needles in my current sock (in Wool2Dye4 Supersock) but gave it up after a few rounds - they were just too slippery. Also tried with Regia and Paton's Kroy with the same results. Not to be daunted, I dug into my stash and found some Sockotta. Perfect! The cotton content which would make knitting with bamboo less than fun makes using these needles just right.

I seem to be knitting rather tightly, but am quite pleased with the resulting fabric. An odd thing, though, is that I did notice while working the short-row heel - my tension is much looser on the purl rows. Not unacceptably so, however, just a thing for me to keep in mind with the next socks....I may want to knit a flap and gusset instead of short row.

The only thing I would change about these needles is the length - I much prefer using 5" dpns. Otherwise, they're pretty terrific!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Watermelon ......

See, aren't they nifty??

Sunday, July 09, 2006

A Hard Day at the Office

Whew! I'm tard. Just finished a five (+) hour stint at the torch, and that's after two two-hour sessions earlier today. One reason I wanted to get a lot of melting time in is that the weather forcast calls for warmer weather over the next few days. Sitting near a kiln set at nearly 1000 degrees, and in front of a torch whose flame reaches over 1500 degrees makes for more warmth than I can handle when the temperature goes up.

Been working on some cool bead sets, too. I dusted off my Zoozii triangle press and made some nifty watermelon slices. Those took extra patience, 'cuz I used opaline glass which boils quite easily, so it need to be worked slowly. Also still working on prototype disc beads for a special order, and even playing with some ruffled discs. I should have plenty to list on JustBeads tomorrow!

Good night, Mother.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Things That Make Me Happy

Having a big, strong man as across-the-road neighbor. Jason loosened the O2 tank cap - thanks man!

Things That Irritate Me

I hate when I can't get the cap off the oxygen tank! Especially when, like today, I'm smack in the middle of a creative streak at the torch. dang. I'm bummed.

Caution: Cute Cat Ahead

Zachary Cat, my Feline-American companion. He's such a hep cat. Almost three years ago Jane and Bry rescued him from a shelter. He was a tiny, sickly kitten who required meds and special feeding. Zach came to live with me before Christmas 2003, and has been my steadfast friend ever since.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

A Rainbow of Flavors

Sheila (of Wool2Dye4) recently added Kona 2-ply fingering superwash to her line, so of course I had to give it a whirl. I was impressed with it right away, so nice and soft, and with that lovely sheepy scent, too! I dyed it in the good ol' ROY G BIV tradition using my acid dyes, and really impressed myself with the results. I wound off an ounce to test-drive, and managed not only an anklet, but also the fair isle section of another sock.

Sorry for the crappy pics, but I wanted to get them snapped for tonight. The black yarn is KnitPick's Essential sock yarn. I've had a couple of skeins for ages, but this is the first I've knit with it. It makes a nice fabric, but I'll reserve judgement until I've worn and washed it a couple of times.

The fair isle pattern is just one I made up. I was shooting for something simple enough to let the yarn be the star. I kinda think the diamonds look too busy, but the arrow thingies turned out very nice. Also, the arrow pattern doesn't show the beginning-of-the-round jog as glaringly as does the diamond pattern.

The color is represented best (although still not quite right) in the detail pic. Be sure to click to see a larger view.

In other news, Sister Jane finally made the switch to a more traditional blog format. She's just now entering her fourth year as a breeder of Labradoodles, and has built up quite a following with her Doodle Diaries. I'm looking forward to reading comments from her loyal readers.

Oh how fun - there's a lightning bug in the house! I think I'll turn out all the lights and watch the show. Yeah, so I'm easily amused. Wanna make something of it?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Mowing Meditation

See, I told you I'd be talking about mowing my grass. Lawn maintenance is still relatively new to me. After apartment living in California, and having a yard full of rocks (on purpose) in Arizona, I had to get used to needing to mow. I remember back when I was a kid, using the riding mower was fun, in a sort of Tom Sawyer whitewashing the fence kinda way. Apparently that joy didn't carry over into adulthood.

Anyway, following the mower around the yard gives me lots of time to think. Today I worked out how I'll be assembling my KSKS pal's bag, decided I need new hiking boots, realized I need to trim my toenails, and pondered other vital issues. Maybe next week I'll spend my mowing time thinking up better blog fodder.

Program Crash

*sigh* I had a really great post almost all finished, when Netscape screwed me and crashed. True, the post relied heavily on adorable cat pictures, but this is a knitting blog - what did you expect?

Stay tuned tomorrow when I try again.

Monday, July 03, 2006

August Birthday Swap Stuff

Q What day is your birthday?

the 31st ... barely made it!

Q Are you crafty?

yes, indeed I am!

Q Would you enjoy things like: Buttons, ribbons and embellishments?

sounds like fun - yes!

Q Do you dye your own wool?

I do

Q Do you like to scrapbook or make homemade cards?

I've done a bit of cardmaking, but it's not at the top of my list.

Q What small project would you be interested in making? Socks, mittens, scarf, hat, baby items, wash cloths, doilies, shrugs etc

socks. I'm so predictable

Q What are your favorite scents?

I like light floral scents, and the smell of baking chocolate chip cookies.

Q Do you like stationary and cards?

like 'em, don't use 'em though.

Q Do you like hand lotions or soaps?


Q Do you like to sew or embroider items?

sewing - yes ..... embroidering - not so much

Q Do you like beads?

heh. yes

Q What kind of mail-able snacks do you like to eat?


Q Do you like to wear costume jewelry? Necklace, earrings, bracelets etc.

like it, collect it, don't wear it.

Q Do you like to play cards or board games?


Q What are your favorite colors of yarn?

green, purple, yellow, pink, orange

Q Do you like solid, variegated, heathers, or self stripping yarns?

yes. not so much with the heathers, but the other three I do like using. for socks.

Q Do you like kitchen magnets or key rings?

hmmm, don't have strong feelings about them. I have enough key rings, but my fridge is nearly nekkid.

Q Do you like picture frames?


Q Do you like to make/or use stitch markers?

I don't often use them, but I do like making them.

Q Do you collect anything?

dust. (I crack me up.)
I like Rosie the Riveter and old rhinestone brooches and old hankies and old tea towels.

Q Do you have any allergies? Smoke, food, fiber, pets, etc..


Q Do you have any hobbies?

knitting. (again with the cracking up here) also I read a lot, mow my grass, and work with hot glass. I do some jewelry-making as well.

Q Do you like scented or unscented candles?


Q Are you a fiber snob?

yep, 'fraid so.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

21 Days

Seems I've read somewhere that if you want to establish a habit, perform the task for 21 days, and then it'll be second nature. Or something like that. So... that's what I'm going to do. For the next three weeks I will post a daily update here, about knitting and making (and selling) beads, and about mowing my grass. You know, the important stuff.

Update on Teri's corner of KnitBlog SwapLand: Lots going on here. First and foremost, many many thanks to Ruth of Wooly Wormhead fame. She was my pal for the Dye-O-Rama swap. In fact, we were pals both ways! Ruth designs and knits/crochets the most wonderful hats - you've gotta go check them out. So, back to the yarn. She dyed two skeins of yarn for me - both are pink and green. One of the greens is a delicious olive, and the other a pretty pastel mint green. I've gotten one sock finished. - isn't it purdy? I love how it stripes. The cuff is 64 stitches, and then I decreased down to 60 after the short-row heel.

In addition to the wool, Ruth sent stitch markers that she made for me, plus a decadently dark chocolate bar. It was good. I mean really, really good. I licked the wrapper.

The yarn I sent to Ruth came from Sheila at Wool2Dye4 (where else?!?). It was Kona Superwash DK, dyed in jewel tones with acid dyes.

The purple doesn't show up very well... bummer. I also made some beads for Ruth, inspired by a pic of beads she posted some time back. I liked them so much, I made more! Lemme see if I can find a picture...

Don't forget, click on the pic to biggify.

In other swap news, I'm in the Knit Sock Kit Swap (KSKS) . For this swap, we make a project bag, then fill it with everything needed to make a pair of socks, including a pattern. That's my task for this week, to make the bag and dye the yarn. Still a few weeks to the deadline, but I don't want to do like I did with Dye-O-Rama. Poor Ruth had to wait so very long.

Finally, I've just received my pal for the August Birthday Swap. Hi Keohinani! There's a questionnaire; I'll do that either later tonight or tomorrow.

Happy Birthday, Mother!