Thursday, September 30, 2004

Hallowig and Triangle Hat Progress...

Here's what I'm working on at the moment. The triangle hat in a different yarn...



and the Hallowig...



I'm still not doing so well with the 2x2 ribbing (getting slightly better, though... I think), and there were some issues with adding on and joining-up the bangs, but in general all is well. Yay! I wish I had a fake head to pose it on, actually. Possibly wishing for a fake head is not entirely healthy? Hmm.

Um, and my camera seems to be having some color issues. Everything should be less blue.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Just so you know...

Ok, apparently I am physically unable to do 2x2 ribbing correctly. My Hallowig's stitches are wildly inconsistent, and I am going to have to learn Continental knitting I just know it.

[ Edit : (11:05pm) Well, I've got 4.5 inches of the ribbing bit done, so 2 more inches to go, and then I get to the scary, following-diagrams bit. Also, switched over to using an Addi Turbo needle, so the yarn felt slippier and my wrists stopped hurting as much.

Quality of ribbing = still laughable, but improving slightly. Yay!

Plus, if you look closely at the sample-Hallowig picture on knitty.com, you can see that the ribbing on the bangs is sort of uneven, stitch-wise, so...

Why am I stressing about this? It's a wig. Made out of yarn.

Right, that's it, I refuse to worry about it any more! [/eejit]

Oh and also I tried Continental again, and I think I could do it if I could make the yarn stay in my left hand, but as it was I ended up giggling at myself for being a spaz, and switched back to labor-intensive English knitting. ~le sigh~ ]

Better Kool-Aid Experience.

Um, so this is how I did the Kool-Aid dyeing the second time, which was distinctly more successful.

Since I have poor impulse-control, I'd gone out and bought more white mohair yarn with which to Try Again. This time after I'd unwound the yarn into hanks on the creaky rocking-chair and pre-soaked the hanks in cool water, I decided to eschew the whole tarp-and-pouring technique. Instead, I plugged up the kitchen sink, filled the bottom with about 3 inches of water, and mixed in 4 or 5 Pink Lemonade Kool-Aid packets.

Then after a few minutes when the yarn had gone a light pink, I put a hank around an old white cutting-board and painted different Kool-Aid colours (pre-mixed in warmish water) on with cheapo paintbrushes. And, I took an action-shot...



I also cheated and didn't *just* use Kool-Aid. Until a few days ago when I exhausted myself cleaning them out, our kitchen had quite a few drawers and cabinets that were filled up with junk. Happily, I discovered some old Easter egg dye tablets in one of said drawers, and the red & yellow tablets came in rather handy.

Plus, I had a half-empty jar of Manic Panic hairdye in Vampire Red (which is a blue-based, magenta-y red, in contrast to the largely yellow-based, orangey reds in Kool-Aid), so I diluted that with varying amounts of water and vinegar, and painted that onto the yarn too. I didn't use much of the hairdye on the fresh, new Pink-Lemonaded yarn, but when I got to the old, ugly, horrific first batch, I had to use a lot of it to try to blend the brown patches I'd accidentally made via mixing Orange and Berry Blue.

So, on the New, Lovely Fresh Batch of yarn, I used lots & lots of Pink Lemonade, and painted it with Strawberry, Cherry, and Orange, plus a bit of diluted hairdye. I'd added some of the red Easter egg dye to the Cherry, too, because it was all looking much too dark-muddy-orange for me, and put some of the yellow Easter egg dye in with the Orange Kool-Aid, since I was afraid I'd just end up with pink yarn instead of having it look at least vaguely interesting and variegated.

Here's how the hanks looked once they were rinsed and drying...



To fix the First Ugly Horrid Batch of yarn, I soaked it in the sink with 4 packets of Black Cherry and a couple of inches of water, then put the hanks over the cutting board and painted big chunks with the Easter egg red and the hairdye. I'm okay with how it turned out, but I think the first batch is my favourite.

Oh, and then when I'd almost finished cleaning up I realized I had a leftover, unfixed hank of the First Ugly Horrid Batch, and I kind of randomly decided to dye that one with nothing but the hairdye mixed with vinegar. It turned out to be lovely in a novelty, too-bright-to-wear way, so I think it's getting saved for a while until I figure out what to do with it. I also dyed one hank of this beige-y heavy-worsted wool I had, because a) it was there, and b) Yarnware.com sent it to me even though I didn't order it, and I didn't know what else to do with it.

So, here are all the colours I ended up with, dried and unravelled and re-wound into hanks again...



In an annoying discovery, however, I realized that I had about a swatch's worth of the First Ugly Horrid Batch of yarn left, and I decided to try knitting with it just to see what it would've looked like, and it looks fine. Perfectly acceptable. Possibly even quite a lot better than that batch looks now, actually, because it's lighter and more subtle. So, another thing I shall keep in mind if I try the Kool-Aid dyeing again is that it pays to let the hanks dry, then unwind them and knit a swatch. Even if the hanks are patchy and have huge spots of brown, when you knit the yarn up the colours spread out and I think more often than not it'd end up looking fine.

Oh, and I'd wear really heavy-duty kitchen gloves instead of the thin hairdye-package ones, and I'd probably even Vaseline my hands underneath those, so there would be a much smaller chance of ending up with citric-acid-and-vinegar-burned hands afterwards. And I plan to re-rinse all the yarn again, since the ouch factor when I touch it is still pretty alarming, so I want to make sure all the dye and vinegar are definitely gone before I start knitting my sweater.

Oh thank goodness that's all posted. ~intense relief~ I'm so sick to death of Kool-Aid and mohair and pictures of dyeing things I can't even tell you.

I'm off to curl up and listen to a book and work on the scary Hallowig.


How Not to Dye Yarn. A Visual Essay.

Well, after an exciting and cramp-filled morning, I am now ready to post some pictures of the Kool-Aid process.

I would like to file an official Note-To-Self at this point, however. Dear, stop taking so many photos. There's just no way to keep up, and no one really wants to see your favourite hank-winding chair, I promise.

There.

Oh, but here's the hank-winding chair anyway. It's the only one that works well for me, and it pleases me to use it because it's the rocking-chair my mom used to sit in when trying to soothe my infant self. I was big on the crying for the first few months, apparently. So here's the chair...



In an interesting (well, interesting to me anyway) side note, the above-pictured chair was left out in the rain once, so all the glue in the joins went to bits and now the chair, when rocking back and forth, creaks and squeals like anything. My mom used to sit in it when I was practicing the piano, too, and so the creaking and the chair are all very Mum-ish (new word I've just made up) for me.

So it makes me kind of happy to use my mom's rocking chair for the yarn-winding. Here is the creaking chair modelling the white mohair I used for the Kool-Aid experiment...



See? I was going somewhere with the whole chair story, ye readers of little faith. So there.

Now, after I read the instructions that go along with the To Dye For sweater-pattern, as well as a *staggering* number of online advice-pages on how to dye yarn with Kool Aid, I used my university education to distill all this information into a workable plan-for-dyeing-yarn.

That is, I put a tarp down on the floor, put the hanks of mohair in the bathtub to pre-soak, mixed up the Kool Aid (and cleverly taped the label-bit from the packet onto each glass so I'd know what flavor was inside), and prepared to start pouring...



You may be interested to note that the above photo is saved under the name "knit-koolaid-tarpidiot.jpg" -- just in case it gives you any idea about how well my carefully-prepared Ideal Dye Setting worked out.

See, I may have mentioned this in my immediate-post-dyeing entries, but if you just pour the Kool-Aid on, or squirt it on with a turkey baster or whatever, it just sort of goes right through and pools underneath, where the tarp keeps it from draining away. So really, it's like one side of each hank is stewing in a combination of all the colours you've used.

This is not a good thing if, like me, you used Orange and Berry Blue together. No, no, no. My advice is, if you're not experienced with the Kool-Aid dyeing, use either warm colours or cool colours, but not both. That is, I think, my Kool-Aid Golden Rule.

That and don't use a tarp.

Using a tarp and the pouring-method, in addition to the nasty mixed-colour stewing effect, also makes it difficult to get all the yarn covered. So you end up having put in all this effort to get lovely subtle variegation, when really you've got something like this...



And when you were going for subtle, having your shower-rail full of dripping, pulpy, bludgeoned-jellyfish-looking** stuff, and then turning around and seeing how very much you've got to clean up before you put the whole episode behind you? Not good. Not even one bit of good.

So, that was Night One of the big experiment. I'll just post this and then move on to how I kind of managed to fix the old icky yarn, and also make a prettier batch from new white mohair.

**I do actually know that jellyfish don't have blood, as such. Still, I feel that the image evoked by my bloody-jellyfish description is accurate and worth distorting facts of biology.

Also, I'm reading Hard Times right now, and thus I have Very Little Respect for facts and reason when they conflict with imaginative pursuits.

Just, um, please don't tell my Dad all that. He's a marine biologist so my attitude would get him right pissed off.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

My Friend Once Dated a Girl Named Tuesday...

...and (I kid you not) he continued to tell people, for *years* afterwards, that he would start conversations with "So I woke up on Tuesday, and--"

I don't think one single person thought it was funny. Which is sad, because my Friend-Who-Dated-Tuesday is actually a stand-up comedian. In England, though, so maybe...

Ok, back to knitting stuff.

This morning there was drama, but that all stays in my LiveJournal. The upshot of it was, I didn't get to go for a 9:30am coffee-break with Trace, Chauntel, and Suzanne like we'd planned. But, I did get to go visit Trace and Chauntel at work a bit later in the day, and that was quite pleasant. I even got a couple of rows of the damned Hallowig done.

So now I have about 4 rows finished, in total. It amuses me no end that I'm faffing around so much and doing anything possible to avoid working on it...

<<<<>>>>

Right. Have taken photos, and now just have to format them, etc.

You see, Trace insists upon seeing the mess I made with the Kool-Aid dyeing, so I'm going to post that whole process, and then I have a few more things I'm working on -- not actually knitting things, but trying to get organized, etc. -- that I ought to update/post about.

But you know what? I've just decided something... I've been up all night for so many nights in a row, and I have cramps and a headache that won't quit, so I'm not going to format photos tonight. I'm going to sit up and knit for a while, and watch Buffy DVDs. Because I just *get* to.

Oh, and I'm going to obsessively put Trader Joe's Colloidal Oatmeal Lotion on my hands, because they still hurt quite a lot. In another shocking revelation re: The Glories of Red Heart, I discovered today that the cheap acrylic I'm knitting the Hallowig with doesn't bother my hands one bit, whilst everything else still burns them. Owie.

Night night!

Monday Night.

Well, really it's Tuesday morning, but hey.

Knitting group was really good. Tracy and I both started our Hallowigs -- hers is a lovely bright blue, and mine is, after all the pink-vs.-red agonizing, red.

I have indeed formatted two more photos of the Kool-Aid yarn, but I'm so tired I can barely see, and I still have to clean the kitchen and one of the bathrooms (I forgot we're having a visit from the plumber tomorrrow... or today, I mean), so... no photos. Again. Sorry!

Oh, but before I go, I must mention that Suzanne started a knitting blog! It's here, and since Suzanne is lovely (as is her knitting) you should go look at it. Tonight she was working on her green cardigan, and I'm hugely impressed by it. :)

Monday, September 27, 2004

All Better Now, Except for Mysteriously Ouchy Swollen Hands.

Even though I usually have this really strict Never Delete Posts principle when it comes to online journally stuff, I decided to take down my freaking-out post from last night, because I like to keep all my angst over at my LiveJournal. I don't mind people knowing I take care of my mom, or that she has early-onset Alzheimer's, or even that there are definite ups and downs to the whole situation, but I kind of want to keep the majority of my posts in *this* blog at least vaguely knitting-related.

That said, I'm feeling much, much better today, and I'm realizing that being overtired, having PMS, and caregiving are an iffy combination at the best of times. :)

The only thing is, I did lots and lots of housecleaning last night -- clearing out cupboards that I don't think have even been *opened* for years -- and obviously I've been doing lots of Kool-Aid dyeing-stuff, and winding up balls of yarn by hand, so now my hands are all... ouchy.

So that's annoying, because I shall be impeded in my knitting!

Plus, my fingers are all weird colors from the Kool-Aid staining but I'm afraid trying to scrub at them or use nail polish remover or anything.

Ah, well.

Off to do non-knitting-type stuff, and then print out the Hallowig pattern (and directions to the new coffee house knitting group is at tonight), and then ponder the question of whether or not I really do want to have a red Hallowig, or whether red is going to be less Sydney-from-Alias and more Raggedy Ann, so maybe I should just go with using the hot pink yarn I bought ages ago?

Oh, the agony of choice!

[ Edit: Oh hell, and I have the rest of the Kool-Aid yarn photos to format and put up. I keep avoiding forgetting to do that. ]

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Quick Kool-Aid Update...

Well, I think I may possibly have improved the look of the Kool-Aid Yarn of Doom. But, it took *hours* (again) so I'll post before-and-after pics later, and possibly also something for my own future reference about how to get the yarn looking halfway decent when Kool-Aid dyeing.

Ok, running off to Michael's now because... well, partly because I have a 40%-off coupon, and partially because of family stuff I need to get away from.

<3

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Happy and Sad.

First, the Happy -- met up with Suzanne and Tracy tonight for coffee, dinner, margaritas (well, one margarita each; that counts as plural in this context, right?), the more coffee, and a tiny bit of knitting.

Actually, I did no knitting because I was so rushed before I went out that I forgot to bring my pattern along. But I still had a really nice time, and Suzanne & Tracy are both rad girls. Officially. ~grin~

Now, the Sad -- Java Station, where the usual knitting group meets up on Monday evenings, has decided that they're going to close at 5:30pm every night from now on. Aside from the "WTF???!" factor, this means we have to find somewhere else to meet, and Santa Barbara isn't exactly filled-to-the-brim with suitable coffee-houses for us to meet for knitting group.

So now I'm feeling... well, really rather sad, actually. I only just found this great group of women and a really fun knitting group, and now... kaput.

Tired, but I have a few pictures to put up, a bit of Kool-Aid yarn-fixing to do, so I've decided I may as well get out the Santa Barbara yellow-pages, make a list of all the coffee houses in town, cross out the ones I *know* are unsuitable, and then call around and/or visit the remaining ones tomorrow.

The visiting-errand-thing is something I can take my mom along for, too, and she really likes going out in the car, so that's something positive.

But... we're not just going to stop having our group, are we? ~wails in melodramatic fashion~ I liked it so much!

It's important.

Poor Impulse Control, and Halloween/Hallowig Musings.

~cough~ I may or may not have just accidentally bought a skein of magenta tweed yarn to cheer myself up. Think will make my wondermous Kanna a hat with it, yes.

Also, the girl at Craft Essentials complimented my jacket, so I officially love it there now. I worked there when I was 20 -- when it was Craft Village and was absolute crap -- full-time, and it was really quite hellish (aside from the fact that it was my first full-time job and I was really proud of myself for not chucking it in). So, up until a few days ago, I avoided it like the plague.

Happily, no one who worked there when I did is still there. Oh, except for the sort of handyman type guy. Right when I was leaving, I saw him and almost spit out my gum from laughing, because I had this random memory of him telling me -- in all seriousness, I promise -- to be careful when I moved to San Francisco because there are so many "gay-types" there.

Drinking bottled mocha frappuccinos like mad so I won't be dead on my feet by 5:30, because I don't wanna miss the mini Saturday version of knitting group. Yay!

P.S. My best friend, who is, astonishingly, not in possession of a blog so I can't link to her, is a darling gorgeous slightly goth girl, and she loves Halloween, and she invariably spends too much money each year on Halloween presents for me. I love Halloween too, but I suck at presenty stuff. I cling to that whole "it's the thought that counts" idea, actually, although I *do* try so shut up.

Anyway, I want to find something to knit for her that has a bat on it. Which will be an issue because, a) I also really want to do the Hallowig in bright red so I can be Sydney-from-Alias for Halloween** and b) I am baffled by intarsia.

Just so you know.

Back to the frappucinos!

**Except, obviously, my Sydney-from-Alias costume won't feature Jennifer Garner's sinewy body and lack-of-breasts. But still. I didn't get to dress up last year (I just *said* I was a pirate, but I just sat around in pajamas and watched Buffy with Mia and Ed and Bedel), so no one's stopping me this year. ~defiant~ I may even trick-or-treat.

And, here's Sydney in her (non-knitted) red wig. Putting this up just because I like Alias and everyone should look at Sydney whenever possible...


Death By Kool-Aid.

Um... well, the Kool-Aid dyeing didn't go so well. I want to disown the yarn I dyed, it's so horrible. But it was kind of fun to play around with the Kool-Aid (I haven't dyed Easter Eggs for years, and it was kinda like doing that, so I was a happy little monkey for a few hours), so that's a plus.

I'm not quite in the mood to put up pictures of the unfortunate dye-job yet. Will wait for it to dry completely and see if it looks any better then, I think. And I may go get some more of the Pink Lemonade flavor Kool-Aid and see if adding lots of that helps.

Argh!

Oh well; I think I know what to avoid when I try Kool-Aid dyeing again, and I've got some ideas that I think will work for next time. I'd put them up here, but since I thought my other ideas re: dyeing were good ones, and then I tried them and they didn't work, I think I'll be keeping the new ideas to myself until I see if they're crap or not. ~grin~

One thing, though -- I'd recommend either doing most of the dyeing outside, or at least in a wipe-clean sort of place like a bathtub or kitchen sink/counter. I, brilliant thing that I am, just put a tarp down in the guest bedroom and went to town with the dyeing. Nothing got stained, but transporting the liquid-covered tarp to the bathroom without splotching the carpet was kinda tricky.

Also, don't start the dyeing at midnight when you're already tired. I didn't finish until about 4am, so I'm kind of out of it today (going to have a nap before knitting group tonight, yessir I am) -- but at least by the time I realized the dyeing was going terribly wrong, I was aready so exhausted that I thought *everything* was hilarious. Yay for silver linings, etc., etc.

Work to do now, have to run.

Preparing to Attempt the "To Dye For" Sweater... Eeek!

I haven't tried making a sweater yet, and I've no idea whether or not "To Dye For" from Stitch n' Bitch is the best one to start with, but... well, it's the only sweater pattern I've seen (at least in Sn'B and the few knitting magazines I've looked at) that I actually like.

Here's what it's supposed to look like when it's done...



...but whether or not mine will resemble that in the slightest remains to be seen.

Anyway, I couldn't find the yarn Sn'B recommends, and to be honest I'm terrified of sweater-knitting, so I didn't actually search in any comprehensive or dedicated manner.

But then, I went into Craft Essentials (a store which I will be writing more about later, oh yes indeed) and found -- purely by accident -- a comparable yarn. And for less money (still expensive, though, argh.) So now I'm in possession of the specified amount of white "Classic Elite La Gran Mohair," and loads of Kool-Aid with which to dye it.

I had quite a bit of fun avoiding making an important phonecall earlier, via messing with Photoshop, so here's a picture of the Kool-Aid I bought, for your viewing pleasure...



I apologise for the tackiness. Sort of.

Next up: Summers Reveals to Her Reader(s) the Process of Kool-Aid Dyeing (or Absolutely Ruining) Mohair Yarn.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Albion and Tweed -- My Current Projects.

Well, actually I only really have one current project, because the other one bores me to tears.

I'm supposed to be knitting scarf for my friend Ed, in white and navy blue, because they're his beloved West Bromwich Albion's team colours.

So here it is so far...



You may notice it's a lot like the Harry Potter scarves I've been doing, which is probably why I'm bored with it. The thing is, though, I offered to make it for Ed, so I really ought to get going on it.

Oh, one interesting thing about the scarf, though. I knitted it with Red Heart acrylic, and then I thought, "No, that's horrible and ungenerous to give to a friend" so I bought the same colours in Brown Sheep Nature Spun (the nice wool-and-a-bit-of-mohair stuff I knitted my favourite Gryffindor scarf with) and started over. To my infinite surprise, the Red Heart version looks much better, so I'm chucking the Nature Spun one and going back to the Red Heart.

If I ever stop being bored out of my skull with the whole idea, that is.

My real work-in-progress is a hat. Surprise, surprise. It's interesting, though, because it's made out of triangles, and you sort of pick up stitches from the edge of one triangle, knit another triangle from those stitches, and then start again, and at the end you put it together in a sort of spiral and join it all up with mattress stitch.

It's a lot like Epcot center, really. Except it's a hat. And it's not so goddamn boring it makes you throw up.

Here's what I've done so far...



The yarn is kind of tweedy, and I love tweed so much it hurts, so that's why I went for that instead of the Noro Kureyon the Lucy Neatby pattern (which you can order from here, or find at In Stitches on Figueroa if you live in Santa Barbara) recommends. Oh, and the above link also shows what the hat's meant to look like when it's done.

I'm really quite enjoying working on it (even though I only bought the pattern because In Stitches was out of the pattern for this hat, which you can make bigger and all one colour so it's cloche-y), but I have to admit I'm a bit worried about the mattress-stitch part.

To be honest, I don't even know what mattress stitch is, let alone how to do it. Oops.

Next up, I shall reveal to you my recent yarn purchases and beg for advice as to what to do with them.

My Swatching Comeuppance.

After I went to my first knitting group at Java Station on Monday (way too many prepositions there, sorry), I looked up Tracy's blog and made a snarky comment to this post about how swatching is no fun.

At the time, one of my works in progress was a hat using this "wave-lattice" cable pattern around the brim, and I was quite pleased with it. Later -- just after proclaiming just how much I think swatching is crap, actually -- I realised that my poor little lattice-y hat was fatally flawed.

See? It's all tiny...



...even though I used the same number of stitches on the same needles with the same type of yarn as I used for all my other (admittedly misshapen-in-their-own-ways) hats.

So, I guess cabling doesn't always stretch so much as regular knitting. Who knew. Now my lattice-y hat is ruined, and is so small that I don't even think it would fit a baby. Maybe it'd fit a pet or something, but pets don't wear hats so much. Unless I sent it to the Unfortunate Fun Fur Dog.

Actually I think my lattice-y hat would complete that ensemble quite well. Hmm.

All Shall Try Novelty Yarns And Despairrrrrrrrr!

This entry is about how crap novelty yarns are.

Tracy was all hilarious at coffee the other day, expressing her disapproval for Fun Fur. She asked how I feel about Fun Fur, and then had this wary expression on her face until she was satisfied that I do not, in fact, like it.

Except for the fringy bit on the cat bed I made. But I was naive then. And to be fair, chewing on the fringe does provide Eureka with the only pleasure she gets out of the damn thing.

Since I've been forcing my LiveJournal Friends to come over here and read my knitting blog, and not many of them knit, here's a bit of a visual aid for them so they can appreciate the full horror of Fun Fur...



And yes, I hotlinked the above photo of this unfortunate dog, because Fun Fur is just. that. bad. It makes ethics not count anymore.

Right. Back to the story. I saw this yarn called Allure, by Patons, about a week ago at Michael's, and it was all soft and tempting and evil so I bought a skein of it in a lovely wine sort of color.

Later that night, whilst watching The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Becca go watch Priscilla omgrightnow, btw), I began to knit a scarf with it. I found this pattern for a bias-knit scarf, so I was using that, and the excitement of having a pointy-ended scarf made me quite happy.

Then I ran out of yarn, and my scarf was only about a foot and a half long, so I had to go back to Michael's the next day to buy more yarn. And I did. I also bought two skeins each of green and black.

Here's how the scarf looks, close-up so you can see the fluffy aspect of it...



And here's what I discovered as soon as the initial evil spell that sucked me into buying the stupid yarn wore off...



On the right is the fluffy scarf I made. On the left is the belt from my dad's ancient terrycloth bathrobe. Can you tell the difference? I certainly can't.

I'm not sure what to do with the extra yarn (and don't say "return it" because that's far too logical for me). I started another bias scarf in the green color, but I just don't think I'll ever be able to wear it, so maybe I'll use the remainder to make an ugly hat for my obnoxious brother's kid. That'd work, I guess.

Anyway, the moral of this post is, Just Step Away From the Stupid Damned Novelty Yarns.

[Note: Title of this post is an homage to my dear sweet friend Meredith, who is going away travelling soon and I shall miss her heaps. Not long after I started reading her LJ, she had a post called "All Shall Loff Me And OMG Despair!111" (or similar) and it was the hilarious. LJ's indexing system is kind of crap, though, so I can't find the post. Otherwise I'd link to it. Sorry.]

"Glitter Hats," or "Paillettes are Officially a Pain in My Arse"

Oh what the hell, why not post again whilst delirious from sleep deprivation.

The spangly hat in Stitch n' Bitch looked like it'd be quite fun to make, so I tried it. But first I had to find the damned paillettes (sequins with holes in them that're larger than usual so you can string the paillettes onto yarn as opposed to just thread).

I tried going to Michael's (where the staff was absolutely no help, but I don't blame them because I worked a craft store once and it was a completely shit job from hell) and buying bag after bag of mixed larger sequins, because there are quite a few round paillettes in those. Then I sorted through the bags, and I shall summarize that process by telling you the carpeting in my room *still* has sequins embedded in its pile.

See, I wanted to make a pink spangly hat. With pink spangles. And each bag of mixed sequins/paillettes was yielding an average of one pink paillette. One bloody paillette!

I gave up. Then, I went to Longs and saw that they had bags of metallic confetti -- I bought a few little packets of the baby-themed confetti, because there were lots of white, blue, and (wait for it...) pink pieces, just the same size as the paillettes from Michael's. There weren't any holes in the confetti-discs, so I punched holes in them with a regular paper-punch, and then used the improvised-confetti-paillettes and Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky in Victorian Pink to go to town on the spangly hats.



Looks quite a lot like a wounded jellyfish, doesn't it? And it's too long. Covers my ears and makes my head look like a mushroom with pink coins sewn all over it.

But it's a bit better than my first attempt, which hardly covered the tips of my ears. Here's a bit of a compare-and-contrast for you...



Oh well. I'd rip them out and try again, but I've got too many other projects to work on, and the paillettes -- even the real ones that aren't made of cheap baby-shower confetti -- tend to bend/crease if you're not careful whilst you knit.

Next up: Why Novelty Yarns Are a Bad Idea.

One More Harry Potter Reference, Plus My First Reader is a Sweet Mumpkin!

I ordered an "official" Gryffindor tie, just for the hell of it, a while ago, and it arrived yesterday.

Now, I don't actually plan to dress up in Harry Potter regalia (or at least not in a scarf and tie at the same time), but it would be awfully satisfying if tie and scarf didn't clash so.



See?

Stupid tie-making people. Obviously they have small willies.

(I'm so going to have to erase half of what I've been writing; it's nearly 3am and I've been rushing--in my miniscule and widely-separate bits of spare time--to get this blog and all the photos going, so I may possibly be delirious just now. Many apologies.

Except to my dear darling friend Reblog, because it seems to be amusing her. She's officially my knitting blog's first reader, *and* first commenter! ♥ her. But obviously not just because of the reading and commenting.

I think I need to be going to to bed now.)

Summers Attempts Cabling.

I went for quite a while without knitting, but then in May I decided to try making a hat.

I love 1920s-style cloches, and they tend to look decent on me compared to other hat styles (maybe it's the short-ish, bobbed-ish hair and complete lack of modern fashion-sense?), so someone at LJ Knitting referred me to a site with lots of easy hat patterns to try out.

And, as soon as I re-find that site, I'll post the pattern I used for this hat...



I used Lion Brand yarn, and an Addi Turbo 16" circular needle (US Size 8) for it, and did the decreases with another US Size 8 circular (an aluminum Boye circ, I believe) instead of using double-pointed needles. It worked out really well and the method was easy to learn (I'll link to that too when I find the site I learned the two-circular technique from -- gosh I'm organised).

I also realised what a good investment Addi Turbo needles are. So far, I prefer them to any other sort of needles, but I admit I haven't tried any really high-quality bamboo needles as yet. Still, I'm trying to convert Tracy to Addi Turbos for the gorgeous ruched blanket she's working on, since she says the yarn she's using isn't slippy enough on her bamboo needles. Yay for Addi peer pressure!

More Harry Potter Scarf Stuff (I Did Warn You, You Know)

Aside from being an exceptionally pretty site, atypically.net has a really good set of Harry Potter scarf patterns. The webmaster, Lauren, seems really nice -- I don't know her at all, but she returned my email within minutes when I was having a problem, and I got the definite impression that she is quite smart *and *a sweetie from her reply.

And, you know, niceness is always a good thing, I find. Bastards can just piss off, really.

What was I saying? Oh right, Harry Potter scarves.

Lauren's site has an entire section on Harry Potter scarves -- patterns, yarn and color recommendations for different budgets, and links to knitting-instruction pages.

This is the scarf I made using her Prisoner of Azkaban Scarf Pattern...



I used Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted--Bordeaux for the main color (Lauren recommends Brick Road instead, I think), and Sunburst Gold for the stripes. It took me ages because as you can see it's quite a long scarf...



...(or maybe you can't, because I forgot to put something in the photo for scale. But I happen to have the scarf right here, and I just held it up to compare it against my height. I'm 5'10", and it's a tiny bit taller than I am, including the fringe.

Then, as I had yarn left over (I bought two Skeins of Bordeaux and one of Sunburst Gold) I made a hat to match. I used the same pattern as in the cabled hat I just posted about, but with stripes and without the cabling.



Out of everything I've made so far, the scarf is the thing I'm proudest of and most pleased with.

I'd like the hat quite a lot too, if it weren't a little bit too short. As you will soon see, I have Major Hat Issues as far as getting them to fit right.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

First Felted Thing -- Catbed Much Disliked By Cat.

After the wonky-stitched Harry Potter scarves, I took a lesson from BB at BB's Knits. I'd already fixed the wonky-stitches problem through use of a cheesy book from Michael's, so all BB did was make me never want to go to her shop again because she's a big damn bitch.

I mean, I asked what I needed to bring to my lesson, and she glared at me in silence for a bit, then said -- with ultimate sarcasm, or at least as ultimate as Americans' sarcasm gets -- "yarn and needles." Um, hello? What type of yarn? Any particular size of needles? I was hugely tempted to bring in a coil of rope and two sharpened broom-handles, but I didn't, and I will admit BB's quite a good knitter.

Anyway...

I wanted to knit this felted cat bed from wendyknits, but BB's didn't carry the Noro Big Kureyon yarn the pattern suggests, so I used regular Kureyon in colorway #134, with two strands held together.

Here's how it looks now, after a few months...



The cat I made it for, Eureka, isn't hugely fond of it. I mean, if I happen to put it in the spot she usually uses for the sleeping? She'll sprawl on it a bit. My outdoor cat, Wednesday, loves it to death, but I think that has to do with the catnip I put in it when I was trying to entice Eureka.

This led to the disturbing realisation that one of my cats clearly has a major drug problem, but hey. Anyway, I've noticed on LiveJournal's knitting community that women who knit talk about -- and photograph -- their cats incessantly, so I'm going to try to avoid that.

I will say, however, that valancystirling (an absolutely gorgeous knitter and generally rad girl from what I know of her) has encouraged me in my desire to make a LiveJournal user icon out of a photo of Eureka. The plan is to wait until Eureka eats enough yarn to make her throw up (again), then pose her next to it, take a photo, and iconify it with some sort of bitingly-witty comment about cat-plus-knitting-photos being cliché.

Of course, I secretly like all those photos because kitties are cute.

Ok, back to the knitting part. Here's a detail of the bottom (wrong side) of the cat bed...



You start knitting the bed in the middle, and I was thinking I didn't like how the colorway variation (I've no idea what it's called; what I mean is, how the colors of the handpainted yarn go in a certain order in each skein) in the held-together strands wasn't matching up. So, I skipped a bit in one skein, and you can see how the stripes get more regular towards the outside of the cat bed.

Now, however, I quite like how the un-matchy middle bit looks, especially after the felting. Ah well. Such is life, or whatever.

How I Learned To Knit. Incorrectly.

So, a little over a year ago, I decided that I needed both a therapeutic hobby and a Harry Potter scarf. So, I learned how to knit, from various websites with knitting instructions.

Here's the never-to-be-finished fragment that is the first thing I ever knitted...



Apparently I wasn't really paying enough attention to those web-instructions, because the I knitted ended up with wonky slanted stitches. Since I was knitting the scarf on circulars, there was a strange (my best friend Mia called it "special," the darling) spirally effect.

Behold!



I switched to Plymouth Encore and knitted an entire scarf with the "special" spirally stitches and gave it to Mia, but then I lost it at a club. It wasn't *entirely* my fault, but her replacement scarf is still one of my works-in-progress.

Here it is -- I'm holding the tube open so Tracy can see what I was trying to explain about how you can knit a scarf as a tube. You just hold the tube shut with fringe when you're done.



There'll be more about Harry Potter scarves in a bit, but I'm going to post this now and see if all the pictures worked...

Hiya.

Um, so this is going to be my knitting blog. So, I'm off to take a couple of photos of the things I'm working on. Oh, the excitement.