Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Stress, a sock, and a baby.

Kind of in that order.

Remember last week when I was saying there was nothing happening in my life and that was good? Yeah. Well. Stuff happened. Mainly health issues of family members, but there's a lot of it from different directions and I wanna crawl under my futon and not come out. (The husbeast calls this my hermit crab method of stress management.) I'd go into details, but members of my family like privacy, so... no blasting it out over the internet. (Privacy. Huh. Never heard of it.)

Anyway. I got up this morning, and found this on the couch:

And I was all ready to beat Sekhmet the cat into oblivion (I believe I even yelled "Sekhmet, you fucker!") when THIS happened:

So I'm not entirely sure the cat is to blame. Though judging from past behavior, I'm willing to blame both of them.

The Baby followed this up with learning how to climb on the couch, and bouncing up and down on it (caught here in action), reducing my day to pulling her off the couch, off the hearth, out of the toy basket, out of the shelves in the entryway...

In the midst of everything, I knit a swatch out of Really Ugly Sock Yarn (created by dumping all the leftover dye at the end of the day onto a lump of yarn) and cast on for a sock... isn't that proper knitter stress management? Knitting a sock?

The Ugly Socks are preparation and practice, after which I will knit myself some Really Pretty Socks with the OTHER yarn I dyed. It's an aqua dip dye. I love it.

Anyway, The Baby is now banished to her crib after a morning of raising hell, and I am off to knit something - anything.

We've got one person up to the arm pits on their jacket. How is everyone else coming?

Cindy, if you're willing to wait for a few folks to catch up, I will post the next steps here. If you're on fire and wanna do the sleeves NOW, e-mail me and I'll send you the directions.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Oh, and what I'm knitting.

Ha. Since it's a knitting blog and all.

I'm on sleeve one of the steeked jacket for the knit-along (link in the side bar):

And a gaugeless, swatchless, guranteed-to-use-up-stash blankie for the baby:

Plus my biggest work in progress of all:

Plus, someone in the comments had a question about the Starry Night Ruana-Thingie. Details of that, plus photos and construction methods, can be found here.

I'm up!

My last article is up over at Knitty: Cheating at Color Theory. The surprise patterns are also up, including a couple really nice pullovers.

For anyone new wandering in from Knitty, welcome! We're in the midst of a knit-along, making a steeked jacket in the "Elizabeth's Percentage System" style. Details in the side bar; click on the "Jacket Steek-Along" button. If you'd like to join, just say the word!

Otherwise, I'm playing mad scientist in my home, dyeing yarn to start up an Esty shop.


Monday, January 29, 2007

Hip, my ass.

...or something like that.

I've had two people mention this to me in as many days, so it looks like it's time for another long, rambling blog post that solves nothing!

To wit, the problem of all these 'it's so hip to knit' books.

There appears to be a growing backlash, and I, for one, couldn't be happier. A quick search of Amazon has turned up no less than NINE knitting books with 'hip' in the title, including "Funky Knits, knitting know-how for hip young things" which makes me wish for a sharpened pencil and a publisher's back to bury it in. Plus there's a further slew of knitting books all trying to tell me it's a great and fascinating craft that is 'not my grandmother's' knitting. (And, incidentally, I want one of these - anybody got $500 and an extra room to add to my house?)

Since when is a thousand-year-old craft used to make socks and underwear HIP, and why in hell does it want to be? AND WHAT'S WRONG WITH GRANDMA'S KNITTING?

I know, I know. It's marketing. But you know what? It's fucking annoying.

Since seeing the horrifying list of hip knit books on Amazon, I've been sitting here trying to think of anything I've ever knit that could qualify as 'hip'. Let's see: a boat load of lace... no.... a lot of traditional sweaters... no.... some felted containers...? Probably not. I think the closest I ever got to hip was the twelve-color Starry Night ruana thingie, and since it's rather a classic design I doubt it qualifies as hip either.

What really gets me in all this is, by denying knitting's everydayness, it's blue-collar history as well as it's high-end trade good moments, they're ignoring what has made knitting great. The workaday wool jumpers that keep fishermen warm in cold weather to this day, the glorious silk nightshirts of royalty, the ladies' stockings at 25 stitches to the inch, all that skill, all that potential for usefulness and stylishness TODAY, all reduced to a dorky TV show and a bunch of books with fun-fur scarves.

Ah well, a lot of us know the truth and I have a feeling we'll win through in the end.

Back to the grind stone.

I started off the morning (okay, I slept late, but when I DID get up I dug right in) with another round of dye experiments.

On the right is "Earth" (as in earth, air, fire, and water) and that seems to work for me, but the left is supposed to be "Winter" (greys and muted blues and beige, with a few bright speckles of aqua). I kind of like it, but it sure ain't winter. The black dye (with which I was trying to make gray) broke and turned purple. The good news is, with this last mistake, I've identified exactly which chemical it is causing the problems, and how: it's a pink that sticks faster and harder to the wool than any of the other dyes.

So now I just have to find someone who sells food dyes individually and unmixed (blue 3, yellow 5, etc), mix my own colors, and avoid that one dye. Yeah. That should be easy.

It also occured to me that I should have some sample knits to show on my site, so I've dyed a couple mini-skeins to make myself some sport socks. Yes, I'm winding up knitting socks because of this little venture. I guess it was inevitable.

In the 'elemental' range of dye schemes, I'm also working on 'fire'.

As always, the camera doesn't catch the subtleties. And it's really hard to do dark colors when using this dye method; I'm on round three of adding red dye to the same spot, hoping it will stick.

After this, I put the baby down for a nap and write some articles. I'm not sure I'm thrilled to be busy, or not. In a way it's a pain in the ass, but it makes me feel useful, gives me specific tasks I can FINISH (as opposed to child-rearing, which is NEVER DONE) and brings in a pay check (which I can then spend on knitting books and fiber related stuff). Anyway, it works for now.

While I was doing nothing else this weekend, I got a lot of sleeve knitting done, and I hope to have it all joined up to the body tonight. Then it's on to the second sleeve.

I just looooove second sleeves.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


The last several weeks have been a flurry of 'work': yarn dyeing and article writing. (Well, not such a flurry on the articles. I've got a lot more to do.) The problem with working at home is, you're always at work. So, this weekend I've done nothing. I knit some, watched some movies, read a book, and slept late.

Back to dyeing and writing tomorrow.

In the irony department, it looks like I'm keeping the winter issue of VK. I think I might knit that ruffled garter-stitch wrap for someone (pattern #13). In boucle no less. I'm going to put it off and hopefully come to my senses. Soon.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Comments on some comments.

I was asked in the comments if I'd ever knit something out of Vogue Knitting and at the time replied, 'not that I remember'. Well, I remember better now. I did. I knit the cover sweater off the summer 2004 issue (2003?) for the Knitting Olympics last February.

Even this was altered, though; in the magazine it had no bottom edging (??!??) and I added some length and some ribbing. As I recall I also tweaked the decreasing in the front so it looked a little better. It fits well enough though it's a little on the low-cut side. (Then again, what's the point of the X of I-cord across your chest if not to show off your boobs?) Oddly, I've found that VK often runs more knittable/wearable patterns in the summer, which is strange when you think about it. Winter and fall seem to be the season for knitwear. But, whatever, I try to wear knits year 'round.

Last fall I went through all my old knitting magazines and pitched a huge stack (and further unloaded more on my mother-in-law). These are what I kept; each of those little blue and red tabs is a pattern I want to knit. I think the oldest one is a norgi-based pullover in VK from 1993.

Maybe 2008 will be 'knit up magazine patterns' year. It's a thought.

I've set myself a goal to finish up the Steeked Jacket by Valentine's Day. Partly because I want to wear it some time this winter, and partly so I can start on something else. In the interest of stash busting, I also started this:
It's a diagonally knit blanket for The Baby. This yarn has been my own personal Stash Monster for about five, maybe ten years. You know the monster: the yarn you bought ten balls of for no reason you can possibly imagine, and every time you look at it, you cringe. What did I think I was going to knit with orange and white variegated boucle?? Well, actually, I was going to knit myself a loose pullover, but when I knit a swatch I realized the boucle made it look like a terrycloth beach towel, and shoved it in the back of the yarn closet as far as it would go. Now I'm going to try to use it up; getting rid of it alone would be a major victory in stash-busting for the year. It's kind of small yet, but I only started it last night.

Someone (I forget who, sorry) also asked if I was sticking with food coloring dyes because of safety issues involving the baby. Yes. That's exactly why. Not only for the obvious safety reasons (no toxic fumes), but because this way I can work right in the kitchen and dining room with the baby playing near me and not have to try to watch her while dyeing yarn in the garage or back yard.

I've got about half the yarn I bought dyed, and am thinking I will keep a few regular color schemes, but I'm leaning toward doing a lot of experimental, one-of-a-kind stuff. More fun for all involved, I'd think.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


There is nothing new here at House O' Samurai.

I dyed more yarn today:
The blue is lace-weight. I want to keep it.

I'm still waiting for elves to come wind up the Purple Train Wreck:
So far, no luck.

Sekhmet is still disgruntled about the concept of baby gates:

The Baby is still cute:
When she wants to rough-house and wrestle, she takes my hands, puts them against her sides, and says "tickle tickle". It sounds like "tik-uh tik-uh", but it's pretty good for one and a half.

I'm still knitting the first sleeve of the Steeked Jacket:

We're all still sick, and I've still got articles to write that are overdue.

I'd wish for some excitement, but around here that means orders to move seven thousand miles away, or a family emergency, or a car accident. So I'm going to stick with boredom. Yup. Works for me.

Even if I don't have anything to blog about.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

What I did today.

Other than write snarky Vogue Knitting revies.

I didn't knit (yet), though I have plans to start knitting in a couple minutes and maybe do a whole pattern repeat on the sleeve for the steeked jacket - it's finally cold here and I want to finish it in time to wear it this winter.

What DID I do?

Dye yarn.

See the unholy number of colors coming out of that dye pot? The term for that is 'broken' dye. And that's why Purple Train Wreck is named what it is. All the uneven purples and even the aqua color are all done with one dye that is chemically unstable. (Well, it's a food color, I bet it works fine on icing. I should complain to the company anyway. Ha.) I did two skeins. One is spoken for, but the rest of you can squabble over the other one.

I also reeled up some yarn I dyed yesterday:

On the left, the yarn that was in the dye pot yesterday when I took the photo that I posted. Tomorrow I'm going to try to repeat it on some laceweight. On the right, an experiment in green gone horribly wrong, now scattered with random blobs of lavender, light blue, and gray and white bits where none of the dye stuck. (The husbeast said "That's kind of nice" while I was winding it up, and I asked him if he was sure he'd passed all his colorblindness tests.)

I now have dishpan hands, and another full day with the dyepot tomorrow. I'm kind of getting the hang of this. I'm looking into buying some different food colorants to try out. Mwahahaha.

REVIEW: Vogue Knitting Winter 2007

As always, things in quotes are from the magazine, and all photos are from the web site. Patterns are referred to by the number assigned in the magazine, not the page number.

First thing I noticed about this VK was that it's thin on patterns: twenty-nine of them. A quick flip through the backlog of VKs laying about shows that usually there are thirty-five to thirty-seven patterns in a winter issue. Considering three of these patterns are hats, they're really cheaping out this time around.

The new yarns are shown (on page 16) in pom-pom form. And just in case you might possibly be able to make out the yarn structure, some idiot sprinkled fake snow on top of them. So all you see are balls of puff. Anyone making pom-poms out of pure cashmere yarn should be flogged. Repeatedly.

There's an article on knitting and knitting books from Canada, like the US has suddenly realized people knit in the Great White North. Duh.

Meg Swansen discusses two-end or twined knitting, with a hat pattern as an example. It's an old Scandinavian technique covered in "Two End Knitting" by Anne-Maj Ling. If you like the technique in the magazine, get the book. I've got it, and it's worth the money. (A sweater made this way is listed in the Year of Me goals.)

Nicky Epstein discusses embroidery which I don't think belongs in a knitting magazine, but I'm a grouch and a purist. They can eat their crochet directions, too.

Article on Brandon Mably. Eh. Is he totally overrated, or is it just me?

Nice article on Scandinavian knitting, for anyone interested in that Strikke-along we've been kicking around. The suggested reading list contains several books in other languages that I've never heard of before, so that's nice.


First section is called "The Big Chill". VERY original. They've got a quote from Shelley to start it off and the whole thing is shot inside a house with fake snow and snowballs laying around. Not the lamest shoot I've ever seen from VK, but it's up there.

1. Lace sweater done in two kinds of yarn (silk and silk/mohair), giving it a cutaway look in the places it's done with thinner yarn. Kind of a cool idea, but in the magazine photo the yarns are two slighly 'off' colors - one greenish, one reddish, and looks really, well, bad. If I could find two perfectly matching yarns and wanted a lace sweater for winter (yeah, that would keep me warm) I'd consider it. Except for that silk/mohair hatred I have.

2. The cover sweater. Modular cabled hexagons sewn together into a shrug thing, with ribbing for the sleeves and neck. This is potentially a cool sweater, if it were made longer and not shown on a model that looks like an anorexic albino. As it is, it looks like complicated-to-knit shoulder pads.

3. Short lace jacket in thick-and-thin yarn. Because if you're going to the bother of knitting lace, you should always use yarn that obscures the stitch pattern. And what is the point of knitting a short sweater out of bulky yarn? Are you trying to stay warm or not?

4. Cabled sweater knit with bulky yarn. Because the sweater just isn't big enough and won't make you look fat enough, with JUST the bulky yarn. Probably is damn warm, though, if you used it as an outside pullover. The neck is pretty horrifying. Not one but TWO layers of bulky ribbing and cables.

5. I bet if the model sat up straight, those bobbles would poke out like a row of nipples on the belly of a pig.

6. Is it possible to come up with a more unflattering shape for a sweater? The idea of knitting a Fair-Isle pattern with variegated yarn is a good one... why not just knit the damn Fair-Isle? Why this patchwork weirdness that not only looks stupid but adds hours to the seaming time and requires two-stranded purling?

7. A knitted patchwork skirt in, among other things, brushed mohair. There are no words. Even the model looks pissed. And the styling... is that a jersey dress that's been sliced up the middle, over top of it??!!??

8. Sideways-knit Fair-Isle. I've been looking at patterns like this for a while now, seeking something with a vertical line that's more flattering to the female figure. While this is the best of the lot that I've seen, what the FUCK is up with the total lack of edging? Are they allergic to it? It looks unfinished as it is. And would curl like crazy if it weren't starched, or the model moved. As it is, I bet they've got it pinned down around that neck line.

Three unnumbered hat patterns, all knit in bulky yarns (which makes finishing a bitch), none flattering. The stocking cap with the rolled brim probably sticks out from your head three inches. VERY Vogue.

"New York Noir" is the next section, with the photos taken in what looks like a studio set up to be a roof top. What with being based in New York and all, I suppose it was too much to ask, that they get outside and take photos of the actual CITY.

9. Knitted jacket. What in HELL is up with that pose? Does the model have scoliosis? Flipping to the back, I can see from the schematics that it's a rather nice tailored jacket. But if your bust measurement is over 45"/114cm, you're shit out of luck.

10. The obligatory knitted dress. Because even if you had the figure to wear one, you'd be SO ready to spend five months knitting it and be done just in time for summer. Assholes.

11. Every girl needs a row of eyelets right across her tits.

12. Striped bolero shrug thingie. Okay. Is it me, or does this model look freaky, like one of those composite photos where they turn a person's eyes upside down?

13. I like this, but does "Knit a garter-stitch rectangle with short rows on one side for ruffles" REALLY count as a pattern? And for some dumbass reason it's not listed as a "Very easy, Very Vogue" pattern.

14. For some reason I can't explain, I like this. Even though it's really fussy compared to what I normally wear, with all those ruffles. But as a coat? You'd catch pneumonia with that open chest. And it would turn into the Knit from Hell if you used the recommended yarn - a boucle mohair. Boucle mohair. Hahahahaha. Right. I'd rather cut off a few of my fingers.

15. Cabled pink cardigan with 3/4 length sleeves. Nice enough, but I'd knit it in cotton and wear it as a spring jacket, not for winter.

16. Ditto for this one. Pink bolero with short sleeves and a lace inset. Not terribly warm for winter. And the construction method is INSANE: knit everything, even the ties, as separate pieces and sew together. 'Cause knitters love seaming so much.

Next up is a section entitled "Designer's Resort Crochet". Resort. Crochet. It's shot in a makeup studo, so so much for that resort thing. AND IT'S NOT FUCKING VOGUE CROCHET, NOW, IS IT, MOTHERFUCKERS?


17. Grey crocheted dress that's so openwork you'd have to wear it over another dress. Ugly color and about as warm as fish net.

18. Little lace camisole/tank top. Also about as warm as wearing nothing. And what is UP with the model's hands? She looks like she should be auditioning for the role of the alien in "Alien: Resurrection".

"Man to Man" is the next section, making me roll my eyes before I even read the text. "Men can be such finicky boys when it comes to knits." Let's not be patronizing or anything. And FYI, the husbeast would not be caught dead in any of them. The gimmick is, they had men design all these. Yeah, like that made a difference.

19. By Brandon Mably. Maybe if you left out the giant, honkin', stupid hand print on the front. And dropped shoulders are SO flattering on men. Har.

20. By Leigh Witchel (??) Uh... yeah. Fussy enough?

21. I am imagining giving the husbeast a sweater with an asymetric hem line and having him ask me what was wrong with it and how come I screwed it up.

22. Sweater vest with a pattern of purl squares over it. In red, white, and blue. Not bad if you changed the colors. If you know a guy who wears sweater vests these days. Anyone? Maybe I hang out with too many engineering types.

Next section, "Coat Check" also shot in a photography studio. They went to great lengths on this issue, I can tell.

23. Knee-length coat in five shades of brown. The yarn is held double throughout. Nice enough, but it'd cost a fortune to knit and the weight would have it down to your ankles after the first wearing.

24. Cabled-all-over coat. In beige. Eh.

25. Knee-length ribbed coat knit in CAMEL. Yeah, that's affordable. Probably the least inoffensive of these coats, but it reminds me of a bath robe.

"The Subject is Roses" is our last and final section. More like flowers, but the Plant Freak in me will let that one slide. And of all places to do a photo shoot, yeah, let's have one in an over-cluttered kitchen. Grand idea.

26. Floral dress. It's hydrangeas on it, matter of fact, not roses. (I know this 'cause it's by Annie Modisett and I read her blog.) I'll bet the model is holding that pillow the way she is because it makes even her ass and hips look fat. By the way, Modisett was told to knit a floral dress, so she did... it's not really the deisgner's fault on a lot of these things. Often even the yarn is dictated.

27. Boxy, off-the-shoulder blue sweater with bigass roses done in intarsia. This model is probably a size six and she looks huge. Oh yes, I'll have one of these. (Still, it'd be nice to rip off the rose pattern for a knitted bag.)

28. Little floral shirt thingie. I like it, but it says 'spring' to me, or even 'summer', not 'winter issue of Vogue Knitting'. And that cute little lace edging? It's machine-made and sewn on. Isn't that cheating?

29. Black chenille kimono with big floral motifs duplicate-stitched on it. Nice, but with that pose over the stove I keep waiting for the sleeve to catch fire.

And that concludes this winter's Vogue Knitting, because they ripped us off for about six patterns.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Further adventures in dye land.

The current experiment:

I'm working on hot-pour methods with a variety of blues and greens. (Blues are the favorite color of a majority of people so I imagine I'll be doing a lot of them.)

Yesterday I knit up some of the Purple Train Wreck:

Then I felted the hell out of it to see how colorfast it was. The color faded somewhat during the first wash - extra soap on heavy duty for 20 minutes - but after that it remained stable. And the yarn has already been hand washed, so for normal everyday use I'd say it's colorfast.

Tomorrow I dye more Purple Train Wreck.

My first shipment of sock yarn I bought on the cheap (two-ply Peruvian wool), and it looks awfully thin and splitty. I'm going to be unloading it at a bargain price once it's all dyed, and then going with a wool/nylon blend like I should have done in the first place and selling it at the real price ($20 USD per 440 yard skein). When I do post all these yarns, I'm going to do it a week or two before our next major influx of Knitty readers (beginning of March) so that you guys can have first crack at it. And as always, if anybody wants custom jobs, e-mail me and we'll negotiate. In particular, if you want to mail me the yarn and have me dye it, I can really cut some bargains. (This deal only applies to regular blog readers, which, duh, you are.)

That's the big excitement around here. Now I've got to go write more articles and mix some dye for more sock yarn (the new batch will be more green).

Here's a photo of me being loved to death last night.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Six weird things.

Bells tagged me for this, and after taking a while to come up with six weird things (well, it's all weird, but weird enough to be worth mentioning). So here you go.

1. I knit. Yeah, yeah. I know that seems normal. It is kind of normal. NOW. When I was twenty years old in 1999, it got a lot of REALLY strange looks. Particularly with the tattoo and the pink hair and the ripped jeans and all. Especially the lace knitting.

2. My hair started turning white when I was about sixteen. I've now got two Bride-of-Frankenstein streaks on each side of my face. Unfortunately they don't show up, or look blonde, in photos. Added to this, even pushing forty, I enjoy dyeing my hair colors.

3. I broke my nose when I was a kid, and it's crooked.

4. I wear my socks inside out on purpose. I hate having the seams rub on my toes. I know this makes me a perfect candidate for knitting myself socks, but I'm half afraid I'll get addicted and wind up doing nothing else. ...though I'm still not sure what the down side of that would be.

5. I hate math. Hate it. Loathe it. I'm trying to choose between two wildly different career paths right now, for when I go back to school, and the only thing they have in common is hordes of math. It always makes me laugh that I have a reputation as a math geek among knitters, and I confess I DO use math a lot and I'm not too bad at it. But I still hate it.

6. I learn visually. REALLY visually. Like I can glance at a map and not need it again. (When we move to new places I usually ditch the map within a week.) I can remember colors, which is apparently a weird skill. And I don't quite have a photographic memory for what I read, but I can remember piles of information I've either read or gotten off graphs or other visual illustrations. I LOVE historic atlases and archeological drawings and diagrams. Need to put together a fifty-piece carburator with one page of directions? I'm your girl.

There you go. Even weirder than you imagined.

Nuking it out.

"Nuking it out" is a derogatory millitary term for overthinking. Nuclear power plant operators are known as 'nukes' and have a tendency to overthink and second-guess. So when you're doing the same, you're not thinking something out, you're nuking it out. (Just for the record, if I were in charge of a nuclear power plant, I'd be freaking out worse than a little overthinking. Imagine running around shrieking and hooting like Daffy Duck.) The term is used mostly in the tone of "will you quit thinking and DO something already?"

So what have I been nuking out? Well, for starters, this:

Sleeve one of the steeked jacket (with the hem stuffed up inside the cuff). Yes, I know I'm working ahead. IT'S OKAY. When you guys want more directions, let me know, and I'll post more directions. For now I'm doing a sleeve and taking photos. Anyway, you can see I'm choosing to do the underarm increases in the pattern. (If the thought of this makes you hyperventilate, you can always do simple stripes instead, it's very common.) Ususally working in pattern like this is no big deal for me, particularly when I've already knit one and am doing a copy, like now. But for some reason, lack of sleep, cold medicine, neuroses, I keep tearing back rows and re-knitting, when HALF THE TIME IT'S CORRECT. I had it off the needles this morning and had torn back half a round when I looked at the chart to see how far back to tear, counted stitches, and realized it was correct. This is the third or fourth time I've done this. I've lost my mind.

Second nuking process? I just got off the phone with the US Postal Service. Calling government agencies usually gives me a headache, but this was pretty painless, even if the guy on the other end did have all the animation of a brick. Anyway. IF YOU ARE SHIPPING YARN INTERNATIONALLY, PAY ATTENTION: To quote the dude on the phone, "If it fits in an envelope, you can mail it as a letter." THIS MEANS YOU PAY THE LETTER RATE AND NOT THE PARCEL RATE. In the case of yarn alone, this means massive savings. If you're mailing gear like needles, etc, I'm not sure there's that much savings. But to ship a 4oz ball of sock yarn to Australia, the letter rate is less than half what the parcel rate is. Plus it's YARN, you don't have to worry about it breaking or anything.

International shoppers on the coming Esty site, very welcome!

I've been wanting to cut international shoppers a break on shipping so as to GET international shoppers, and now I think I can do it. All those years of keeping the books for people are finally paying off in some practical way. (This amazes me. I'd have sworn I never picked up any skills useful outside an office.) Plus I was raised by cheapskates. That helps too.

I'm also over-thinking my latest Vogue Knitting review. (Yes, it is in the works. I've got a copy of the magazine.) Mainly I'm waiting for the day that I feel good enough to work up some proper outrage (the stylist should be dragged through the streets, tarred, feathered, flogged, and turned over to the Yarn Police). It will be soon.

Otherwise, posts are going to be pretty thin for the next couple days until I finish a bunch of articles that were due last week and get over this stinking cold. (If it turns into pneumonia, I'm going to be pissed.)

Oh, and sorry for the major delay on getting all the blog links posted in the side bar. I'm afraid to code HTML while on cold medicine. The way I've been screwing up everything else, I'd probably crash the blog. But I know it needs done and will finish it as soon as possible.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sekhmet, you fucker.

That's yarn in six-foot long skeins, waiting for the dye pot, that she's laying on.

By demand.

Okay, okay.

The baby's been sick, so she's been in her jammies a lot... but lately her favorite thing to do is wander around the house with a diaper on her head. (We use cloth diapers as spit rags around here.)

And for her birthday last year, her auntie sent her a xylophone in the shape of a lady bug. (She prefers chewing on the stick, or hitting the cat with it, but once in a while she plays it.)
And those pointy sticks? Yeah. Knitting needles. Mother of the year for me! And instead of taking them away, what do I do? Get the camera.

This kid better be prepared to knit when she's older, or we're in big trouble. Haha.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Yarn porn.

Okay, I've been skeining up yarn all day and I've got a few goodies to show.

First, the purple dye experiment. I'm calling it 'purple train wreck', but it might wind up a regularly-made color scheme.

Then there's my first attempt at a fall leaves inspired color. I'm thinking more brown and less orange, but otherwise it's not bad.

Then there's 880 yards of lace-weight merino. The photo doesn't show the pink too well, but the color's fairly accurate if more subtle than the photo.

I'm thinking I may have to charge more for the lace-weights, because winding up 880 freaking yards takes FOREVER. And I desperately want to keep this one because I adore it, but I can always dye myself another one later (I wrote down how I did it).

And, you know, there's nothing like having a cat around for help. This is right before she pounced. Fortunately I grabbed her right away and there was no damage done.

And I've gotten another wild hair: Pattern support.

So another question. Would you guys buy reasonably priced hand-paint yarn for felting? $12 USD or thereabouts for 220 yards worsted weight?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Product endorsement.

Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the Sunbeam Hot Shot, retailing at around $20 USD:

It will heat a cup full of water to boiling in about the time it takes to put in a tea bag and measure out some sugar and slide the cup in. Fill tea cup with water, flip up lid, pour in, and hit the on button. It shuts off automatically when it boils. Push dispense and the hot water runs into your cup.

I got a new one today. My old one has gone to the great tea-room in the sky. I'd had it for seven years and made approximately 13,000 cups of tea with it (that's about five cups a day, which is less than I often drink but allows for days I wasn't home). The guts were still good - heating coil, thermostat, and switches, but the plastic casing had given up the ghost. The buttons were getting kind of wonky and when the lid fell off last week, I intended to continue using it but the husbeast went out and bought me a replacement. Now I'm good until 2014.

If you drink tea, you want one of these.