Friday, June 30, 2006

reusing the scary yarn colours...

I posted on knitty about a dye question I have so I'm putting the yarn pictures up, but don't have time for a full message...

These are the two problem yarns. I would like to uset them but I hate the colours. The colours in the picture look a bit better than in real life. The one on the left is really more orange than the nearly-red it looks here. And its like glowish nearly neon orange.

To the right the yarn is more off the true colour - the real thing is sort of a nearly mustard nearly pumpkin colour.

These are some of my other recent dying attempts using food colouring or kool-aid, or both. Some yarns I tried contain all natural fibres or at least a precentage of nautral fibres. I also tried it on "non-natural" yarns like acrylic, though the instructions I read don't recommend dyeing yarn from synthetic fibres, I gave it a try anyway, and I got okish results.

The colours just didn't seem to soak in as well, you end up with a pastel version instead of the richer colours achieved by the natural fibres.

The picture has the original in the middle , a slightly off white acrylic yarn, and to the left a light blue dye that some purple got into, so it is almost a greyish lilac. The yarn to the right is the same, but with a green dye.

The next picture shows the same green dye as above results in a richer colour when there is natural fibre present - also the underlying original colour of the yarn is beige so that tones down the green to a more earthy colour like moss.

The picture opposite is originally a blue white flecked Opal Sock yarn - maybe called Petticoat.I put it int0 a green dye bath and it came out really funky - the green really acentuated the contrast between the coloured yarn and the previously white bits. I believe this yarn has alot or at least some animal fibre.

My favourite so far is the handspun yarn*shown below, original on left, which was really more of a grey colour under normal lights. I was given this as a gift - it was really a pretty colour in the first place, but as to wearing colours I try to about soft colurs or pastels as they are pale and I am pale and I end up looking like zombie ghost girl...

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Mystery yarn mixing it up...

This is a picture of two yarns I am thinking of combining - once I learn how to do it without the tangled mess you see here!

I know these are crap pictures, but I'm not too good with the camera, esp. indoors. The colours are really the dark not quite navy blue ball of cotton, and the spool is a super thin fillament embroider thread (for sewing machine I think , I just had it for some reason)

It is a blend of purple navy, plum and copper - sounds odd but it quite dark and not to flashy but it does add a mysterous sparkle as you don't really see the thread at all when it is combined - just these little shimmers. I will put a swatch up here when I can get it done.

I just keep wondering if I should be combining them in a more strenuous way like something a spinner would do to twist them up together - not that I am a spinner (yet - one obsessive addiction at a time, go back and wait in line Spinaholicism...) so, any tips would be fab! If anyone ever reads this - you never really can tell can you?

I am also trying to find good suggestions for someone who wants to do some charity knitting for local women's shelters, maternity hospitals and so on... I know I read about the whole "Prayer Shawl" idea for charity knitting. I would like to help her find a pattern that would be good for a mom and baby during breast feeding (as a cover up if the mom wants to do that) and that would still be non-babyish enough for the Mom not to feel like a walking burping pad/tent draped feeding station!

So, something stylish but practical - I don't have kids so I don't know that much about breastfeeding, but I wuold imagine you would want something washable and simple to care for at that time! Not sure as well what shape would be best - semi-circular? square? Triangle? rectangle? And not too heavy as it will be worn in doors and not so much for warmth. Thanks fo any ideas guys!

This is the wrap I am knitting for myself with the Blue Jean Knit Picks Gossamer-It is light, lovely and soft. Extremely (well for me anyway!) thin and fine, but I find the Denise needles work well for me (the needles are certainly large for the yarn weight - but I wanted it light and airy for the lace effect - I have the feeling that it is going to be alot warmer that it would look... Wool is just so great like that. And I can see how some lace patterns would be lost under the stripes of varieagated colour but this is I believe an almost perfect stitch for the colour.

I'm surprised t how well this is going actually as when I was trying the triangle shawl Wave and Shell type pattern and I swear on the lives of cat and 2 rats, that I must have done the first 40 rows about 75 or more times. Literally. Why I'm confessing this I don't know. I would work on it and start then frog then re-start each day abou 6 or so time and it was a long long long coupla weeks knitting wise! (patterns I am discussing in this entry are linked in an earlier post to their source if you are looking for them..

My futile efforts and continual repetion of the same mistakes reminded me of my two roomates in University - there we were about 2 and 1/2 degrees between the two of us, and could we manage to set up a dollar store bait and spring snap mouse trap without having it snap on our fingers 3 or 4 times each... So, so, so very very sad... And - the final insult.... The mouse got the peanut butter bait and not the guillotine. Apparently he was one of those rare Croucihing Tiger Hidden Mouse martial artists who could hover in the air? Anyway were were definitely outgunned.

(dont read this part if you get grossed out easily)
One late night / early morning writing a paper I was looking for a snack so I made some toast and Peanut Butter... In the little toaster oven.. It was a little burnt I thought, but hey, no problem. I was rather shocked to be awoken a few hours later with the shrieking banshee howls of my roomate who was gonna make some toast too, but unfortuantely the mousie beat him to it. so he might have escaped the trap but in the end he got the death penalty. And me ? I got one of the rarest taste sensations in the area... Mousie Smoked Toast and Peanut Butter - by the way the kitchen was dark so that was why I didn't notice the mousie. I swear it was an accident. MOral of this - clean you crumb tray often - or if you are having mouse problems put the trap in the toaster oven...

(end gross out)
For some reason I've always had this love of wave/shell/ocean motifs and textiles. To me this totally looks like an abstract white capped Nova Scotia windy day - Little white caps on alot of the waves... I am kind of torn now. I had this other knit picks yarn and I was going to use one colour (2 skeins) of the one type and one colour for another project - one to be given away

... but now it turns out that I need to do this rectangle wrap to really get the hang of simple lace before dealing with the increases or decreases and changing stitch count of the triangle - will I be greedy and keep both - maybe!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Soft Uglies by Mary Kim

This is a display which was in the Argyle Street Art Gallery - some friends had their wedding rehersal reception here - normally an open art gallery, but it does close down to host private parties sometimes, qwhich we thought was a really clever idea - it was a good way to get a bunch of people together from all different parts of the couples life, and everyone had something to experience together and chat about, without even trying - everyone could look at and talk about the art even if they didn't know each other at all. And it was a really nice space with several different areas and levels.

The little creatures featured here are by a local Halifax artist, Mary Kim, (photo at right) whose work you can read about in an article in our local indie paper "The Coast" where I found the picture of the artist and of a single close up example of one of her creatures.

I thought I had taken more pictures of this display, but I guess not! EAch creature was completely unique and completely unconventional for normally cute and fluffy stuffed toys.

I would love to see more of her work; unfortanely she does not seem to have a website or any other online mentions that I could find. Still if you ever gett he chance to see her work you should definitely take her creations in!

Latest Knitting Project - "Comfort Shawl" using Knitipicks Shimmer

My latest project is a triangular "feather and fan" type stitch shawl.

I am using the "Shimmer" yarn in Turquoise Splendor that my Secret Knitty Pal gave to me - a very fine lace yarn (70% Baby Alpaca, 30% Silk).

If you haven't heard about it yet, you should check out the KnitPicks site - they are making some fabulous luxury-type yarns available at regular very low prices - I think they have done this by cutting out the middle party in the yarn food chain - they develop direct relationships with their yarn manufacturers in places like Peru and Italy.

The prices are literally 1/3 or 1/4 of the price you would pay for similar yarns that are made of such pricey fibres (silk, wool, alpaca, etc.)

I haven't bought anything there myself yet, but the reviews on the Knittyboard seem great as far as customer service etc. - I was lucky enough to recieve 2 seperate gifts of yarn from the site.

I have two skeins of this Shimmer, and I might get some more, depending on how much shawl I have after I've worked through the first skein!

The other knit picks yarn I recieved is a similar very fine lace weight,
but is 100% merino wool, and I'm not sure what to do with it either (suggestions anyone?) In the meantime it is pretty cool to have such fancy-schmancy yarns hanging around waiting to be used!

My other Knitpicks yarn is called "Gossamer" in the colour "blue jeans" which is a variegated blue, light blue, to grey colour...

I would like to say a special thank you to all the great knitters, who help each other out all the time on the Knitty Coffeeshop, the message board for readers of Knitty, the online knitting magazine. I can't recommend the magazine or (especially!) this message board enough - particularily if you like innovative and creative knitting patterns, and even more so if you don't have any knitting pals in your area, or if you are the most advanced (read obsessed) of the knitter's you know.

I have never failed to get some answers to my weirdest questions here, and even better, it is very busy and very widespread - so no matter how late it is, someone is probably around to help you out!

And thank you to all the kind people who put free knitting patterns and tips online! Like this great Feather and Fan Comfort Shawl that I'm working on now.

I had done, ripped out, and done again, the first 30 or so lines of the pattern several times, until I finally realized that the m
istakes I kept creating were because I was doing the yarn over's (YO) the wrong way.

Now, w
ith this challenge fixed, I am having a much smoother go of it. This seems fine, except it doesn't really look like a pretty wavey pattern at all... Even when I had completed to the 30th line or so (with mistakes, granted) it still just seems to be tiny thread circles looped into very round looking interlocked circles.

(this is scanned in, so the colours are a bit funny but you get the idea)

I have read that lace patterns really don't show up nicely at all until you have washed and blocked your lace project, and I'm hoping that is why it doesn't look too spiffy just yet...

I w
ould love to hear from some more experienced lace knitter if there is any possibility that the knitting which looks like this will eventually take on the right shape and pattern, as shown in pictures of the completed shawl...

It is alot of fun though, I thought the very fine yarn (of a width like 2 strands of sewing thread twisted together, I swear!) would drive me batty but it isn't like that at all - the large-ish needles (4mm or US size 6) I'm using seem to make all the difference. I am sure it would drive me nuts if I was using very fine needles.

Maybe I should just ask Gonzo for some help?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Childhood dream come true!

How cool is this? I finally got the Gonzo doll I've been wanting since I was 3 or 4 years old...I remember so well, my Uncle David was going to get me a present and had asked what I wanted - I was lotally in love with Gonzo and this was just at the time that they started making Sesame Street/Muppet show dolls.

Unfortunately my Uncle went with this description when he asked the store clerk for help finding the right doll... "Fuzzy, with a long nose and big eyeballs" - Imagine his suprise when I unwrapped my gift and screamed "Wow! Snuffalupagus!"

He didn't know what I was talking about - probably thought "Suffalupagus!" was 4-year old speak for "Wow, Thanks for the Gonzo Doll!"

I ended up with Snuffalupagos! Not that I didn't love him - I sure did, so much so that at some point he lost one of his huge egg sized eyeballs and just ended up having a flap of fur for one eye - he looked kinda like something out of a creepy Sesame street nightmare, or perhaps "Gangster Snuffy"....

But, my super sister was in Florida and visited MGM studious (I think that was where) and she saw this little guy and got him for me. I added the knitting parephenalia..... Gonzo is currently working on his first knitting project, a jaunty yellow scarf. Also planned in the works is a skinny 80's knitted tie to go with his preppy look. It is hilarious - he has saddle shoes, a sweater vest, and even - get this - old man pants! Yep, the waistband is right up there so the cords reach almost to his little Gonzo chest!

Also the rats are totally in love with their newest cage addition - just a simple wooden box that you get mandarin oranges, or whatever in, attached to the roof of their cage with some rags in to snuggle with and they haven't left it for about 2 weeks! I also tired sticking in a mini mouse, and mini knitted bear to see how they'd react. I wondered if they might be like Mr. Bunny and react to these little stuffed critters as tho they were alive. They were not fooled however, and seem to use the toys as just more stuff to sleep on.

I guess Mr. Bunny really did have some ulterior motives though - he was an un-fixed Mr. Bunny you see, and rabbits are really into pair bonding. It took only moments before Mr. Bunny turned the tiny teddy I gave him into his bitch, just like he was in real jail instead of a protective Bunny cage... It was both disconcerting and hilarious to see Mr. Bunny's uhmm ... Interactions... with the teddy. It might not have been true love, but it was definitely passionate.....

In other rat news, we had our first escape scare the other day... I wil often take one or both rats out and put them on one of a few wooden dining room chairs we have in the living room... They know that it is too far for them to jump down, and they are extreemly happy just hanging out on the chair seat for long periods of time. Not sure why this makes them so happy, as the total surface area is much smaller than the cage they live in, but they seem to feel all happy and free on the chairs. I made a bit of an error though, and one of the chairs was too close to the couch. Baby thought he could make the jump so he did, and promptly slipped off the blanket that was on the couch.

I had read and had experienced that Rats will instinctively run for the edge of the room where a wall meets the floor - makes sense as this allows them to sort of keep their "back to the wall" and only have to worry about what is coming at them from limited areas. Baby in particular (the previously more shy one) was always wanting to squirm away and get against the wall. We have some large storage drawer type boxes under the couch, and of course he darted right under there, so I was frantically moving the boxes and checking there and calling him.. a few seconds later I heard Pierre say from the other room - "Why is the rat in here?!" It took him like 2 seconds to get to a place that might take me 10 or 15 seconds to walk to - and my legs ar about a billion times longer than a rats! super speed!

Our cat Ranger quickly alerted Pierre to the little fugitive, by looking confused and kind of half-assedly chasing him. I scooped him up and put him back in the cage, and vowed to be much more careful about their outside the cage adventures! They are never let out unsupervised of course.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Knitted Rat Snugglie Carrier

This is my quick first model for a rat carrier... which I have been discussing on the

The "sling" (a hat) was made from a thick double stranded worsted weight yarn in
stockinette stitch.

It was just liying around to give to someone one day.

So I gave it to the rats!

I wear it cross ways over my chest. I think he likes it!

I took a bathrobe tie and wove it in a running stitch around the edge of the brim

I wear it cross ways over my chest. I think he likes it!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

CSI Bear: Assault with Deadly Felting (Contains Images That May Not Be Suitable for All Ages)

You may remember this bear from a previous post, where the victim looked something like this:

Forensic analysis indicates that the victim was bound using makeshift restraints, and immersed repeatedly in scalding and freezing water, concurrent with repeated, sustained traumatic surface abrasion with a cleaning agent, as can be seen in these crime scene photographs.

Evidence collected at the scene of the crime suggest that the bear was bound using makeshift restraints and arranged in this pose post-mortem.

Identifying features were obscured due to the violence of the crime, but creative reconstruction rendered these images.

The bear in question has yet to be identified. Anyone with information about this bear or any other details of this felting incident should leave comments here. The public is warned that the perpetrator is believed to be a repeat felter and should be considered dangerous.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Cast On - cool!

I have just discovered that I can easily download radio shows to my cheap-o little mp3 player! I downloaded the first episode of "Cast On" and listened to most of it on the bus to school today. It was great - a North American woman in Wales doing a periodic show about what is up in the knitting world, including field trips to mills and farms, guest essays, and some really cool new music I'd not heard before! It is wicked cool. Can't remember how long it has been since I've used that phrase.... Check it out here: Cast On
where you can download this and future episodes...