Monday, August 29, 2011

Life is too short for practice.

That's what someone said on a Ravelry forum and I thought it was brilliant.  Looking back, I can see that was part of my problem learning to knit.  I was told over and over to "practice" and learn to knit making washcloths.  I hated it.  I hated the fact that I had to start with this horrid little squares with cotton yarn.  I made three, hating every minute.  I put knitting aside, I didn't know how much I was supposed to practice with these washcloths and I just wasn't going to do it, I wanted to knit socks!

Every time I expressed this the wizened ladies of the LYS would cluck at me and tell me how much I needed to practice, practice with washcloths before I tackled socks, other knitters would tell me the same thing.  I dug in my heels, folded my arms across my chest, stuck out my bottom lip and said, "NO, I don't want to!"  I know how to knit, purl, increase and decrease, I'm done knitting friggin' washcloths.

Stubbornly, I studied my first sock pattern that the LYS almost grudgingly sold me.  It took me a long time of studying, too.  So much of the pattern was foreign to me, but I read it over and over again.  I'd tuck it away for a while before pulling it out again.  I'd watch videos on Knitting Help dot com for casting on and working the heel.  This went on for several months.  No, I'm not kidding.  I was learning the mechanics of the sock, how the stitches turned to make the heel, it had to make some sort of sense to me first, that's just how I am.

Finally I cast on and started my first sock.  I learned patience.  LOL  I learned how take my time, go slow, think, knit, count, count again.  I learned how to "tink" or "knit backwards".  When I was done with the first sock I studied pictures and explanations of the Kitchener, it's a logical method and I had no idea I was supposed to be afraid of the Kitchener or that it was difficult.  I still wonder sometimes if I'm doing something wrong, as long as I have the instructions in front of me I can do it.  No, it's not committed to memory, I don't use it often enough to build up the muscle memory, but I have a dog tag with the instructions and a little card with it. 

So I learned to make socks, on my own and I've never knit another stupid washcloth.  I'm doing the same thing with my weaving.  I was going to just "practice" but as I was getting my loom warped I thought to myself, I cannot just practice, I need to make something.  I don't want to do that stupid placemat in my book that it says to start with, and going on like I am without a goal is boring... I want to make a scarf!  So that's what I've decided I'm doing, I'm making a scarf and if it sucks, I've got other ideas.  Because, ya is just too damn short for practice.  :-)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Once you start, you can't stop!

I had to push myself away from the loom.  I was having way too much fun. 

I didn't use the materials I had intended, which I had a feeling was going to happen. It's one of the reasons it's taken me so long to get started.  I couldn't decide what to use.  What I ended up using was the 2 of the 5 different colors of cotton 5/2 that I ordered.  When I first started weaving, I was using one of those colors for the weft and I wasn't pleased with the results.  I dug around in my yarn stash and found my Aslan Trends Class a sport weight that I was originally caught by its shimmery golden look, I never could figure out what to do with it.  It's working out well I think.

No idea what I'm making, LOL.  But I'm having fun doing it, so that must count for something.  It's got my mind running ahead onto my next project though.  I have a boat load of green yarn that I won in a drawing along with a pattern for a sweater that I'm truly not impressed with, now I think I know what to do with the green yarn. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

I did it!

On Sunday when DH asked what we were getting at the store he didn't even blink when I said, "soap, sandpaper and a rubber mallet."  Those were the result of posing my question to the RH group on Ravelry on how to get those dang pegs set. 

The soap and the mallet worked like a charm.  It took about 4 hours from start when I first got the pegs set into the warping board to finish the loom is dressed and ready to start weaving.  Problem is my hands are a mess and my back is achy, too.  I went to the doc this morning, I'm waiting for the results of the bloodwork.  Hopefully, we'll find the reason for every joint in my body being painful and feel swollen.  Anyway, tomorrow I'll start the actual weaving. 

Here's a picture of the warp on the warping board.  I was so tickled that I got it done.  

This here is a picture taken after I "dressed the loom".  It was rather tedious, but I learned a lot.  This is just the beginning.  I've never woven before and I'm anxious to give it a go.  I hope it's as much fun and creatively satisfying as I imagine it to be. 

Tomorrow I'll play with the different weft colors I bought.  I'm thinking this is going to be a scarf, but we'll see.  :-)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Project RH

I've been spending some time on the Ravelry group "Rigid Heddle Looms" what a great bunch of helpful people.  They've helped me quite a bit and I feel confident that when I try some of the advice I was given using my warping board that I have more trouble, they'll come to my aid.  I just can't say enough, they're great.

I've also spent some time looking at the projects these weavers have completed and I'm so blown away!  Gorgeous stuff to be sure!  I am so anxious to get started weaving and piling on the experience and learning new techniques.  Here are some samples of their work the links go directly to their Ravelry post so that credit is given as due.  :-)

A wedding shawl

Another shawl

Jeen's basket of towels

Faux Ikat Scarf


I'm positively beside myself with excitement to start my first project.  I'm going to purchase a bar of soap, some sandpaper and a rubber mallet Sunday.  Sounds odd?  Those are going to be my attempts at securing the pegs in my warping board.   I intend on warping my loom Sunday afternoon if I'm still awake or Monday after my doctor's appt.  Oh yea, gonna get checked out as to why nearly ever joint in my body is painful and swollen, before it gets so out of hand I can't do anything at all.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Geeklectic and the Warp

I'm going insane trying to warp my loom.  From my Ravelry post on a RH forum:

Three times I’ve failed. The first time I only had a few rounds made on the pegs before I lost track of which way I was going around the cross pegs. The second time I inexplicably lost tension. The third time, I just about screamed like Marion Crane. The dadgumblastedsonofaguncottonpickinevil pegs collapsed and half my work fell toward the floor, the cross section was part of it.
It’s taken the last 2.5 hours for me to calm down enough to communicate my frustration and I don’t typically get this frustrated about anything that doesn’t involve my current employer, so this has really gotten to me.
I watched the videos on warping for the Harp. I have the written instructions, too. Which says, “The pegs fit tight so don’t insert them in any manner that will cause damage to the loom.” Yea, ok, but it’s more than just TIGHT, darned near impossible, my hands HURT from trying to force those stupid pegs into the hole, afraid to use a rubber mallet to pound those suckers into the holes that barely accommodate them for fear it damage my loom.

I've gotten some good advice, from sanding the pegs a bit to going ahead and use a rubber mallet.  I may just have to do that.  One or both, I imagine.  But I can't do much until next Monday since my work week starts tonight.

I've developed a few tricks to get through my 4 graveyard shifts, so they've been a little easier.  I'm also inexplicably happy not being exposed to the daily drama of the day shift.  I don't think I have much interest in working days at that hospital, IF I didn't have to work the weekends.  Oh well, things are what they are, nothing for it.

What do you think of my new word?  Geeklectic.  Think it will catch on?  I'm an eclectic geek, so the word just kinda formed naturally.  I like such a vast array of geekery and even my fiber hobbies make me as much a of a yarn geek as it does a fiber diva.  Can I be both?  Ah, a Geeklectic Fiber Diva.  YEA!  ;-)

About those podcast reviews.  I know I haven't gotten to them yet and I still want to do them.  Things were insane at work so getting a break to write a little, just didn't happen and the last few days I've had off have been spent doing other things.  I haven't forgotten, they'll happen.  :-)

UPDATE:  I'm sadden to say that my new word is not an original.  I should have Googled it first, but I still came up with it on my own, that should count for something, right?  *big sigh*  Oh well.  Reality is a bitch.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!

On my way home from work this early Sunday morning I stopped at the post office.  Usually there isn't much in the box from the Saturday delivery, but you never can tell.  When I opened the box I squee'd.  Laying within was my first pair of the coveted and very expensive Signature Needles.  I had another stop to make and managed to resist opening up the mailing tube that held these sticks of heavenly knitting.

As soon as I got home, I told myself to at least change my clothes and put away my laptop, cellphone, and iPod.  Yea, right.  Riiiiiiip!  I tore into that tube like a kid on Christmas morning.  As I poured the knitting needles out of the tube into my anxious hands I heard nothing, not even my little dog Jaxx barking his fool head off for me to pick him up for his snuggles.  These needles have no equal.  I haven't even knit with them yet, but their heft is formidable, they're well balanced and dayyum they're classy looking.  Knitting with these compared to bamboo needles is supposed to be like comparing a Ferrari to a Subaru.  One is economical and practical, the other...well...isn't.  Not to mention that you'll get to your destination a wee bit faster.

I'll don the driving gloves and head scarf (knitted of course) and give these babies a test drive after I've had some sleep.

UPDATE:  oooh boy, I'm gonna get more of these!  The only thing I wish I had done differently is ordered them in 14" instead of 10".  But that's ok.  I knitted 2 rows, the first row to get my project on the new needles, the second row because it's the wrong side row.  Positively dreamy.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

sometimes I just don't think

ho boy, I may have blown it. 
You see, I'm looking for a new job.  Now they're few and far between in my field in my area and the hours that I can live with. Currently, I'm waiting to hear if I even get an interview with the one place I *want* to work at.

So what did I do?  Well...I needed some uplifting and it's been about 10 years since I'd colored my hair.  So I bleached a front bit and then dyed it omfg is it PINK!  Yea, I love it.  But it may put a damper on my quest.  Then I thought about it a minute.  I have pierced nose and a tattoo on my neck.  How much is pink hair going to affect my chances.  LOL!

Well, need to take a nap before going to work.  I fucking hate working overnights. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I didn't do it.

Yea, I was supposed to dress my loom today wasn't I?  I got myself distracted by puffy eyes and the raw milk debate.  You don't want to know. 

That's ok, gives me more time to work on my podcast review. 

Stopped by Allyn Knits today, they had a clearance sale going on and of course my Jeep drifted into their parking lot.  I needed some new #8 straights anyway, so what the heck.  I bought some gorgeous green that I'm going to make some socks from and, get this, sugar cane yarn!  Yup, I'm really anxious to knit this up.  I'm pretty sure it's going to be a scarf, it feels like one.  The lady at AK said that you'd use it just like you would silk.  It's so soft and luscious that I have to have this around my neck.
This here is the sugar cane.

I was disappointed that they didn't have any metal straights.  I'm tired of my bamboo sticking and yet they  manage to sell me some "highly polished" bamboo that's supposedly more slippery.  I haven't tried them yet, but will in the next few days or so.

Tomorrow night, during my break at work, I'll be getting my first podcast review typed up.  Are you ready for it?  ;-)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Too Much Purple?

One of my favorite books from childhood is Harold and the Purple Crayon.   Armed with nothing more than a gigantic purple crayon Harold created his world.  If he needed a door, he drew a door.  If he was hungry, he drew a pie!  That purple crayon was awesome!  I don't know what came first though, my love for purple or coveting Harold's crayon.  I still love purple but I've grown to add other colors to my palette.  Green for instance.  Though I will always go back to purple, I'm currently having a love affair with green.  Unlike Harold, I don't like crayon green, you know the color.  The same green that, in grade school we made construction paper Christmas ornaments for the tree.  No, what I like are the various shades of sage and olive green.  Right now I'm dreaming of green.  Purple is just not giving me the satisfaction I desire at the moment.  The problem.  My CPH is purple.

I made a horrifying discovery this morning while unpinning the two front panels from the blocking board.  Actually, it was while putting away the pieces of the blocking board (I use the blocking mats by Knit Picks).  I put the panels on top of the plastic storage bin and while doing so, noticed the bag of purple yarn in bin.  Oh, I may have some left over when I'm done with the CPH.  I have the two sleeves, the hood and then the button band.  There was the bag of 3 skeins sitting next to the box, I had left it ther

I pulled the bin down and opened it.  Yup, there's 10 more skeins.  That's 13 left.  hmm  Uhm, wait a second.  I moved aside some green skeins and found yet another 10 skeins of the purple.  Yu-oh, 23 skeins left.  How much of this purple have I already used?  I had to dig a little to find out how much I had bought originally.  35 of the 109yd/50gPeruvian Highland Donegal.  THIRTY FIVE and I have 23 left!  I've used 12??? Number 12 was just started, too!  *banging head*  What was I thinking?  How can this be? I double checked my math.  I wanted to make this hoodie about 2 sizes bigger than I needed, as I like my jackets/hoodies baggy.  So, the pattern said 20 of 183yd/110g skeins.  I thought all I had to do was divide 3660yd by 109yd.  I guess I should have considered the weight difference as well.  I'm curious to find how much I will have left over when I'm done. 

BTW, I did make gauge.  I use my gauge swatch on top of my cpu where I set my iPod.

Which reminds me, I am going to try to bring my geekery and my love of fiber crafts together.  Stay tuned for future posts where I plan on reviewing knitting/fiber podcasts and apps.  If that goes well, I will be reviewing knitting gadgets, too!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Haven't Forgotten

I might post later today after I've had some sleep.  I've just been too exhausted or playing WoW again to post.  I forgot how much WoW helped me when I was thoroughly and utterly *pissed* at my job.  Anyway, I need to get some sleep. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Really?  Is it that hard to provide good customer service? 

I was relatively pleased that the response to my email to Halcyon Yarns about my back-ordered items was a notice that my substitute colors I had suggested was being sent.  An automated notice, mind you.  All well and good, but it would have been really nice if BEFORE they had sent me the auto notice, they might have sent me an email letting me know that they were going to be sending xy and z.  If they had done that, I would have been able to tell them, hey-o, you're only sending me 1 of the sub color for the color I ordered 2.  But no, just an auto email and when I get my order I excitedly rip into the package and find only one mini-cone of my warp color. *cry* 

So, I'm trying to decide if I should alter my project and just go with what I have.  I did send them an email about this additional problem.  But I don't think I'll be doing business with them again.  They're just not communicative and it would have taken care of some issues if they'd bothered to talk to me.  Oh, and they have my damn phone number, too.  As long as they're name comes over the caller ID I'll answer the phone. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Reading Is Fun-damental

I have been a voracious reader since I first was able to read the rousing adventures of Dick, Jane & Spot.  I've enjoyed stories by well known authors as well as the obscure.  Really.  I mean not everyone has read the dusty tome that I read when I was about 14 years old called "A Dog's Head"by Jean Dutourd.  Just now I looked for it on Amazon and it was actually reprinted in 1998.  It's original print date was 1951 in Paris.  Translated to English in 1953.  By far, that was the weirdest book I'd ever read to date.

I've read an amazing glut of bad books.  I've also been known to label a book good, when the author stinks but the story was wonderful.  Sometimes it's hard to get through a poorly written book, but when the story is good, sometimes my mind can fill in the blanks left by the author.  But a bad story, cannot be saved by the best writer.  Trust me, I may not be able to write very well (look at my blog people, this is the best I can do, LOL) but I can read, I'm a dreamer and I'm an artist, I know a good book when I read it.

Is there such a thing as a bad story?  Oh, I don't know.  Maybe just a story that's been done so many times that only a gifted writer can pull me in.  I'm that way about bodice rippers.   Admit it they're all the same. Very formulaic.  Different spirited woman, different roguish man, an impossible setting be it a boat or a parlor room....need I go on?  Formulaic.  I'm not saying formulas don't work, they do!  Look at Stephen King, he most certainly writes by formula, but the formula is a fine thread, so fine you forget about the formula a get into the story.

A good story, though, can be bogged down by details (think Anne Rice) and over done characters (Anne Rice again).  It can also get lost when there are too many characters that the writer is trying to write about.  To me a book slices out a portion of life and tells that story, it doesn't care about the guy in the next car driving down the freeway UNLESS it's going to impact the main character(s) in some way.

It also seems to be a rarity these days to have stand alone novels.  Everything is a series it seems.  Seldom do I find a book and not think "oh, that sounds interesting.  What book 3?  CRAP!"  Sometimes I just wan to move from one book to another.  New characters, new settings, new stories.  But I can hardly look at the books on my Kindle or Nook and find one that is a stand alone.  Maybe it's just a talent I have to find series.

As I was saying though, I've read a lot of books good and bad.  One day, while flipping through a magazine, I saw a book review on a newly released novel.  I was intrigued and immediately downloaded it onto my Kindle.  It was, by and far, the VERY BEST BOOK I HAVE EVER READ to date.  No kidding.  Imagine my smugness as  it grew in popularity.  I had already read the book and was feeling pretty good about it.  I have no idea why. 

Oh, you probably are wondering what book that was, silly me.  A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness