Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hogwarts Band Geeks?

Seriously? How funny is that? We've got our ties on, blazers and even little patches. It looks like I'm a flue player for the Hogwarts band, doesn't it? Yes, totally non-knitting related posting. Imagine that. :) Facebook connected me with an old friend from that band who sent the pic. Amazing how many memories come back once you get started. I just LOVE those old photos. Man I had some sweet hair back in the 80's.

Back to actual YARN content.

Some of today's photo shoot. Yes, done out at the office park. No, not in front of my building this time. Good light. Good yarn. What more could you want? RETIREMENT, that's what! Dang. I've got a few more years to put in. *sigh*

I've actually been knitting, but it's on the same never-ending knee-highs workboot socks for my husband. Cripes almighty it's taking a LONG time. I'd show more pics, but it's just a never-ending tube of dark grey/black. Not very darn exciting. ...just keep knitting...just keep knitting... Such a nice Xmas present idea of giving him a weeks' worth of socks shot to hell. He's going to be lucky to get one normal sized pair and one girly knee-high length pair. Ah well. Back to the drawing board for his Xmas present. No more sweaters started on Dec 1st, I can tell you that much!

What do you think of this? I'm calling my section of handspun art yarn "Art Yarn for the Mild at Heart". It's art yarn for those of us that want to be artsy, but still like things to match. You know, artsy without being too artsy. Is it just me? Does this make any sense at all?

Supercoils made from heavenly soft natural greys in alpaca. mmmmmmm alpaca. I figure why shouldn't the artyarn knitters/craftsters get to use sweet fiberlicious alpaca too? AND I hardly cursed at all in its spinning! (I do a WEE bit of cursing while stretching my artyarn spinning skillz.)

I think I'll pull my fuxxed up green cable sweater out of time-out and get going on it again. I'm making peace with it and am calling the wrong-way cables part of my design intent. Since I take the scenic route through life, why shouldn't my cable sweater?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Entirely too much fun...and bad for my bank account

OH momma, there's some cool craft sites out there. Of course you all know about Etsy as I've been pimping my site mercilessly TreasureGoddess. Well, I've stumbled upon a few more unbelievably cool artsy-fartsy etsy loving sites as well.

SOOPSEE is a very cool site. I'm there as TreasureGoddess. The pages are great for etsy sellers to list all their sites, blogs, etsy items, twitters, etc in one spot. It's great for etsy buyers as you can see all the goodies being posted and can mark your faves, etc. Very cool. Very, very cool.

Another place that just inspires the creative goddess inside me (even though she's stuck sitting in a cubicle, my soul is thinking creative thoughts at least) is CraftGawker. Oh my holy hell. Some seriously GORGEOUS photos of art, crafts, photos, YARN, knitted objects, crocheted objects, crazy art inspired things. Just go there. You will be amazed.

A small CYG sighting last week. I found an old picnic table under some huge oak trees in the park in our office complex that has just the right amount of filtered natural light for good photos! While working to get just the right angle, I range from climbing on there on hands & knees angling the camera to standing above the fiber/yarn on top of the table and all levels in between. The walking trails get quite a bit of traffic in the late morning/early afternoon, which is also the best light. I've heard all kinds of comments, usually as two joggers/walkers talk together. I ignore it and keep working for just the right angle. You'd think fiber that just SITS THERE would be easier to photograph, wouldn't you?

Well, the other day an older man stopped to watch. I didn't really notice it for a while. Kept on crawling about, etc. Suddenly I got that feeling of being watched and turned to him. He said he hoped he wasn't disturbing me, but he loved seeing art being created. I said, what? He told me the world is a better place with art in it and thanked me for contributing to that, then walked on down the path. I sat there a minute (after climbing down from standing on my tiptoes and leaning waaaaaaayyyyy to the side all off-kilter like I do) on the bench and thought, you know what? He's right.

The world is a better place because there are people in it that create. We create art when we make a hat for a loved one. We create art when we make a pair of socks. We create art when we create a swatch! The ability to create something new out of sticks and string has always blown my mind.

I'm not really wanting to dive into that whole debate of art vs craft, but I guess I never thought of myself as an artist until that day. "Oh, it's just a knitted hat." "Oh, it's just a crocheted scarf." Oh nothing. It's ART. We create that. Art rocks. We rock.

Wow, pollyanna enough for your Tuesday? No worries, I'm sure I'll have a normal embarrassing CYG (Crazy Yarn Girl) moment soon. I can't seem to go but a week without one. I'm just still all inspired. And feeling artsy. Empowered even. We do rock.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ozarks, banjo music, Molly Hatchet and Cable knitting

What more could you want from a Labor Day weekend? You know, life just doesn't flow in a normal pattern for me. Ever. It does keep things interesting. (There is actual knitting content below if you'd like to scan past the hillbilly stuff.)

Let's see, where do I begin? Well, we drove off through the Ozark hills to Salem, Missouri to do a float trip on the Current River. On purpose. People DO that. On purpose. Who knew? It wouldn't be a big deal to a NORMAL family. But with Mountain Man leading our expedition, you KNOW we wouldn't stay on trail or on track or on river. We did actually have a wonderful time and no one flipped over. (At one point I threatened to beat said Mountain Man with my paddle in full view of all four children if he flipped my canoe or didn't stop splashing me.) Yes, our children will have really good stories to tell to their therapists someday. The river is fed by three natural springs, which keeps that water COLD but not freezing. Water temps are between 58-60 degrees. All four kids were in and out of that water SWIMMING. I kept making them get out after about 10 mins at a stretch so hypothermia didn't set in. Apparently the river doesn't freeze, so you can even take a canoe trip in the winter, which apparently people DO and also ON PURPOSE. Boggles the mind.

Now, don't worry, my obsession with the ticks continues. Note what is NUMBER TWO on the safety list. I'm just saying my fear may not be as irrational as some would imply. Seriously? Checking yourself for ticks is ABOVE the risk for fires (in a forrest no less), weapons, flash floods and alcohol? Ticks? cripes. Thank Goodness we were staying in nice motels instead of the tent. Seemed to keep us tick free.

Now, of course the ENTIRE weekend Mountain Man played the dueling banjo's song. I am not exaggerating when I say I heard that thing (blasted with all windows down to share the love with the rest of the hillbillies) over 42 times. Our off-road/off-trail mud fests through the tick infested hills and caves (not the publicly maintained caves, just those holes in the rock where critters live) only gave us a few scares, none of them banjo-playing-scary-hillbilly-Deliverance kind of scares. All in all, it was a good time. I may even do it again. I'm also thankful that the only copperhead we saw was on the road TO the river, not actually IN the river with us. Mountain Man was a bit disappointed that the guy that was trying to get rid of it didn't need or want his help. Mountain Man assured me it was one of those "look-a-like" snakes, masquerading as a poisonous one. When I asked him how he knew it, he said because it's eyes didn't look quite right. Yeah. I'm sure the fact that when Jeff leaned out his window asking if He could help and I was waving my hands "NO NO NO FOR THE LOVE OF GOD NO!" had nothing to do with the guy's waving us off.

You know, people sure are friendly when you get in those back-hills towns. I was making friends with all kinds of people. I'm a friendly soul. Well, at one point I was pretty much being picked up by a passell of old guys that looked like a biker gang. Long, long frizzed out blond hair, leather pants, looked a little worn by the years of rock & roll & too much fun too many years ago. You get the idea. Wherever I went in that town, there they were. They were even staying at the same hotel, so I really kept running into them. Well, long story short, they were MOLLY HATCHET, a southern rock band that made it bigtime in the late 70's early 80's. They thought I was a groupie there for the concert. First of all, I never know who sings anything, so I said, "what? you guys have a band? Do you have a demo out or anything on itunes?" Apparently that's not what you say to a group of old rockers reliving their glory days on a victory tour. Who knew? "We were on DUKES OF HAZZARD, MAN! the DUKES OF HAZZARD!" They're most widely known for their hit song "Flirtin' with Disaster" which I did recognize once Jeff played it for me later on his ipod.

In a nutshell, I freaked out the group immensely because #1) I didn't immediately recognize them #2) I didn't recognize their big songs (They were on the Dukes of Hazard movie soundtrack, are on the radio still and were pretty big in the late 70's early 80's. #3) I didn't want to ditch the husband and 4 kids to go to the concert with the band. I will admit, the thought of that sounded a lot more fun to me than the float trip, but you know, FAMILY VACATION and all that. :) After introducing them to Jeff, who instantly recognized their band name and bolstered their egos greatly, we laughed and hung out with the group while Joey was talking about how cool it would be to have his own rock band and he now plays the CELLO so it's only a matter of time. Yeah. I got rockin' kids.

Now, I'm not bagging on the guys, they were all kinds of fun and if I hadn't been married with four kids I'd have thought about heading to the show with the band. seriously. BUT the 80's were long ago. I think I look pretty good for living through the 80's. I'm not so sure leather pants, late nights, rock & roll lifestyles and all that bleach on that hair was quite as kind to the band. Wow. I did at least feel good that at least the one doing most of the attempted flirting was the youngest member of the band and still was working the long hair, tight pants thing. (A few members joined the band for the tour a few years back).

I thought I looked cute, not old rock band groupie (let me just say I met some of those groupies and am pretty sure the band looked better than them.) What do you think? Old groupie or regular old mom of four/dying spinning fiberista?

Tired of this post yet? I promise to break it down in the future. The cable thing? Made me crazy. C.R.A.Z.Y. I've not picked up the sweater yet. What drives me the most crazy isn't that I fuxxed up the cables. No, it's that I fuxxed up the cables and SHOWED it in the picture where I show how I fixed the other cables! I'm acting all smarty-farty and totally screwed it up. Ah well. I think I'm going to embrace the fuxx up and keep them. Embrace them. Or at least wear them on my belly in the sweater.

You'd think I'd be tired of cables, right? not want to see them for at least a week or more, right? Well, I found out that a dear friend was going in for the big 7hr post cancer surgery where they do all the biopsing and reconstructing and whatever else-ing they do. She was teary in the meeting with her surgeon as she gets cold since she's lost her hair. They wouldn't let her wear her wig or a regular hat in there. She pleaded with them and said if she found a small, natural fiber hat that would fit under the little puffy hat they stick on you for surgery could she please wear it? Well, then she went out and tried to find such a hat in a store. many stores. I just heard about this on Friday and it hurt me to think of a friend of mine being COLD when she's already in a compromised position with the whole surgery thing.

So, basically except for when I was paddling down the river or hanging out with an 80's rock band, I was knitting cables. Cables, cables, cables. Shedir out of Knitty's Breast Cancer issue was just what was needed. I knit non-stop and got it done the night before my friend's surgery. She wore the hat during the whole surgery, recovery and even now in the hospital. All biopsies are showing cancer free and we're all so very thankful. She's made it through a long, long battle and will continue to battle to make sure nothing comes back. I felt so good that something I knit helped someone out. I'm usually a pretty selfish knitter, so this whole generosity thing could be catching.

Shedir on
Yarn: rowan calmer 1.5 balls
Needles: sz 4's
Time of knitting 4 days and nights

Friday, September 04, 2009

Well FUXX it!

OK, look at the top pic of the earlier post with all the cabling wonder. LOOK AT THE first two baby cables on each side of the big, bad fixed one. OH MY HOLY HELL! Both baby cables on BOTH sides of the super fixed ones. SON OF A BIOTCH! Damn Damn DAMN. It's bad enough they're both freaking BACKWARDS, but they're BACKWARDS with a ginormous ARROW pointing RIGHT NEXT TO THEM!

OK, Ok, I know. I know how to fix this, right? Well, um, I've knit almost the ENTIRE damn piece. damn damn damn.

Ironic much? *smolder* *growl* *smolder*

Thanks, wise woman, for pointing it out before I got to the armpit shaping. Should've posted this RIGHT AFTER I knit so she could have caught it for me. DAMN!

Ok, proceeding to time out for the sweater yet again. Won't look at it until after the long weekend. I have to say, though I have this new spiffy fixing-cables ability, there's no way on God's partially green earth that I'm doing that for 25 stitches that cross every 4 rows for 10 inches. YES TEN INCHES. (I was just starting the armhole shaping).


May all your knitting be NOT FUXXED UP!
Peace out all,

I learned something new! Fixing Cables!

See that? Right there next to the arrow? Where there SHOULD be a cable? But there's NOT?!? Ah FUXX! Did you curse too? Awww, how sweet. Thanks. I feel better. SO this is what happens when I get a bit cocky and knit cables while watching an intense tv show. At least I noticed before going any further. I promptly cursed, picked up the damn sock I should have been knitting during that show anyway, cursed again and put the cabled mess in timeout. While telling my friend my troubles (and you guessed it, cursing a little bit), this wise woman told me that you could FIX it without frogging it back. Well, I knew in theory you could fix anything in knitting, but my usual mode is to curse, frog, and reknit. She gave me step by step directions and I thought I'd try it out and document it.

If you already know all this, I apologize. If not, HOW COOL IS THIS???? (you can click on the pics to see larger versions if you'd like). I figured I had nothing to lose frogging back part of the piece, as I would have to frog the whole dang thing otherwise.

The first step is to breathe calmly and put the offending object away until you can deal with it in a non-aggressive manner. I gave my project about 3 days to simmer.

Next step, determine how many stitches you need to rework. If it's a normal cable, drop stitches from purl bump to purl bump. This one was a horseshoe thing, so the actual cabling part was the first 5 stitches after cable bumps. Work to that point on the row and DROP THOSE STITCHES. It's not scary. They don't go running down. I promise. See? They just sit there patiently. I actually had to use a double point needle to encourage the buggars to unknit themselves all the way to the point where the cable was supposed to be.

Now put those little stitches (5 in my case) on a needle (I find dpns SO GREAT for this). Get them all lined up properly, no twisted stitches. Pull all those loose ladders of yarn up out of your way.

Another great tool to use is an itty bitty crochet hook. You're going to be working your way up each 5 stitch row using the next closest yarn loose flappy ladder piece. There's gotta be technical terms for this stuff, I just haven't heard any. SO just like when you drop ONE stitch, use the crochet hook to pull the loose flappy bit through each stitch on your dpn. I think it's easiest if I work the whole row onto the crochet hook, then transfer them to a dpn for the next row.

When working the cabled row, just work the stitches in the order you were SUPPOSED to have done it in. For example, I was supposed to hang the first 3 stitches behind and work the next two stitches as knits, then knit those 3. I used a cable needle to hang them back out of the way, used my crochet hook to work those last 2 stitches, then the 3 from the cable needle. Voila! A cable where it should be! Then just work your way up the piece one row at a time working from right to left from the front side each row.

Now, sit back and admire your amazing knitter skillz. I didn't even bothering walking around after my family showing them my genius. (They've learned to nod, smile and back away slowly long ago). If things are a bit wonky, you can adjust the tension a few stitches to each side. If you don't like the look of it, frog the whole thing back and reknit it regular style. I was surprised that by using basically the same tension on my ladder pulled-through stitches as my usual knitting I didn't have to do much more than yank on the thing once or twice and it looks pretty darned good.

YAY!! Try this fix the next time you end up with a complicated scary thing messed up in your knitting. I was amazed!

And, since that's a heck of a lot of drab green to be viewing, here's a shot of my newest fiber (which I'm keeping all for ME!) I've hit on a pretty cool tie dye method on superwash merino that, quite simply, ROCKS! I heart it verrah much. I think it should spin up dreamy and can't wait to see how it plies up.

Happy Weekend everyone!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Fall Sockyarn Treasury

Oh my holy heck, there are some GORGEOUS fall sockyarns out there!

Falling into Socks! Etsy Treasury

TWO of those are MINE! WOO HOO! Sorry for the self promotion, but I'm just so darned excited about the whole etsy selling thing! The most dangerous part of this etsy experiment is that I keep seeing so much stuff that I need! I'm just one step above a gollum-type creature sitting amongst all the yarn saying "MY PRECIOUS" and wanting it ALL! Anyway, cooler weather sure has me wanting to KNIT MORE STUFF! How about you?

The whole idea of knitting my husband a weeks' worth of socks has hit a snag. Apparently his idea of "long socks" and mine were VERY DIFFERENT. INCHES AND INCHES different. Basically each leg part has enough stitches to count for an entire normal-sized adult male sock. *sigh* Looks like I'll be knitting dark grey/black tubes FOREVER. I'm hoping to get TWO pairs done for him. It's really hard because I'm being tempted by my own stash of sockyarn calling my name, the stuff coming out my back porch dye lab AND all the goodies I see daily on etsy. Must. Be. Strong. Resist. Buying. It. precious.....gollum, gollum, my precious....

OK, enough of that. Please go click her treasury link. Those ought to inspire you to go dig some wool out of your own stash or make room in the stash for a new precious skein or two. Remember SOCK YARN DOESN'T COUNT as stash enhancement. Especially autumn sock yarn!

Pulled this cabled sweater-to-be UFO out of the trunk. The cool weather gets me ready to KNIT! It took me a while to re-figure out where I was in the pattern. In the last 3 days I've knit the right front to match this back. Just cast on for the left front last night. Then there's just sleeves and the hood. Although, it would look adorable as a sleeveless hoodie, you know?

Pattern: Cassidy by Bonne Marie Burns
Yarn: Cascade 220 in heathery green I LOVE CASCADE 220!!!!!
Needles: sz 5 and 7 plus cable needle on this necklace thing that I also love

Here's the latest batch of goodies soon to be on etsy. I have to thank all my friends both local and blog-friends! I ended up selling almost all the last batch of fiber before I even got it posted on etsy! This last batch I saved a little bit for myself too.

That last one is silk roving and soooooooo yummy. I love my back porch dye lab!

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