Sunday, December 30, 2007

Well isn't that *lovely*. Not.

Had a rather unpleasant experience on a fiber e-mail list today. You see, I asked what I thought was a simple question about weaving with rayon chenille. One of the more experienced weavers on the list said it took "special handling". I asked what "special handling" meant, thinking that the answer might be fairly simple or that multiple weavers would chime in with their experiences/advice. It would seem that the question may be simple but the answer takes up about four book chapters, which is fine. I was referred to said weaver's book on the subject of rayon chenille, which she also stated was no longer available. I thanked the weaver for her response, replied that I wasn't asking for the book to be reprinted in e-mail and explained that I had thought there might be some sort of general guideline like "always/never wash in the machine, use a tighter/looser sett than for a similar weight non-chenille yarn, or always avoid/use a particular weave structure". The author replied that she understood what I was looking for, but was unable to provide it, which I understand. Others on the list were not so understanding, which led to a nasty discussion of how newbies are too lazy to look up their own answers and expect the experts to tell them everything even in violation of copyright law. ?!?!?

The part that really irked me was that I was advised by a list member to consult with my "weaving buddies" about this question. You see, I thought I was consulting my weaving buddies. I don't have fiber friends in real life, just on the internet. Heck, after moving eighteen months ago, I don't have *any* friends in real life, just on the internet or on the phone. Being ignorant and new to weaving, I thought I was asking a simple question. Apparently I was instead being offensive and an extreme burden to the "experts" who are forced to answer repetitive questions from idiots such as myself.

To top it all off, the list owner says she's tired of it all and is considering closing down the list. Mind you, the person who initially responded to my question doesn't think there was a problem with either my question or my reply back to her thanking her for her explanation of why she couldn't give a simple answer, because there isn't a simple answer to that question. I'm not quite sure why others have gotten their knickers in knots or why the listmom took this as the reason to consider pulling the plug.

Yay. This is the sort of thing that has resulted in my *rarely* ever asking for help with anything and also rarely answering questions on list. I ask one question and the universe blows up. I guess it's my fault that other people on the weaving list have overextended themselves and feel burdened by answering questions. I guess I'm responsible for taking care of people I have never met and making sure everything is ok for them before I say or do anything. I can't manage that for people I see at work or in real life, never mind people on the internet. Grrrrrrrrrr.

Update: apparently the listowner decided against shutting down the list. Now someone else has stirred things up, so perhaps people will forget about me. :-) I did, by the way, get several kind messages from list members who pointed out that I didn't actually start the flamewar, pinning the blame instead, on someone who protested unpleasantly about what she thought was a non-answer from the book author. Anyway, I'm still on the list, but in deep lurk mode, and may drop off in the next few weeks.

Friday, December 28, 2007

More Hat Madness

I am apparently on a hat binge. I have started another hat for the chemo cap recipient. This one should be a bit smaller than the first one, so should fit better after the hair hiatus starts. The yarn is Yarn Bee Mosaic Twist in the color Terra Rosa. I'm following Yarn Harlot's Unoriginal Hat Pattern and using size 10.5 needles. I got the idea by trolling Ravelry to see what others had made with this yarn. Threadbndr made this very hat with this yarn (different color) and it looked pretty good, so I figured I'd give it a go too. It's a cabled hat, so it will take a bit more work than a plain stockinette or garter stitch hat. I have not yet figured out how to do cables without a needle, so I have to fiddle with it, which slow things down. With any luck, I might get it finished by the end of the weekend.

Knitting Journal/Record
I found my knitting notebook last night. Well, technically I found it a couple of weeks ago when I was putting my knitting magazines back in order, but I actually looked at it last night. I have found the address of the hospital to which I used to send preemie hats and sweaters. One year I knit over a dozen hats for charity, using up yarn I wouldn't otherwise have used. I also donated a couple dozen skeins of acrylic yarn to a local retirement home for their craft program. Of course, said home was closed that same year so I have no idea if they ever had a chance to use the yarn. I really miss not being able to shop at the Garson Home's craft bazaar every fall.

I have dutifully recorded the current works in progress as well as all the finished projects that I can remember. Now that I think about it, I can remember more works in progress that I forgot to list. I also made a list of projects that I'd like to work on in the near future.

Knitting Weekend
I have four days off from work. I intend to spend a good chunk of it knitting. New Year's Day I'll be watching at least two football games, so ought to be able to crank out a good bit on my 2nd sock.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Holiday Hatness!

I am pleased to report that both hats were a big success. I have photos of the hats. I do not have photos of the hats on the recipients. Dude and Dudette were not interested in slowing down long enough to have pictures taken.

Dudette squeed loudly when she pulled her hat out of the gift bag and waved it around. "Look Mommy what Aunt M made me!" She also declared that she *loved* it and that it was very soft. I think she put it on for about 2 seconds before she got too excited and had to charge back into the rest of the stack of presents awaiting her.

The pink fluffy hat was knit with Yarn Bee Frosting in the color Candy Dots on size 10 needles using the Zebedee Hat Pattern. I decided against threading the ribbon through the eyelets as the pattern directed when I discovered that I couldn't actually find the eyelets. I laced the thread through what I thought were eyelets, but then the ribbon didn't really show up in the furry yarn, so I used yarn and both pink and purple ribbon to make the pompom. Technically the pompom isn't quite on the top of the hat. Apparently where I thought the top of the hat was wasn't really the top, but it's close and nobody but me is ever going to notice. Dudette loves it and that's good enough for me.

Dude's hat wasn't quite finished in time for the official present opening session. I very nearly made the deadline, but hadn't gotten the plain facing tacked down on the inside. That was accomplished just before lunch and Dude said it was cool, though he was way more interested in the new Play-Doh and definitely didn't want to wear it at the time. And who can blame him!? He did say there were spiders on it. I don't think the hat was quite as cool as the Spider Man pajamas that I gave him, but he did say it was good, it fits and he knows that Auntie made it for him.

The hat was knit in Wendy Peter Pan on size 3 needles using the Spidey Hat pattern found here. By the end of the top of the hat, I had a good handle on the two-handed, two-color knitting thing. I can't decide if I need to practice it more right now or take a break for a little bit and finish some existing projects. I feel a whole lot more comfortable with keeping my tension even between my two hands.

New Aquisitions
While visiting family, I picked up a bunch of Patons Classic Wool at Michael's, of all places. It was on sale, so I picked up enough of the cream/natural color to knit myself a cardigan. I saw the perfect cabled cardigan pattern a few weeks ago in the Patternworks catalog and conveniently I have a gift certificate I should use soon, since it's a couple years old.

Also acquired were: Elsebeth Lavold's Viking Patterns for Knitters and The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns by Ann Budd. Last, but not least, I was given two skeins of Unique Sheep's Verve sock yarn in Brookside and Lights. I didn't actually remember picking either of these colors, but I like them both very much, especially since I could use some green-based socks like Brookside will produce.

On the Needles....
Another chemo cap for the same recipient as hat number one. The first hat fits perfectly now, but we're not sure how well it will fit once the hair hiatus begins, so I'm going to knit another one a bit smaller. I have already cast on one hat using Yarn Bee Mosaic Twist from Hobby Lobby. This yarn is normally $6.50 a skein, but was on sale for $0.99/skein. I have two skeins in each of two colors, which ought to be plenty for a hat or four. I also have plenty of Lion Brand Homespun (the yarn from which I knit the first hat) in four different colors.

The Swan Lake Shawl is sitting in its little basket waiting patiently for its wing to be finished. I'm not purposefully avoiding it, but I'm not overly excited to work on it either.

On the sock front, I have started the second of the braided toeholder socks while I was traveling. I'm about halfway through the ribbing now. The Arrowhead Lace sock is still waiting to be finished. I didn't take it with me on my trip this year. I worked on it a year ago and ended up having to rip out about an inch of it. The pattern is just complex enough that I can't follow it accurately and carry a conversation, so I didn't even try this time. (See! I can learn!) I might get a big chunk of knitting done this next weekend since I have four days off. Then again I might get distracted by something else.

There are two knitalongs starting that I will probably do. One is the Spring Shawl Surprice and the other is the Secret of the Stole 2. SOTS2 has already started, if I recall correctly, and Spring Shawl starts in January. Or vice versa. I'm also a member of the Mystic Waters knitalong, but didn't actually start the shawl. I can't decide if I really like the pattern, now that I'm seeing it knit up.

I will haul out my Freedom Sweater as soon as I finish one of my socks and see if I can't get the sweater finished before the end of the winter. That's my winter knitting goal: finish the Freedom Sweater.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Spidey Hat, Update 2

I'm not quite halfway through the body of the spider at the beginning of the evening....

The color work is going ok. I'm starting to get the hang of the left hand tension. I will block the had hard to even out the knitting. The black stitches are a bit looser than the colors since they have more floats. This makes them look funny, but I think it will even out just fine in the wash. Now that I'm having my colorwork practice, I'm gaining confidence in tacking my sister's sweater again. (I started knitting her Alice Starmore's Armagh over ten years ago, but kept stranding too tightly so the knitting wouldn't lay flat. And no, that's not a picture of my sweater.)

Chemo Hat Update
The chemo hat should have arrived at its destination today. Today, coincidentally, is also the day of its owner's first chemo treatment. I included a note telling the recipient to let me know how the hat fits and that I'll be happy to send along additional hats so she doesn't have to wear the same one all the time.

Sock Knitting Plans
I discovered yesterday that my black socks are wearing out. They're really soft, fuzzy commercially made socks. I'll have to knit myself some new ones. Of course, I have no black sock yarn. I also need some dark green socks (and have no dark green sock yarn either). Sigh. I have plenty of bright spring-y/summery colors, but few darker, solid colors. Part of me says to quickly knit up the wool sock yarns I have and get them out of the way before getting new black or charcoal yarn. I think the cotton-blend yarns can wait until closer to spring.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Hat Pics

No, I still haven't put the ribbon into the Zebedee yet or the pom-pom onto the top of it. The ribbon is sitting on Pooh's feet though, ready to go. I'm mulling over how to secure the ends of the ribbon inside the hat. I might loop it around a purl bar and then sew it to itself. Hopefully the ends of the ribbon won't fray or else I'll have to find my Fray Check.

I'm just ready to start the red section of the Spider Man hat. I'm very glad that there is a facing/lining to the hat because some of the floats in the blue section are very long and would probably be played with by a 2-3 year old child. I know I'd have fussed with them if it was my hat. This hat may be a bit large for Dude too, though the gauge is spot on, so a lining would help it fit better as well as be warmer. With any luck, I'll get halfway through the spider chart this evening. Tomb Raider 2 is on....

Post-Movie Update: I got 5 rounds of the red chart done before bed time. I'll start earlier tomorrow evening, instead of surfing the web aimlessly, and make up for lost time.

In Other News....
The Spinners', Weavers' and Knitters' Housecleaning Pages website is shutting down in February. The owner of the site is burned out and didn't get the financial assistance she needed to keep the site running. A member of one of the Yahoogroups weaving lists is hoping to keep it going at a different site and I've volunteered to help with the technical end. With any luck, the site owner will share her files and we can just migrate and redesign the site before relaunching it on a new server. We could start from scratch, but that would make things more difficult and time consuming. So, if things go well, I could end up providing website support for both the Antique Pattern Library and the Housecleaning Pages.

Next step: to start bringing in some paying webdev/maintenance jobs. :o)

Update: The owner of the Housecleaning Pages has decided to keep them running, but to charge a fee to post an ad. Yay!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Who Knew Ribbon Was Hard To Find?!

It took me three tries, but I finally found some purple satin ribbon. Apparently nobody stocks satin or grosgrain ribbon, unless it's 2 inches wide and wired. I found plenty of organza ribbon in 3/8 to 5/8 inch widths and printed or striped ribbon, but not just the plain stuff. I finally tracked down what I needed at Wal-Mart where 5/8 inch satin ribbon is sold for $0.36/yard. The fabric department ladies were having a good time and enjoying themselves, which was fun too.

Now that I've got most of my household chores done for the day, I need to get a move on with the Spidey Hat. Or else finish the top of Zebedee. Time's a wasting!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

One Hat Down, One To Go....

The Zebedee Hat is finished. Well, the knitting is finished. It turns out the ribbon I bought isn't satin ribbon, but organza ribbon, so it vanishes when set against the hat. I'll have to get to the fabric store in the morning and get some 3/8" satin ribbon. Once I have the ribbon I can finish things up and make a pom-pom for the hat. I suppose I could use some of the organza ribbon in the pom-pom.

Spidey is Underway
I have started the Spider Man hat. So far I'm about 4 rows into it. I'm working on my two-handed color work and have discovered that I am basically unable to tension the yarn in my left hand. It's the pattern color, so I think it'll be ok if it's a bit loose tension-wise. I'm getting 7 stitches to the inch on the tension, so had to do a bit of last minute adjusting. I had initially planned on getting 6 stitches to the inch. With seven stitches per inch, I am able to work 4 repeats of the spider pattern in the hat, instead of three. I think it will look nicer with four repeats.

There are 58 rows in the spider chart, plus there is a facing for the inside of the hat to be knit (so another 58 rows in a single color). There are 11 days until Christmas, so I need to knit about 11 rows a day between now and then. I may end up knitting at my lunch hour and listening to podcasts. I've decided to NOT put a pom-pom on this hat. I think it would take away from the pattern design. Once I get past the blue stripe at the bottom of the hat, I'll post a picture.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Hat Progress

Thanks for the cheering and encouragement in getting this done!!

The Zebedee hat is moving right along. I'm done with the first repeat of the eyelet pattern. I don't know that I'll be able to find the eyelets in this yarn, but I'll lace through the purple ribbon anyway. I'll be the only person who will know that there are eyelets in there that may or may not have gotten ribboned. With any luck, I might get this hat finished this evening! My niece is going to look like she's wearing Muppet fur, but I think it looks really cute and it's definitely in her favorite colors.

The Spidey hat will take a bit longer since it's not only at a tighter gauge, it's also colorwork. On the other hand, I will get to practice my two-handed colorwork for the first time in a long while.

Here's a pic of the first chemo cap. It's a simple roll brim hat made from Lion Brand Homespun. It's not my favorite yarn, but it's soft and washable and it will wear well enough for the duration the hat is needed. I used size 10 needles and cast on 62 stitches.

As I mentioned yesterday, I also cast on a chemo cap in black and white Bernat Boa. I'm not thrilled about this one. I think it's a bit harsh looking in terms of colors and it doesn't feel as soft as I'd like it to be. I have pretty much decided that it needs to be frogged and turned into a scarf of some sort. I only paid $3 for both balls of the yarn, so I'm not terribly upset that it didn't work out quite how I wanted.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

I have gone insane.

Ok, so remember a couple of days ago when I said I don't do holiday knitting? This morning, a scant 3 weeks before Christmas, I had the crazy idea that I might knit hats for my niece and nephew. This insanity was brought on by finding a pattern for a Spidey Hat. You see, my nephew really likes Spiderman. I've picked him up some Spiderman shoes and pajamas. The little dude likes knitted hats too, if last year is any indication. I had been working on charity hats last year. He had been looking at the stack of hats and when it was time to put is coat on to leave, he found a hat that fit him before going to get his coat. I thought that was a pretty favorable review for the hat, myself.

Since I can't knit Dude a hat without knitting one for Dudette, his big sister, I picked up some pink and purple novelty yarn and some purple ribbon. I'm going to follow the Zebedee pattern for her hat. She's quite the fan of the Disney princesses and all things pink/purple, so this yarn ought to be right up her alley.

Now, here's how I retain my sanity: nobody knows that I'm knitting these hats, so if they aren't finished by Christmas, that's ok. There will be plenty of winter weather in northern Illinois after Christmas, so even if I don't finish the hats until after New Years Day it'll still be ok.

Chemo Caps

I have one cap finished. I'm trying to decide if I want to make a couple more or not. I have some black/gray variegated Bernat Boa but I'm not sure I like how it looks in a hat. I did get some cheerier wool/cotton/acrylic today that's more of a mix of Lifesaver fruit colors. I don't know if that will be quite sof enough though I also had the notion that I could send the Kiri Shawl along with the chemo hat as an extra surprise.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Promised Pictures

The blue Trekking sock. I have even woven in the ends so they're ready to wear!
Size 2 needles over 60 stitches in beaded rib.

The Mountain Colors Braided Toeholder Sock, up close.
I can't remember the name of the color. Also knit on size 2 needles over 60 stitches. I have cast on the second sock of the pair, but have only knit a few rows.

I haven't done any knitting in the past few days. I need to find DPNs for the chemo cap. Otherwise I've been baking cookies or too tired/fuzzy headed to knit. Perhaps on Thursday night if there is a new CSI episode....