Knitwit's Rambles

My attempt to actually have a knitting blog, and to update it regularly. We'll see how well that works.

Monday, July 31, 2006

A Minor Setback

Well, things were going really well on the Felted Manpurse, at least until last night.

By about 10:30 last night I'd gotten it to the stage you see here, with the body done and about halfway done the flap. Great progress! Sure I'd be finished in time to felt it and block it while drying before Thursday!

And then I happened to whack my right index finger against the bathroom counter. Very, very hard. So hard that I thought I must have broken something, though forcing myself to bend my finger through the pain obviously proved that nothing was. Didn't prevent me from letting out a whispered stream of curses, though.

So instead of knitting for hours last night, I spent the time with my index finger tucked between two icecubes, wrapped in a towel. This morning when I woke up it was so stiff and sore I couldn't get back to sleep, but over the day it's loosened up and doesn't hurt as much so there's hope. I finished the flap and did the I-cord bind off and actually I think it's helped get some of the flexibiltiy back, as earlier I couldn't curl my finger around the yarn and now it only hurts when I curl my finger as tightly as I can.

Here's hoping it hasn't gone all stiff again tomorrow, as I need to do the felting then. Of course it wouldn't be Jack Bauer's manpurse if things didn't go badly wrong at the 11th--er, more like 23rd hour and there was a race to the finish, the outcome uncertain until the last minute. ;-)

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Here We See The Wily Felter...(now with pictures!)

Am currently on a felting adventure. Worked up two swatches in Lopi that I had hanging around as test swatches for the Satchel (aka the JackBauerManpurseofAsskickery) and they are in the washer as we speak! Feel the excitement! Revel in the fact that I haven't a clue how in the hell they're going to turn out as I'm kind of making this shit up as I go along!

Okay, not quite. I've read a lot of people's blog entries about felting and as I have a number of woolly things that I don't want felted I know the basic rules. Hot water + agitation + soap = felt, with the side addition of cold water shock = even more felting and shrinkage. So I've whacked my swatches in a pillowcase and tossed them in with my sheets and a couple towels that needed washing anyway. Should be done soon. Unfortunately in my haste to get going I forgot to take "before" pictures, but I'll get some "after" ones and hey, at least I took measurements!

ETA: Success! Mostly. Come on down to my felting lab and I'll show you...

...come into my parlour said the spider to the fly...

Okay, here's the felting lab, a.k.a, my basement. Washer, dual-compartment sink (very important in a couple minutes), cleaning products, weird stains on the floor, the whole shebang.

So I pulled the swatches out of the washer and...

...huh. A little felting going on, but not much. Considering I shrank this photo quite a bit and you can still see the stitches, not terribly good results. I did a garter stitch swatch as well, just to see how the different stitch patterns felted, but it's really boring, so I'll leave the photos on that one.

So here's where the fun started! Were I actually making something, this is where I'd do the lazy thing and just whack it back in the washer with more loads of laundry, but I didn't want to waste the water or wait. So instead, I hand-felted it!

Filled up a little basin with hot, hot soapy water and put it in the left half of the double sink becuase that's where the dishwasher drains and ew, it's gross in there. Turned the tap on cold in the other side of the sink, then proceeded to violently agitate and shock that swatch. I was violent. I tortured it. I...pulled a Jack Bauer on it. ;-)

Anyway. After all that shocking and agitating, shocking and agitating, I got...

...FELT! It didn't shrink much width-wise, but it did shrink about half an inch lengthwise. I know it usually doesn't felt evenly in both dimensions, but then I thought it might change a bit more at least. The swatch was fairly dense to begin with, though.

So looks like it worked well. Both swatches are drying downstairs, and I'll see what they feel like when they're dry. But it looks like the Satchel (aka JackBauerManpurseofJustice) is a go for New York. Will get the yarn tomorrow. *cackles*

Of course I'm kind of bodging it as I've never seen the yarn used for the original project, and there are a bunch of other variables with that but the stitch gauge was about the same and really, as long as it's big enough for my stuff...

Besides. Making stuff up as I go along? So Jack.

...Now I wonder if I could do it in 24 hours?

Labels: , , ,

Monday, July 17, 2006

This is Why I'm Keeping Myself from Podcasting

Somehow it never seems all that long since I've blogged until I happen to glance at the date of my last post and the number is almost the same as the one on my desk calendar. I've been thinking about doing a podcast (as far as I know there are no Canadian knitting podcasts. WTF?) but looking at the track record of my knitting blog, I'm thinking that might not be a good idea.

However! There are improvements in the blog coming, namely:


Yes, people, I finally got a digital camera. *happy twirl* I've been experimenting with it and will probably be doing the Alphabet Meme that some other knitbloggers have been doing, so I have an excuse to post more often.

At left, you see my modified Pine Tree Toe-Up socks, using my bedsheet as a background as it was the only light-coloured thing I had handy for photo-taking at 11:45 pm. Note the flare at the top of the sock from the cast-off; I've yet to find a bind-off for toe-ups that is stretchy, but also non-flaring. I know quite a few people swear by EZ's sewn bind-off, and I should probably try wrapping my head around those diagrams again. The mate to this sock is still on the needles, and I may try it on that one. After all, no one's going to notice when I'm wearing them.

Besides, I should really finish that sock because I kind of need the needles. Need them for some KOIGU, that is. My first Koigu. I feel like there should be a Hallmark card or something for this. Finally I get to use yarn that all the cool knitters are using! All I have to do is get some Trekking XXXXXXXXL and the transformation from nerd knitter to cool kid will be complete!

...Okay, I'm done with the sarcasm. It's just jealousy anyway, of all those knitters who live in a Certain Big City and have access to this stuff at actual yarn stores and to God knows how many SnBs. Seriously, I have to see if one of the LYSs here might start one or figure out how to start one myself, because I keep reading about people who have these great SnB nights and I'm insanely jealous, wah.

Anyway, so yes, I have Koigu. I went on a yarn crawl to Toronto a couple weeks back on one of the frigging hottest and stickiest days of the summer, as it was the only day I could do it for the next month or so, and Koigu was on the List of Things To Look For. Found a colourway I liked at Knitomatic, and I'm nearly at the heel on one sock. So far I'm loving the way the Koigu works up; it really is gorgeous stuff (which it had better be, really for $45 for a pair of socks). Have to get the other PTTU off the needles before I can start the other one, though, which I should do soon, as I don't usually knit one sock at a time. One stays in my purse/tote bag, the other by the TV and I switch them every so often so that the interesting bits are staggered.

Also in the nearing-completion pile is another photogenic work: The Lace Sampler Scarf. Which unfortunately has to be shown in three pieces as even with standing on a chair, I couldn't get all of it in the shot. And for some reason now the picture-adding doohickey on Blogger isn't working, so I'm coding this by hand.

...Okay, I'm copy-and-pasting the code from the first pic and using it for subsequent pics, just changing the URLs and the alignment codes. Like I'm going to reinvent the wheel, when I don't know how to make the wheel in the first place, pshaw!

Anyway, yes, the scarf. It's actually a little further along than in these pictures, by now, as I only have one more short-row corner to do and then the last stretch of the side edging. Luckily in these pictures (and probably in the finished object) you can't really see that with the corners, I am so making it up as I reach each corner. That's the point of a sampler, though, right? Learning experience? :-)

Okay, it was more to show off a woman's skills, though many of them were used as a learning tool as well. Personally I like the samplers with mistakes; we had a number of them at the living history museum I worked at and I always found the ones with misspellings and lines that ran out of room to be more endearing.

Anyway, all I have to do is finish the edging and them block this monster somehow. I've been thinking of getting some of those interlocking playmats--the kind that look like big, square puzzle pieces--so I could do it downstairs in the family room, though it's rather dusty down there. Either that or I could borrow the bed in the spare room, as long as I could be sure no one was going to use it in the interim. Though it shouldn't take too long for this piece to dry: it's laceweight mohair and silk, and it's very thin, light and fluffy as a cloud, but very warm.

As for current and immediate future projects, I have the Koigu socks (photos of those next time) and I really have to do swatching and start on the Satchel (aka the JackBauer Felted Manpurse *shifty*) from Knitty as I'm heading off to New York City in two weeks.

TWO. WEEKS. OMG. This has obviously not sunk in yet.

I wonder if my travelling companions would be put out if I wanted to visit a yarn store or two (or three...or four...)?

Labels: , , , ,