Friday, June 30, 2006
Now I can't yet share exactly what it's all about in case it does get picked (one must hope, mustn't one?) but here is a sneak peek at one of the MANY mistakes I made while writing the pattern. I've shared other mistakes here and here. I clearly have no shame. Please note that the completed project is not simply a cute washcloth, okay? That said, I thought a cabled washcloth would be cute. I am talking about a washcloth that needs to be blocked. Here it is, being blocked now. I ask you, what use is a washcloth that needs to be blocked? Nevermind the unpleasantness of working cables into cotton yarn. I'm not even going to mention that.
Obviously, It didn't make the cut. Anyone want THAT pattern!?
The Tour de France is coming! It begins on Saturday, July 1st and I've been trying to find a way to participate. I considered knitting cycling themed items. (I am still waiting to come up with one of those) And then it hit me: They spin, we spin. Thus begins...The first annual Tour de Fleece! Let's all spin along!
Post your progress in the comments here. Feel free to link to photos or your blog if you have one. We now have a Flickr pool here. Show off your homespun in the pool! Be sure to check out the Craftster board as well. Here is the Craftster board for completed objects. Yes, there are 2 boards on Craftster.
Guidelines (NOT RULES):
1. Spin every day the Tour rides. Saturday July 1st through Sunday July 23rd. Days of rest: Monday, July 10th, Monday July 17th. (Just like the actual tour)
2. Spin something challenging on Tuesday July 18th (Gap to L'Alpe DE d'HUEZ)
3. Take a button if you want one. Then we can use the button on our blogs in show of solidarity. Link button to:
4. Wear yellow on Sunday July 23rd to announce victory. Why not wear yellow on any day you feel particularly successful?
5. Other colors if desired: Green (sprinter - think FAST), Polka-dot (climber - as in uphill), and white (rookie)
6. In the event I am the ONLY person doing this, no public mocking. Even Lance had to start somewhere.
star (aka knitwit) (aka ME)
I offered the driver, Joe, some water. (You can see it tucked in his arm) He was so happy he let me take his photo. It is scorching hot out there and his truck doesn't seem to have a door.
The day was starting to turn around... And then I discovered the part where it says "Battery not included." RATS!
STRASBOURG, France -- The Tour de France was stripped of three of its biggest names on Friday after Jan Ullrich, Ivan Basso and Francisco Mancebo were named in a doping investigation in Spain. Obviously Lance Armstrong won the Tour last year. But Basso finished second, Ullrich was third and Mancebo fourth, making them all frontrunners to win the Tour this year.
My whole world is crashing at my feet. I feel like I've been punched in the stomach. I can't even editorialize yet. Just take in the news and try to process it.
The Tour starts TOMORROW people!
Not a lot of spinning this week because of other knitting deadlines and the vague fear of fiber getting into my post Lasik eyes as previously mentioned. (I also previously mentioned that I knew this was a crazy thought.) That said, this is a two-ply worsted to bulky weight measuring 132 yards! This is more of that soft blend that I spun first, then dyed the yarn. I tried for a summer peach kind of thing with the dyes. I used Buttercup Yellow, Copper, and a little Strawberry Kool-aid. I also added a small amount of Juniper green to the whole mess to tone down the brightness that Kool-aid brings to the mix. Overall I like the results and I'm sure I'll be doing a lot more of this kind of thing during the Spin de Tour.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
I haven't been spinning much this week because of the upcoming spinning overload I'm sure to endure. That plus I am paranoid about getting little wisps of fiber in my post-surgery eyes. I know that sounds crazy. Perhaps we haven't met.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
In the meantime, I must frantically finish the secret knitting project by Friday and I'm now wondering when I'm going to sleep. The real athletes have lengthy massages in their legs after each race. I just have eye drops and chocolate.
Monday, June 26, 2006
It was quite hot out there and we sat outside in the thick of it. At some point these misters came on which turned out to make everything much, much worse. There was intense humidity all around and leaky drippy bits that would drop a pint-sized stream onto your head randomly. There was condensation on my purse. All our faces were glistening with sweat and my hair was two stories high. This enhanced the astonishing eating contest significantly. That plus me putting eye drops in my post-Lasik healing eyes every 15 minutes.
The best part of yesterday by far was asking 2 non-knitting guys to swing by the LYS (local yarn store) on the way home so I can get more yarn to finish the secret project. How often do I get to the valley? I couldn't pass it up. I didn't have the guts to ask them to stop at a second yarn shop to buy those LED needles. Sigh.
SIDENOTE: There should be a word for something you think is going to be fantastic which turns out to be a disaster. (Misters on a hot day)
Sunday, June 25, 2006
And then on that first crisp day in autumn when you get a sweater out from the bottom of your closet and walk outside along the leaves and take in that sensation that someone somewhere has a fire going you want to knit wool like your life depends on it. Cotton suddenly feels dead in your fingers, lifeless and cold. The bright colors are garish and embarrassing. Bring on the tweeds, browns, greys, pumpkins, garnets, and all the fall colors in the spectrum. Put that gross, cheap cotton away forever. Or as it happens, until that first hot day in spring.
And then when it's hot outside and you can't get enough cold tea to endure a walk except in the wee small hours, you feel like knitting something clean, cool and lightweight. Something fun and cheerful and bright. And while I can be a total yarn snob, I find myself returning to Sugar n' Cream, Lion cotton, and Peaches and creme every June. I make small projects that stay off the lap and they are usually useful household things, like mesh bags, dishcloths, placemats and rugs. And I wonder why I am not knitting with it all year round.
Originally uploaded by Automatt.
...but this looks about right. Look closer. All of this lovely sushi is knitted. I like the idea of knitting that stays off the lap on a hot day. Thanks to flickr and the creative commons license I am able to share a photo from a guy I don't even know. Actually he has tons on really great photos. Thanks Automatt!
Saturday, June 24, 2006
I am a cat nutritionist offering a room in an apartment with a GREAT location (73rd and 3rd) for a very cheap price. $400/month for june, july, august. I am an extreme cat lover and have a total of 17 cats in a small apartment. I am not going to lie, you must be an extreme cat lover if you want to rent this place for the summer.
The room I am offering up for rent is a room for my cats. I am not going to lie, there is cat litter and droppings all over the room as I have not cleaned it since the middle of January. There is a twin bed on it which about 5 cats sleep in. You are welcome to share it with them, but you must NOT disturb them, as it is their place before yours. You are welcome to clean up some of the droppings, but you must leave most of the cat litter in place in the room, as there will not be much more room in the house for the cats to do their business otherwise. I am not going to lie, sometimes I wake up and have cat litter all over my body, but studies show that it is extremely sterile and will not cause you any sickness if you bathe daily and keep clean.
If interested, please send me an email explaining your situation, and writing a short blurb (essay, history, poem, whatever) about your love of cats. I reserve the right to revoke your room (with a refund) at any time if I feel that my cats are more depressed or are not enjoying your company.
At least she doesn't "lie."
Anyway, the story of the Knit Lite needles is this: Monica Dremann, the wife of Michael Rosenberg (President of Imagine Entertainment) was talking to Edith Eig about how hard it is to knit in the movie theater once the lights go down. Perhaps only a knitter will understand this, but it is indeed a HUGE problem.
Edith mentioned this problem to her husband, Merrill (a retired engineer) and he developed a needle with glowing L.E.D. tips. Clover has picked up the distribution and I am only now hearing about this! I suppose I have to pack the car with water and make the trek!
The Knit Lite needles are distributed by Clover Needlecraft, Inc.
Available NOW at La Knitterie Parisienne,
and this summer at knitting and craft stores nationwide.
Friday, June 23, 2006
This fair is where I had my first (and last) deep fried twinkie. It's HUGE! (The fair, not the twinkie) I was lonesome for this kind of thing since I used to enjoy the Puyallup fair so very much. That's where they had this famous hypnotist who used to make people dance like Michael Jackson and then before he had them wake up he would plant subliminal messages of self confidence into them. It was entertaining and touching at the same time.
Frankenstein's friend here was spun white and plied with some coils. I then dyed the yarn after. I think I like dying roving better these days. They look like friends to me, just sitting there on the fence together. I guess I'll call it boo-berry. Is it too early to be thinking about halloween? I think both yarns belong in the same project since they were spun in the same manner and are about the same thickness. I have some time to contemplate this because until July 1st I am single-minded about knitting the top-secret project.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
PS - notice my unusual toothpaste? It's flavored with green tea.
Also, I have a new pain in the area just below the thumb. That's not going to be a problem is it? I'm not going to tell anyone about it; I have a lot of knitting to do.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
1. This morning I came up with a "brilliant" idea, and needed specific yarn for it. I thought I would be clever and go to a different store than I usually go to. There I was met with terrible choices and funny colors in the ONE kind of yarn I needed. There wasn't enough to finish this project. I bought it anyway.
2. Cast on! This is going to be great. I'll start with a different cast on method than what I usually use so the finished piece with have more stretch.
3. After knitting a while, I see the cast on edge is lumpy and scrappy. I hate it and pull the whole thing out to start over. No biggie. This is part of designing.
4. I go back to the trusty long-tail cast on and knit one row. Now I'm getting there. I do the first two edge stitches in garter and start the lace pattern. I get to the end of the row and I am two stitches short. I realize I have cast on two extra stitches for the garter border instead of two extra stitches on BOTH sides. I pull it out and start over.
5. I finally cast on the right number of stitches. I knit the two repeat sections of lace (18 rows). Knit the center panel (24 rows). I take a good look at my progress. Hmmm, there's something off here. It's the gauge. It's not going to be tight enough for the duplicate stitches. What size needles am I using anyway? 8? That's weird. I'm supposed to be using 7's.
6. Pull the whole thing out. Do I have it in me to start over again? Did I mention I'm trying to get it done in time to submit it for consideration for the fall knitty? The deadline is in 10 days. And I have eye surgery tomorrow.
Remember the pound of undyed mill end roving (unknown wool but not superwash) in a natural color? Here is a "before" picture to jog the memory. I dyed almost half of it and here are some of the results below!
Top to bottom: tropical punch kool-aid, orange kool-aid, lemonade kool-aid, juniper green wilton's icing gel, delphinium blue wilton's icing gel. The green and blue are by far my favorite. I love the effect when the dyes split and you get a depth of color. I like wilton's better than kool-aid for dying. Now I'm wondering what they look like spun up...
Monday, June 19, 2006
The project? Ballband dishcloths! Perfect for a hot day since they're made out of cotton. Plus, they're a small project so they won't heat up your lap. Also, these will be a good post-Lasik project since the pattern is easy. I'm a new convert to Mason Dixon Knitting but I sure am glad I saw the light.
Last year it was a madhouse. There was a line around the block and so many fantastic crafty businesses.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
3 cups brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1.5 tsp salt
3.5 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1.5 cups chocolate chips (The good kind)
Preheat oven to 375*
Beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar together. Add vanilla and eggs. In a different bowl mix together dry ingredients and add to the wet mix. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop 2 to 3 TBS sized lumps onto either double aluminum baking sheet or regular baking sheet with parchment paper. (I use paper) Bake 9 minutes or so. NOTE: These have a lot of butter in them so they spread out a lot. Don't put them too close together on the sheet.
There are a lot of good chocolate chip cookies in the world and these are my favorite to bake. And these are the ones that Cliff grew up on, so it's nice all around.
I need to dye in the first hours of morning because my microwave shares an outlet with my air conditioner and I can only use one at a time...Oh the injustice. I really want to try the method where you mix everything up and put the dyepot in the trunk of your car and park it in the sun for a couple of hours. Solar dying. An eco-friendly choice? I'm not being lazy, I'm saving the planet.
Saturday, June 17, 2006
This is Cliff's story. This is not his whole story and this is not the only telling of it. The only tangible object that I know of that exists in which he is remembered by is a brass plaque up in the studio of the radio station where we used to work together in San Francisco. It reads, “Cliff (last name), 1968-1993.” There is no grave or marker, but I'll get to that in a minute.
Cliff was 25 years old when he passed. I was close to him when I first started college during 1989, 1990 or so. He had a serious addiction to cocaine during the era I hung with him but a lot of us friends ignored it/downplayed it/denied it. I heard he was using heroin after he moved to Los Angeles in ’91, but this news hit my detached being like something insignificant. It was bad but I became quickly distracted. What could I do? We had a falling out previously and lost touch. I had decided to start making healthier choices. I couldn'’t keep up with his all-nighters and self-loathing. I moved to Olympia, Washington to live in a house, to garden, knit, and shop at the co-op. He moved to Los Angeles to party and have anonymous sex.
One damp morning in 1993 I got the call in my little wonderland of Washington State. Did I hear already about Cliff? He overdosed...but only his mother thinks it was an accident. The rest of us know it wasn't. I returned to San Francisco immediately for his service and was haunted by his memory everywhere I went. There was the corner where a tampon fell out of my purse and he picked it up and handed it to me saying "oops," and I wanted to die. We took that bus there to Chinatown for trinkets to give out on Christmas.
His service was at the beach. We gathered around a pre-determined spot in a circle and held hands and told stories. Some of the stories were about what a difficult person he could be and how much we were going to miss the bastard. Cliff had a lot of friends. In the center of the circle was a Pillsbury Doughboy cookie jar I tried not to look at and prayed was not what I thought it was. This was his box, and he was inside it.
Cliff’s mom told a story last. I wanted to meet her since I tasted her chocolate chip cookies some years back. She sent Cliff a care package and the cookies were so good I made him call her so I could get the recipe that I still use to this day. That memorial weekend she had just gotten a replica tattoo of one Cliff had so she could feel closer to him. Cliff'’s was a jagged fleur de lys that took up his whole calf and his mom’s was smaller and more feminine. Should I tell her he got that tattoo while drunk, stoned and on ecstasy? That he had the hots for the tattoo artist with the perineum piercing? After she spoke we all stumbled to the shiny jar like zombies and grabbed handfuls of ash and bone that used to be Cliff and took them to the sea. This was illegal and we knew it and we did it anyway. I walked into the icy waves in my shoes and socks and pants like everyone else because how could we care while being so numb with loss. As I dropped my handfuls in, the water flooded back in the wrong direction. “Go back!” I heard someone yell. It was happening to all of us.
I still can’t wrap my brain around how his life became a story because of how it ended. He was gay. Even his cat was gay. His whole building was like that. There was no question of this fact yet he never accepted it. He was angry at how sexuality got doled out. He wanted to be straight, as if he would have fitted in then. As if the mainstream culture wouldn'’t have found another way to alienate his sensitive soul. His being overwhelmed with his identity evolved into his being overwhelmed with addiction. And we couldn'’t stop that either. He had to make his own choices. Some of his friends were angry at how clueless his mom was. She is the only person who didn’t know he was gay. I wonder if now, 13 years later, she's not too overwhelmed by the meaninglessness of her son’s tragically premature passing to accept that he was gay. It has been said that None of us are free until we are all free.
It's the 25th anniversary of AIDS by the way. It's been underreported. Read this article to learn about it.
Fleur de lys (fleer de lays)
kool aid (kola aid)
Wilton's dyes (wilting dyes)
pic (pig) - my fave. (five) I take pigs all the time.
Blogger's spell check doesn't recognize "blogger!" Ha ha ha ha ha.
Ps (psi) - wish me luck on my upcoming lashes surgery.
Speaking of next week, I'm preparing for Lasik eye surgery on Wednesday. I may not write much after it for a short while. When we get closer I'll post links to other blogs to check out. Maybe NOT the ones you already check out all the time either!
Friday, June 16, 2006
This artist makes fantastic ceramic jewelry. I bought this necklace at the Los Feliz village street fair. She is also a painter and a talented one at that!
(Paraphrasing from Wikipedia:) ...The fleur-de-lys is an unofficial symbol of France (along with the bees and the Napoleonic eagle). It is also a popular symbol of New Orleans art and architecture, as well as being on the city's official flag... What's that about the bees and the Napoleonic eagle? I may not know what I'm talking about anymore. Better stop writing.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
The bright one is an 88-yard really soft blend I bought off eBay from this seller. I dyed it with kool-aid and Wilton's gel dyes. I spun it thin-thick and it's a single. I want to improve my single balancing, if that makes sense. I think there must be a joke in there somewhere concerning unbalanced singles but it's too hot out for me to think of what it is.
What is Etsy? It's your "place to buy and sell all things handmade". Next time you need a gift, go there first. Trust me. You'll find fantastic crafty goodness of all sorts. You can browse by description of course, but you can also browse by color! Imagine item after item where the only thing they have in common is that they are all orange? (Or your favorite color of the day) A good way to start is to browse recent items listed. Also, there are a LOT of fiber artists there selling their homespun. Cool!
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
It's the page of a photographer named Michael Wolf who took pictures of residents in their 10' X 10' apartments. I'm telling you, if you think your place is small, try living in a 10-foot box. How would you decorate it? Where would you put the treadmill? WHERE WOULD YOU PUT YOUR SPINNING WHEEL AND YARN/FIBER STASH? (I don't see any of this stuff in the pictures, do you? Actually, the guy in #14 has a sewing machine.)
Highlights: Everyone has a bunk bed, a TV and a fan. Where they go from there... It appears the more cluttered the space, the more they look like a lifetime of despair has conspired against them. (I was going to say the more they look like they want to blow their brains out but I think that's just an awful thing to say, so I didn't say it.) The couple in #25 turned their space into TWO rooms! They must really hate eachother. #36 should be ashamed of herself. And if you ever find yourself caught in #27, hopefully he's the type that just kills his victims quickly,instead of draining your blood drop by drop first.
BOY did this get dark! I promise you'll find yourself commenting (judging) on each one too.
The building is Hong Kong's oldest public housing estate, and each person rocks it a little bit differently. It's really cool!
Man this roving is soft. I bought it off eBay from this seller. It's a blend of merino, targhee and ramboulet and takes dye really well.
I dyed it with kool aid (Lemon Lime & Arctic Green Apple) and Wilton's icing gel dye (Copper) using the tutorials found on Knitty and Craftster. I also spun some plain white to be dyed as yarn. I'm going to see what I like better, dyed in the roving or dyed in the yarn.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
What's shocking to me is the fact that I can knit and spin up until the appointment (which is at the end of the day) and then again when I wake up the next morning (theoretically). Barring unforeseen mishaps like blindness, this shouldn't be a problem. I don't think the lace scarf will see much action for a while though. I am happy to make excuses to not work on the lace. What's a good knitting or crochet project for eye surgery? Something bulky? Something without a pattern? Hmm....
I'm not afraid of small needles! I'm not afraid of thread-like yarn! I AM afraid of spinning lace! I AM afraid of knitting that looks like dog business! I know it will look better when finished and blocked. I have to believe this.
Marnie's Scarf is a lovely pattern I found and it suits me because I wanted to jump into lace but didn't want anything too flowery. (See how nice it looks when blocked?) I'm knitting it in Alpaca Cloud from Knitpicks. It's lace weight baby alpaca, in the color is "Iris." I wound it into a center pull ball while watching TV. I held the yarn around my feet as I wound it around a giant marker. I don't know if it's a summer thing but lace is very popular right now, right? Maybe it's the fact that some folks have been knitting a while and want a challenge. Either way, there are a lot of lace patterns out there. Give it a try! (Misery loves company)
Monday, June 12, 2006
The good news is I listened to a great podcast and walked through my neighborhood first thing this morning and really cleared my head. My lesson for today is: No matter how tired you are, you'll feel better if you walk.
Now I need to come up with a way to knit something tour related...
Sunday, June 11, 2006
Los Feliz Village Street Fair
Here's hoping Planet Cookies are there!
EDIT 6/12/06 - This was much smaller than I thought it would be but still fun. I ate Indian food and Alex ate a giant sandwich. I bought a great ceramic necklace and I'll post details and pictures later!
This post is about the chair in the photo. The chair? Yes. It is one of a pair I used to own.
The yarn is easy. It is some homespun done on a drop spindle around valentine's day. I made it red but with black and white mohair skunk stripes. That is the story of the yarn.
The chair... Where to start? I used to take pictures of finished objects on this white wooden chair with chips on it. It was meant to be refinished but I never did that. I got the chairs when I moved into my little sunny studio in Silverlake. I miss that too. I bought them from the girl who lived there before. I had a lot of potential when I first moved into that studio. I was in a community now. When people asked what I did I could say "I'm an artist" and that was an acceptable answer. There was a brown stain on one of the chairs from hair dye. This hair dye I turned out to be allergic to. I was up all night rubbing cortisone into my scalp. Now it is "one of my things" searching for hair dye that doesn't contain PPD. (It's in ALL of them!) This chair helped me change lightbulbs. Anyway, I moved to West Hollywood and the chairs came with me but they didn't fit in here. They stuck out. Too bohemian. I had to cut them loose. I sold them at a garage sale and I wonder about the person who bought them and if they did something with them. I was complaining yesterday about taking bad pictures of yarn. Those chairs made taking pictures easier. Oh chair. I miss you today.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
I know it's Saturday. But here is my Fiber Friday homespun. I originally posted this on Craftster.org. It's a single made up of corriedale, merino, recycled sari silk, cotswold, coopsworth, mohair, superwash, and maybe more. I was experimenting with this kind of thing. I hope this is the last of the bad photography! (It's really quite vibrant in person) Did I mention it's 344 yards?