Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Yarn Matters

Good old Ravelry. I got my CSA share from Juniper Moon Farm a few months ago. Checking to see what others planned to do with their dk Cormo yarn, I read that the first thing was to foof it out by soaking the skeins in water. Whoa. Glad I heard to do that--it makes a b-i-i-i-g-g difference!

Here are the skeins as received:

Color is yellower than real life

And post-soak. All foofed out, as you can see!

It wouldn't even fit in a square frame!

That could make such a big difference in the final product! Still haven't figured out what I'm going to do with it. It's not quite a sweater's worth, but more than a scarf. Perhaps I'll experiment with indigo dyeing it and figure out for what later.

Lately I've been having fun using up stash with the Crazed Scandinavian Cowl

It's fun because the pattern changes frequently--all sorts of traditional and modern Scandinavian fair isle that I decided to mix up further with various selections of Knit Picks Chroma.  Then at nearly the half way mark (300 of the 600 rows), I looked back and found this:

It's what happens when you knit in dim winter light. Some of my "white" wasn't so white. Some of it was ivory! I decided to laugh and consider it another element of crazy in the crazed cowl.
As the tube grows, I am thinking I might stop well before I do all 600 rows. Doubling what I have at the halfway point, this thing could be 6 feet in diameter! That is way more cowlage than one person needs or possibly could even see over. Maybe I could  do it as two cowls?

One more yarnly yarn. Handmaiden's Great Big Sea has been discontinued. I found some beautiful skeins on sale intending to knit for a special event. Then my idea got bigger, and the yarn was still available, and somehow my pile got bigger.  And then the event was cancelled. The yarn makes a beautiful arrangement in a basket on the coffee table. I wonder what it wants to become now?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Owl's Well

I've been not-blogging for quite a spell, so there's quite a bit to catch up on.

First up is the Tale of the Owl Mitts. It started with a friend's Instagram post of a pair of fingerless owl mitts captioned merely "Want!" I knew she A. was not a knitter, B. is a big-time bird lover, and C. there was a good chance the pattern or something very like it was on Ravelry. Found the pattern in about 2 minutes and told her about it, offering to make her a pair.

Like many passionate knitters, money can't buy my work. To put a real dollar value on the time it takes to knit something, even a small thing,  makes for a ridiculous price tag that seems all out of proportion.  To set a nominal price is to trivialize the effort and possibly make the item undervalued in a non-monetary sense. So barter is often a good solution. A chunk of my skill and time for a chunk of yours. We still haven't hit on exactly what her part of the trade will be, but figuring it out is all part of the fun.

Meanwhile, I took some measurements, bought the pattern, and pulled the perfect owl-brown alpaca from the stash. I cast on. Knitting the mitts was a fun, cable-y time. But what about the eyes? Eyes are crucial to the appearance of the owls. Most of the versions of the pattern (and Kate Davies' Owls sweater, Owligan, and Owlet) use small buttons, so off to the store I went. What I found were exactly four small stuffed animal eyes with black pupil and clear plastic iris. Pretty good, but even better if the iris was a bright yellow. If I could find the right nail polish, I could paint the back of the clear area, and, reader, I did!

(Bottom portion shows upended eyes with paint/polish drying)

 Add eyes to owls, and the effect is perfect piercing owl stare-eyes!

Mitts were ready for their wearer, and very happily received to keep hands warm in a cold studio.

The owls' stare has also come in handy for admonishing family members. When held up as outward-facing fists, her kids call them "the Owls of Justice." As in, "don't make me get out the Owls of Justice!"

And just to confirm the lifelike gaze of the Owls of Justice, take a look at a Great Horned Owl that once perched on my deck:

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Small Things

My next Seven Skeins project is the Stranded Bunnet, but it's not my best work. This happens to me sometimes with Sudoku, too. I go crashing along and then find out when I'm nearly done that I've screwed up back there somewhere and it's too late to find the mistake without erasing/frogging everything back to the beginning.

The gauge or something was off, and it ended up somewhere between a beanie and a slouch. My double decreases were wrong, and they look like rubbish. On only 1 of the 5 decrease lines the Coo color predominated, so I stitched it over with Ptarmigan in order to make it look a little more like the others. Bleh. Still keeps the noggin warm, though.

One of the fun things that happened with the hat was needing new needles. Yes, although I have many many needles of many many kinds in many many sizes, I did not have a set of 4mm dpns. I'm sure this never happens to you, right? So I hie me to my nearest yarn shop and come away with these beauties:

See the points? Half blunt end up, half pointy
Addi Flipstix. One end of each needle is sharp; the other is rounded. A handy feature, but you do have to pay attention every time you start on a new needle that is the way round that you prefer. I think it's delightful that each set is multicolored. I'm not sure what benefit that confers, but it makes them look fun, and just right for knitting the great colors of Buachaille.

But all is not Buachaille all the time. Like a true acolyte of the Yarn Harlot, I get sidetracked by other projects, to wit:  The Fish Bone Scarf from a Morehouse Farm kit.

I bought a bunch of kits from them, and this was one. It was a quick, fun knit, but not a terribly practical scarf. Nice and soft, but too lacy to be very warm, and it needs to be worn as in the picture to display what it is. I made the tail bigger than the pattern said, and added a yarnover eye to make it look fishier.

Also from Morehouse is a kit for their Dinosaur Scarf, which I made into a Dragon Scarf, mainly by making meaner eyes and trying to rig up some fire breathing instead of a flat round tongue. The shaping of the piece is really genius. Except for separate upper and lower jaw, the whole thing is knitted in one piece. Really fun to knit and pretty cool looking.

  Morehouse has designs for lots of animal scarves--alligator, fox, raccoon--a bunch of them are in their book Critter Knits.

Finally there has been enough clear weather and daylight to photograph the Solar System Blanket in all of its glory. (Pause to consider the irony of depending on sidereal conditions.) It was given and, I think, much appreciated, to my friendly local astronomer for Christmas.