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Monday, November 10, 2008

  Monday Morning Mirth  

…a little cashmere makes everybody go a little caaaaa-raay-zy!

Friday, November 7, 2008

brand new day, brand new sock…

Although this little sock has gone on the move in my pocket for a couple of weeks in Chicago, it is seriously on the highway now: we’re both up in Northern Lower Michigan. My Mom fell and fractured her pelvis so we’ve transplanted to the Comfort Inn Cadillac for a spell :)

It’s been gorgeous up here and the peaceful weather is comforting and healing to her. She has a great room with a view in a local rehab place and they are the most wonderful people, helping and teaching and supporting…

The little sock is getting to be a big sock now! My game plan: faux cables to decorate; ribbing to manage the yarn blend (wool/hemp). So far so nice…

The yarn came from a trio of small yardage onesies harvested from StitchesMW: top of the sock is yarn from one skein; the top ribbing, heel and toes is a deeper tone, and the foot, a little lighter tone than the leg. I picked my favorite to show on that part and let the least favorite be the foot. I’m hoping that I’ll have enough yarn to take it to the finish line!

Methinks excitement and anxiety about yardage makes me knit faster sometimes! And I’ve noticed I have had several projects where this is the underlying rub: recently I started an Ariann sweater out of chocolate colored Cormo Cross yarn from the Michigan Fiber Fest.

No yardage was given on the skein tags, so I guestimated it by weighing the skeins. Each one had ~4 oz. I added up the weight, did a WPI test (11) which matches my substitution range. Then came the fun part: faith. I looked at the spin and loft and twist characteristics of the yarn strand itself and determined that like much Barn Yarn (and this is the yummiest most beautifully spun I’ve seen thus far), this was perhaps processed in one of the mills that takes fleeces from small producers. The yardage for those types of yarns is approx. 210-215 yards, which puts me a little short for my size. Now the excitement begins!

ELECTION DAY — PLEASE VOTE! Tuesday, November 4, 2008

…portrait of donuts as couch potatoes

After a full round of housecleaning and more furniture moving, I rewarded myself this weekend by settling in with some personal knitting. My Donutty Basic Chic Hoodie is now only missing a Sleeve (and whatever I’m going to do with the neck, hee.)

Now if you’ve been visiting here for awhile, you know I have a love/hate relationship with knitting sleeves in the round, especially on top-down sweaters. But somewhere along the line (needle type? yarn? design?) this vaporized on this one and I just kicked it! Of course, this is just Stockinette stitch so that goes like the wind on #7 needles but I think I was visualizing this as a big old sock leg because there were about the same amount of stitches as my favorite sock pattern. I’ve also learned to just calm down and rest the body of the piece in my lap and flick the sleeve back and forth while stitching (doing it Magic Loop style with one needle.) For the record, I rarely use a super-long needle to MLoop; usually a 32″ for sweaters and (!) 24″ (Inox Teflon) for socks. After a couple of rounds the needle cables conform to a tighter radius and I’m convinced it goes much faster than the super lengths (speedier pull-through, less wrestling with the cable).

The little Donut detailing came out very pretty after a nice little steam fest with the iron. The entire piece was lightly steam pressed from the wrong side, barely touching it with the iron. Then it was time for a little portrait, but if you’ve ever taken pictures of dark or black knitting you know it is wicked!

So I hacked my camera!

Lazy Girl Photography: I usually take pictures for the blog with a point & shoot camera (so fast) but I was going to try and use my oooooold Canon Digital Rebel (first model ever) with a lens I had that had a pretty big aperture (1.4 Prime Sigma 30mm EX — a lense many people are nutty about on these cameras). I love natural light and this time of year, there is a softness to the air and this would really capture it!

But the problem was I wasn’t interested in using extra lights or even a regular flash so you could see the cables. That is: 1. Time Consuming; & 2. Might wash out part of the picture and leave the rest in the Cave. BUT, my little point & shoot Canon has a function where you can dial-down the strength of the flash and I searched around online and found a firmware Hack that would make ye old Rebel behave! :)

This was very wicked and exciting because I didn’t know if the new function would even work or if the camera would even turn back on after I replaced it’s brain!!! But no pain no gain and this camera is seriously out of warranty so I went for it.

The Hack commanded a button (Jump) that was assigned to something else and now I could ramp up and down the built-in camera flash to make a Fill Flash.

I think it worked pretty well! (This might still look a little dark on your monitor; sometimes the default computer system settings are a little dark and I always set the contrast and brightness higher to pop the photography I see on the web. Try it, you might like it!)

So now it’s on the sleeve #2 and drumroll please, the Winner of the Freebie Friday 2 yarn…

Thanks everyone for playing and please remember to VOTE!!!!

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