Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A happy all hollows eve

Here have a pumpkin:

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Sorry, I couldn't help myself, I am far too tickled by how fun and easy it is to needle felt things.

Well, yes, it's Halloween, and the air has a definite nip to it, although, im sure all the local children are happy, we are supposed to have rather warm (65) weather today, perfect for trick or treating.

In celebration of the chilliness, I present the modified Ganomy hat!

Original pattern from Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitter's Almanac.

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Obviously I made some changes, I don't lake hats that go to far beyond my head, and I prefer a snugger fit, so I added more decreases to get it to come to an end more like a normal hat. It came out a little shorter that I would have liked, but it covers my ears, always a happy thing. (I seem to be having measuring difficulties, I think I should have measured at the front of the head, instead of the ear flap, oh well.) the hat also gave a good excuse to try out a two colour horizontal braid, I recently bought "Folk knitting in Estonia" by Nancy Bush, which has a ton of great patterns in techniques. (I would put an Amazon link, but apparently Amazon doesn't think it exists.)

Then there is this:

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Someday I'll get a better picture, this is my house shawl, Arachne's Veil, made from Knit Picks Gloss in black, it's amazingly snuggly and warm, I love it. I may be publishing the pattern soon, but we'll see how ambitious I get.

And then because humans aren't the only ones who get cold...

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A sweater fro my mom's Basset Hound, Duchess. She is quite old and has developed a thyroid problem, which is making her loose all her fur. She loves being outside, so I'm making her a sweater, so she can stay out longer. I found a really cool customizable pattern here, and am modifying it so that it opens in the back, and all mom has to do is lay it on the floor and have Duchess step into the leg holes.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

NYS Sheep And Wool

Bill and I had a great time at the NYS sheep and wool festival, down in Reinbeck. We left Friday morning, and drove down to Albany, it was raining quire fitfully, and apparently my bladder is very impressionable, we had to make several stops on the way down, but otherwise we made pretty good time. When it wasn't raining I managed to get several pictures of the wonderful foliage from the car.
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Once we arrived in Albany we threw our stuff into the room and headed out to buy stuff. Albany has a wonderful selection of ethnic markets, unlike anything we have here in Clayton or Watertown, so every time we go to Albany we make sure to visit the Asian market to by curry paste (there's actually two Asian markets in Watertown, but nether of them carry the brand of curry paste we like, that doesn't use fish paste.) and then off to the Indian market to buy Dals (dried legumes) Bill got a four pound bag each of kala chana, urad dal, mung dal, and toovar dal, unfortunately the prices had gone up and instead of $3 a bag, we had to pay $7. which is still pretty damned good, since they last quite some time, and we can't find them anywhere in our area. After our shopping adventures we visited the Albany Borders, where I got to actually hold and play with a Sony Reader I want. And Bill bought a bunch of books that they don't carry in out local Borders. Then it was of to the Bangkok Thai restaurant for a delicious dinner, then back to the motel for the night.

Then to the main event, Saturday, it was a beautiful sunny day and the fairgrounds were packed, it was a struggle to walk through the vender barns without getting trampled by crazy fiber enthusiasts. I picked up a little beginners needle felting kit, and then the rest of the day was spend just wandering around and taking pictures of adorable fiber animals.

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and bought some extra yummy raw cow's milk cheese! mmmmm...

Sunday it was MUCH less busy, I got to try out a bunch of spinning wheels, bought a pumpkin needle felting kit. (Reinbeck is dangerous; every time I go there I come out with a new addiction!) Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And generally wandered around more. I really wanted to buy some roving, but I haven't really had a lot of time to spin lately, and I still have a bunch of cayenne fur to finish up before I can even look ant anything else. And most of the yarns just were too expensive for too little for me to really do anything with them. Before we left we watched the parade of llamas and alpacas and then stopped by the Wildman Jack reptile show, which was a lot of fun, it was amusing to watch he kids reactions compared with their mothers.

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then it was straight home form the festival, it was a nice drive, but once again, started raining again the farther we went along. Although I did get another great picture before we left the Albany area.

I have such a dirty mind.

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for even more pictures from the festival, check out
the slideshow I made. I promise you won't be disappointed!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Fo - girl's best friend shawl

I'm glad I'm done with this shawl, I feel so accomplished, and this was my first time working with lace weight, my first triangular shawl, and my very own design.
There were a million and one times while I was knitting this that I wanted to throw it away, thinking it just wouldn't work.

Design: Girl's Best friend shawl
Yarn: Crystal Palace, Kid Merino, in painted iris, about 2 1/2 balls.
Needles: US size 4 (3.5mm) 40" circular needles.
Time: a little over a month, but I was working a lot of overtime, so I was sometimes only able to get two or three rows done a night. Although by the end I was so eager to wear it before it got too cold, that I stayed up late and worked on it double time.
Problems/Notes/Things I would change: I originally wanted this to have several more patterns kind of evolving, or going through a metamorphosis, from the sharp diamonds to soft leaves and finally to gossamer feathers, maybe with a light fringe, or a sideways knit edging. Yeah, that didn't work, I had a limited stitch library available, and I just could not find the right patterns that would match the way I was envisioning it, and also keep the dame drape and openness. So I decided to change the name and just go with the diamonds.

Then once I finished it my original plan was to do a sew bind of, because I've had a lot of success with making really loose and stretchy edges with it, but the prospect of sewing up so many stitches was quite daunting, so I wimped out and did a k2tog bind off listed in my knitter's handbook. I chose that one because the other bind offs it suggested for lace just wouldn’t work, I didn't want a crochet chain bind off, and didn't really want to put a sideways edging on it either, I just wanted it to be done. And since the suspended bind of makes absolutely no difference in my cast of edges I went with the k2tog. Unfortunately, I don't think I did it loose enough, while it was quite stretchy, I still had trouble blocking the shawl, and once I un pinned it, the bottom corner bounced in on itself, and keeps cupping up. I don't really mind how it looks, but I really would have liked to have made the edge scalloped as well, but it was just too darned tight and I couldn’t' make it look right. I'm contemplating going back and re-doing to bind off, but I'm not really sure what else I could do to make it looser.

And now after all that:

here it is straight on, my photography skills suck, and it was a bit breezy, but near the bottom you can see what I'm talking about with the bottom corner.
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Close up of the pattern
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And the shawl happily blowing in the wind.
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Braided Cast on

Braided cast on:
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I love this cast on; it creates a lovely braided effect that is stunning on mittens or hats. It's perfect for two colour knitting, no need to fumble to add the second colour, it's already there! And it sets up your stitches perfectly for corrugated ribbing!

The site where I originally learned this technique did a terrible job at explaining it, and it took me forever to figure it out. I decided to make a better set of instructions after several people asked me how I did it.

**This cast on uses a modified version of the long tail cast on**
Tutorials can be found here: http://www.knittinghelp.com/knitting/basic_techniques/ (video)
Or here: http://www.butlercountryknit.com/longtail.pdf (PDF)
Or here: http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEsummer05/FEATsum05TT.html (scroll down)

Step 1:
Make a slip knot using two colours of yarn held together, place the knot on your needle. Hold the free ends out of the way.
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Step 2:
Hold the yarn colour at the top side of the needle (green) around the front and then back of your thumb, with the tail hanging down the palm of your hand.
Hold the colour at the bottom end of your needle (red) around the front and then back of your index finger, with the tail hanging down the palm of your hand.
Hold the tails out of your way using the other three fingers of your hand.
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Step 3:
Put the needle under and up through the palm side yarn coming from around your thumb, grab the front yarn going around your index finger and pull it through.
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Step 4:
Release the yarn from around your thumb and tug at both yarns to snug the loop around the needle.
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Step 5:
Move the index finger (red) yarn OVER the thumb (green) yarn and place on your thumb; place the other (green) yarn around your finger as before. (Always move the top (finger) yarn OVER the bottom (thumb) yarn to create the braided effect)
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Repeat step 3-5 until as many stitches as needed are cast on.
Your yarn will begin to twist after a few stitches are made, don't worry, this is normal, just ignore it, or stop periodically and let your needle hang to untwist the working yarns.
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If you have any questions or if anything is unclear, let me know and I'll try to explain better.

I think I may have just passed the threshold into extreme geekdome

I just wrote out my initials (AHW)

Converted them to HEX code (41 48 57)

Converted THAT into binary (010000010100100001010111)

And then converted the binary into knitting (k1, p1, k5, (p1k1)x2, k1, p1, k4, (p1k1)x2, p3)

Just because I thought it would be cool to do.

Perhaps I will use this to sign my knitting from now on.

(wanna do the same? you bunch of freaks! Go here)

This has so much geek related knitting potential, I'm giddy!

it begins

Harkening back to my LJ archives, I'm going to be reposting a few of the knitting posts I'm more proud of. After this initial deluge posting may very well dribble.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

first post

welcome to my new blogger account, mostly for knit content, and use on blogger communities.

for more actual content, try alien_sunset.livejournal.com

Creative Commons

Creative Commons License
This blog and everything contained within is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.