Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Good News, Bad news

OK , I have been knitting.. my poncho like shawl is now 18 inches (unblocked) and I still am knitting-- And thinking about an edging.. I might be crazy and add a ruffle. I started out with over 200 stitches, and now have over 300, and to make a ruffle, I would double (to 600) and doubling again (1200!) but I am thinking.. it would be a nice edging.. (insanity might prevail!)

Here's an image from when it was only 15 inches long. It stayed 15 inches long forever-- then 1 more repeat (4 rows) and it shot up to 18 inches!

The yarn is a super fine super soft mohair--it's Lineapui Yarn--an Italian yarn company that only sells to the industry, (not retail to home knitters) and I suspect, because of the strength of the yarn, it has a core of silk –maybe not 100% silk, but a percentage –the yarn is almost impossible to break by hand.

The fibers are super soft (I love mohair, but I know, it can be scratchy/fluffy, not soft/fluffy) and yarn is a single ply cobweb—lace weight..(about 28 to 30 wraps to the inch)
I'm working 2 strands held together, and serendipitously, in these 2 colors--a dark purple, and a light aqua blue. (Do you think I like these colors? )
About half my wardrobe is made up of these colors... (and has been since I was a teen!)
When worked together, they create a totally new color.(Read the newest issue of Interweave Knits for an explanation.)--This came about because I was impatient to swatch the yarn.

Instead of winding off a few yards, or a whole skein, I took 2 cones, and worked 2 strands in 2 colors.. and I like the result so much—that I kept at it.

In the not so good news department, I am having (for me) a rare allergy attack.

Several years ago, my sister M (I have three sisters, D, G, and M!) got Neutrogenia's home dermabrasion kit.. It came with a small hand held, battery operated applicator, replaceable sponge pads that clipped on, and a micro fine abrasive cream. She gave me a facial once –and I loved it.--and certainly her skin looked good.

I've been seeing the 'refill packs' for ages, but for the longest time didn't see the 'starter kit' with the applicators.

Recently, Neutrogenia has been selling the applicator with 'skin rejuvinator' cleaning pads (the kind that look like fine nylon scrub pads) I've used scrub pads like this in the past, so, I invested. I figured I start with the cleaning pads, and at some time in the future, I'd get one the micro-dermabrasion refills.

I first used it on Wednesday, and my skin felt a bit tingle-ee--but I thought that was a good thing. Most of these products work by slightly abrading your skin (to promote new, fresh skin growth)
Used it again Friday, and well that was my mistake.. the tingle-ee feeling gave way to burning and redness, and itchiness, and huge red bumps, and well—my skin looked rejuvenated in a way-- I looked like a teen with a bad case of acne! (and while its a bit better today, it's still pretty awful!)--which annoys me no end.

I am no great beauty, (not ugly, but not beautiful) --but I have (normally!) great skin. It's smooth, it's soft, it's mostly wrinkle free (its getting a bit crepe-ee now as I am getting older)--but it's still one of my best features. I am not pretty enough to have my skin messed up--my good looking skin is the prime reason I am passably good looking!

(Neutrogenia's help line was helpful, and the quickly refunded my money--and would I am sure done more, if I asked for more.. but I didn't.)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Strange, Strange... I know I am strange!

I've knit 8 to 10 shawls in the past 5 years –(that is, since I've started being somewhat methodical about keeping records and photographs)--more if you consider the soft lacy over sized scarves as small shawl.

I'm making yet another now. It's beautiful, the mohair is silky soft, the colors are like the sky, both day and night. The pattern, simple and enjoyable. In less than a week, enough yarn to knit 9+ inches lace have slipped between my fingers.

Before I started this shawl, I was in a slump and hadn't finished anything for almost a month—OK I got a hat knit, and a few inches on WIP, but the socks I've been working on since Bobmas Eve, haven't worked out as I envisioned, and have been frogged back to the toe.

But last weeks stash enhancement got me fired up. (this image is from earlier in the week, when I only had about 4, maybe 5 inches worked.

Thing is; I rarely wear shawls.

I love knitting them. I love the look of them, I love them. But I almost never were a shawl.

I've given 2 shawls to my DIL--she always has a scarf or lace shawl draped around her neck.. It thrills me when I see her wearing ones I've knit. She knits too, and many of her shawls are her own handywork—she also is pretty crafty, and fashions scarfs from fabric as well as knitting them.

But, there in a casual photo, of some everyday activity, I see it, round her shoulders and neck—something I've knit! I look at the photographs, I smile, and I gag!

I hate things wrapped round my neck--and I want to unwrap the shawl and let it loose! I see the shawl, and I feel, as I would feel myself: half strangled! I could never wear a scarf or shawl wrapped round my neck like that!

Same goes for some of my knitting friends.. I see them wrap and double wrap lace or wool, triangles or rectangles, round their necks and Ugh, I feel I can't breath just looking at them.

And here I am, knitting yet another shawl.. I'll wear it once or twice.. and likely it will sit in a drawer.

And then next month, or next season, or next year, I'll make another one.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

SABLE-- Plus

I have to start taking better care of myself. My yarn stash already exceeds my life expectancy, and yesterday.. I bought more!

(and I already have plans for more still!)

I stumbled onto a local, (well if you define local as with in 10 miles of home) person, who has been charged with selling off cones of yarn left over from his fathers garment business.. he has several hundred cones.. mostly, wools, some with clearly marked tags inside the cones, (ie; labeled 100% cashmere, made in scotland) and some with just manufacturers codes, ie:
2/29
8940 545
Silk City Fiber
(telephone #)
lot 65956
Lettuce (the color name)

The seller views the whole thing as a chore.. (it took me weeks to get an appointment to buy this stuff.)

There is a limited selection of colors, and some are dusty/dirty.. (and some are stained—the stains look like they will wash out.. but.. Buyer beware) and there is no order or organization.

Want 2 cones of the same color/same yarn? He might have.. but, you have to rummage through boxes and boxes to find stuff.
Some are super fine mohairs, some are ribbon yarns (cotton, silk blends, viscoses) some are a bit soiled, some have the 'waxy/oiled' finish for machine yarn.. (the red> fine and superfine cashmere..(compaired to a dime)

I got some wools (they might be merino—but I haven't cracked the code to be sure) 2lbs, 14 oz cones-- of white fingering weight wool--I am going to have fun dying these!--the large white cones are wool, the other colors, are superfine mohairs. (each cone of the mohair weighs about 1 to 1.50 pounds)

I got some silk..OMG! (and I never say OMG, but!) a pound of natural (undyed) silk! --and silk is as easy to dye as wool.. (Now I just have to find the right color!)

I got some angora..(no photo) I got some mohairs..I got some cashmeres >4 fingering weight skeins (each about 8 ounces) and 3 superfine cones, (right side of image) --there is a pair of cashmere socks in my future.. the light beiges might be overdyed to more interesting colors.

I really need to take care of myself.. I need to live to be 150 just to be able to knit up the yarn I have now... (and I keep getting more!)

Best of all? All these cones, and 2 more, and the angora--(10 small skeins) was under $75!)

(and sorry about the photo quality.. my new camera is (in theory) better--I have to learn to use it. No matter how advanced the technology--this end user has a remarkable ability to mess up when using!)


FYI—SABLE is short for “Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy”



Thursday, May 01, 2008

Beltane, May Day, Lei Day, What ever you call it, its the 1st!

When I was a kid, and read or watched on TV, idea's of what the future would be like was very different than today's reality. Most futurist in the 1950 and 1960's totally missed the advent and growth of home computers; and home broadcasting was never a part of the vision!

Home movies were popular then--My dad always had the best camera he could afford, a Kodak 8mm home movie camera and projector—when I was very young—and took home movies all through the 1950's an well into the 1960's

The Movies were interesting, but there was no sound (you needed a seperate recording devise) and the amount of light needed was blinding, (we are always squinting!) Setting up the camera was a big deal (there were so many things to adjust and get right-- Once set up—the whole thing was bulky and awkward especially for indoor shots.. there was never any doubt that the camera was on—and all to often people mugged for the show.

But we didn't just have home movies of parties and trips to the zoo, we had real movies too.

The best were the reels of Abbot and Costello films, (silent movies with story cards for dialog!) that my dad had purchased. Many a holiday was finished off watch Abbot and Costello meet the Werewolf (or the Count Dracula, or Frankenstein) again.

Still, we never thought that our home movies were of interest to anyone but our family (and at times, even we weren't all that interested!)

What a different world today!

I have been experimenting with making You Tube video's. (What, I should be different from the rest of the world?)--And I have been doing some house cleaning on my blog (more to come!).

Right now, (a bit hard to find) but it's there—I've added link to my “Page of Links”--A one stop shopping center to find free Patterns, tutorials, recipes, on my blog, and a small but growing collection of knitting and non-knitting pages I find interesting.

There are more links to come—this is a work in progress—I want/need to edit the page some more –First I need to brush up on some of my html codes!-- to also make the page easier to navigate. With 'quick links' inside the page, so you don't have to scroll through the entire thing to find things.

One of the New set of Links on the page are a small (but growing) set of You Tube cast on tutorials.

There is one video for long tail, (and several variations) and a crochet cast on –for non-crocheter's—a no waste yarn version of the Italian (aka tubular) cast on.. a growing collections. The newest (and so far, the best--practice does actually improve things!) is a Channel Island Cast on.

Eventually I want to have a complete collection of all the cast on's I know—Of course, some of them will have to be redone, --as my skills improve but in the meanwhile enjoy this free mini class on how to do the Channel Island cast on. I hope you'll look at the others, too!