Friday, May 30, 2008

Not sure I like either of them

I still don't like the cable version with the hand painted, too busy.
And I think the newer version, which I like better, is still too stark of a contrast.
Maybe simpler is better, go with the design of the second test but just use the one kind of yarn.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Testing testing

Still not sold on whether the coal and the hand painted go together, I've started a test of the cabled cuff, the pick-up-and-knit-off version. I like the cables as cables, I like where the join of the pick up meets the cable band; I think that part works pretty well --nice and even. But I'm not happy with the way hand painted yarn looks in cables. Maybe it's just too much going on at one time for my eyes, it looks messy and muddy to me. Puts me in mind of icky jumbo-sized afghans made of Lion Brand multi acrylic (not that there is anything wrong with Lion Brand). Next I think I'll do a test of the two color idea - straight stitch with a turned cuff and have the colors grade into one another. I'll keep both so I can compare.
One of the things I like about getting older, and this isn't the first time I've said this, is that I no longer think making swatches is evil or lame.
And this little picture is what happens to your pizza crust when you have to wait 55 minutes for a dental appointment.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


They say no one wants to know how sausage is made.

Sadly, sometimes one wants to share how they make it. And isn't that what blogs are for?

Here's my first draft of a pattern based on the swatch from the previous post. It's not quite human-readable yet. Knit from cuff to cuff with a big v-neck hole, plan is to go back and add a bottom edge and collar later.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Any suggestions? Or: Are these colors too light to go with the coal?

These pictures actually do catch the colors of this hand painted DK merino pretty well. Nice, they make me think of tropical water, mermaids, that sort of thing, but muted. I like to pair nice bright multi colors with black or dark grey for a strong contrast, but I think this solid coal DK merino might be too strong.
I'm picturing using this hand painted for a boxy jacket sort of thing, with interesting buttons and the edgings would all be knit the selvage, purl one row (or do a picot fold) and then knit up from this edge. I did this on the Northern Lights sweater, and now that I look at it, this would seem to be Northern lights in reverse. Maybe I should try a little harder.
I'm not crazy about cables in hand painted yarn, but maybe this is subtle enough to work. Or perhaps something worked from wrist to wrist, I haven't done one of those in maybe 7 years. That could work, the flow of the pattern could pick up on the changes in color of the yarn, really try and bring out the tropical water element. I'd have to alternate all three of the skeins I dyed to keep minor variations from showing up in the finished sweater.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Thinking about spinning . . .

And I think I want to try doing some natural colors again, maybe like this for the fishing shirt (though I seem to get sidetracked by stuff like this) and maybe get something like one of these silk blends for the lining of the neck. (The Mad Crocheter has a great, very self deprecating sense of humor, and is very upfront about loving shiny stuff. (I've wondered aloud if she isn't perhaps a reincarnated crow, and teased that if someone would just come up with a chrome-plated baby, she'd have 18 kids.) I ought to lay off, as apparently my own shiny-meter is taking off. I think all this sunlight and flowers here in the South are messing up my grey/navy/olive/black palette.)
Other updates: I've pulled out the green scarf; I wasn't happy with it so I want to maybe try again rearranging the beads, and am still plugging away at the big blue. I'm probably 10 rows away from being done with body, but a picture of that won't be very interesting. But I did finally manage to take picture of Soryu that actually shows the colors (below). And, we have a Mama Cardinal living in our small tree outside the playroom window. If my husband stands on a stool, he can see in to see eggs (from inside, we try to stay out of her space outside) but I'm too short. Very exciting.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Design sketch for fisherman's shirt

You probably can't read my notes on this, but it gives you an idea of what I'm thinking about having it look like. Wool or cotton&wool or silk&wool blend for the main body and silk for the linings . . . .

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Playing with beads

So, I started to play with some food coloring dyed silk and merino and beads. I'm using Cheryl Ober's shawl pattern, trimmed down to be a scarf rather than a shawl. I kind of like it, I think, but I'm still not sure I'm placing the beads where they should go for maximum effect. Also, using beads and spaced dyed yarn in a lace pattern may be lily gilding and perhaps I should cut down on one of the elements here for a more successful end product.
But it has a nice hand, even with the beads in; I was worried they'd make it too heavy.
I think I'll get back to Soryu when I'm done working out. Spinning is very relaxing, but I find I have to be in the right place to do it. If I'm inclined to stress out about anything, it gives my brain too much space to roam and I end up all sad and freaked out 2 hours later. And usually my spinning stinks - it gets all lumpy when I'm not calm. Funny thing, that.
Hope everyone had a nice weekend.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Another horrible picture, of beads.

Rather than a shawl (which, lets face it would be a huge amount of bright greens and blues next to one's head), I was thinking a beaded scarf.
The swatch is not the final pattern, just a test of a simple YO pattern so I could play with bead placement.
Sadly, the beads don't show up so well in my picture, but they look nice in real life.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Yay, it came in the mail (and other thoughts)

The colors of the beads don't show up so well in this snap, but they match the mermaid green fingering weight silk and merino I dyed Monday. I'm thinking about a lace scarf. As luck would have it, I have tiny little crochet hooks that I inherited from my husband's great-grandmother, along with lots of knitting needles. I had no clue what to do with the 2.4 lb. of crochet hooks at the time, but now I look forward to using some of them and thinking of Eunice, who I never really go to know.
On another note, a design note I suppose, do you ever have an idea that keeps cropping up on you until it just seems like you must make whatever it is? A really lovely top appeared in the le bouton catalog sometime back - I just love it. I asked Lisa if she was okay with my making some kind of adaptation of it, and she said that was okay with her. Then I was looking statcounter and looking at who looks at my stuff - and how very cool, there is a blog in Denmark that links to mine (thanks so much, what a cool compliment that is) - the author does really lovely spinning, but I can't return the favor and read it (lazy American). I've tried some translation software, and I can get some but I think both idiomatics and diacritics are against me. But I spent some time checking out other blogs she links to and I found this (scroll down to the entry for 4/28/08). Pretty similar, hun? I think both are beautiful, simple, and accentuate the neck in a way that appeals to me.
So what's my point? Maybe after I finish up Soryu (yes, I'm back at that, too, I've spun almost a whole other bobbin to ply) I'll get myself some nice natural brown grey and spin up enough to make a fishing shirt that pays homage to these 2 lovely designs.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Action shots

Or non-action shots, if you're a stickler for correctness. Clearly the light changes how this baby looks a great deal. It feels really nice - doesn't look that bad on either, or it might not if the model was someone who could loosen up a little bit. :)

More dying

These actually have more purple in them than it looks like in the sun, which is very bright today. The one with lots of green is fingering weight silk and wool, the three matching (I hope) space dyed teal-purple skeins are DK merino wool. The picture of all 4 skeins laid out on the table in the sun is probably the closest to how they really look. If you click on the picture to enlarge, that helps too.

I really like this dying method for the ease and safety, but food coloring is a little limited palette-wise. Black might be a welcome addition. Maybe it is time to branch out.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Amy Rose is done

She's not this loud in person, really. But she's done, and I have to get a snap of her on, she feels really soft and nice. 50% mohair, 15% silk and 35% merino wool. So now I'm going to start finishing the things I already had on the needles when this madness started. For example, my lined mittens (just what everyone wants to work on in Georgia in May, gagh!)
So here's the first one completed, and here's what it looks like when you pull out the lining. Kind of fun, but mittens are like socks for me - do I really have to knit 2 - or in this case 4? So far, these are still fun.

Friday, May 9, 2008

My new obsession

Is beads.
(sorry, no pictures, but click the links, you'll have fun, I promise!)
Darn it, I want to learn to knit with them. Maybe it's because it would be so different that working with Amy Rose. (BTW, Amy Rose and I are back on speaking terms, and thanks much to those who offered encouragement. She's a nice gal, just maybe noisier than I like. But I'll find her a nice home. And if you like her finished pictures and want to try her out, I'll custom dye you the yarn and send you my pattern - $100. But I digress . . . )
It's spring and yet I'm thinking up holiday stoles of red (or red) or white or black with hints of flashing beads. Or a gray shawl with a peacock motif of blues/greens and purples.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Sigh. Maybe I'll put it back on the porch for the birds to make something useful with.

You know when you work on something, plan it for a long time, put a lot of thought into it, into it's execution and then . . . . you just end up hating the darn thing like it's a living thing capable of malice?
Yeah; I'm there. So there. I. Hate. This. Sweater.

Maybe I hate it because it should be so lovable. It's so close to being nice! It's soft and cozy and really makes a wonderful fabric, the pattern I've adapted is coming out super; but still I just feel like the color is a total bloomer. I tried hard to take a plunge and work off my comfort-palette and I feel like Amy Rose has slapped me across the face.
I'm going to finish her, though (ripping out mohair is a fate worse than, well, lots of things are actually far worse, but I just don't want to do it, plus since I like the sweater itself, there's no point in my recycling the yarn). Heck, I've made it to the sleeves, that should take only a couple days to finish.
Then I'm going to do something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.

Yup. That kind of completely different. Pfffffptttthhhh! Ravelry should start an adoption agency for ughs. (If you've never taken a spin through the ughs on Ravelry, you should - it's better than booze, chocolate, coffee, and flowers all rolled into one - though not better than spending 2 seconds with my spouse, but he's mine so put it out of your mind.)

Sunday, May 4, 2008


No pictures yet, but the small one wants to go and check out our local bead store. Between this and what A Few Stitches Short has been doing, I think I want to try beaded knitting.