December 2005 Archives

Quick Update on the Purple Stuff


I spun a bit more of my new purple roving and plied it. I thought you might like a pre-wash shot of it in all its glory. The shades came together in a striking tweed-like way. It's even better than I could have hoped.

A bit more after the bump

He's done good


My brother and his girlfriend are in town visiting. We haven't seen too much of each other because of scheduling conflicts, but we've seen enough to swap gifts. Matt got some Hooray For Me Gloves and Jess got the Dragon Hoodie for her little girl.

But they came bearing gifts for us. So sweet. Jess brought us a huge basket of gourmet yummies, many of which Leo and I have already consumed, partially or fully. She even brought Miss Panda some cookies. And Matt, a man who referred to my knitting as "sewing" at one point, got me this.

It's about 11 oz of beautiful purple merino/silk roving. It's soft as a bunny a stunning color. The image isn't a perfect representation, the color is really a pretty deep purple with shades of burgundy, lilac and everything in between. He got the roving from Shuttles Spindles and Skeins in Boulder Colorado. I love it. It's so sweet that he walked into a fiber shop, looked for the perfect roving and came back with something so great.

That spindle shows what I've spun this morning. It's working up very nicely. The color becomes richer and the various other shades sparkle through.

Spots make the dragon


I had enough time to make a few spots for the little Dragon Hoodie, before the gift was due to be received. I really like how they look in front.

The back of the sweater, and notes on this version of the pattern, after the bump.

More Dragon Hoodie


Well, I took the comments to heart and I decided two things,

  1. You need a view of the back of the Dragon Hoodie Thanks Julia

  2. The sweater needs spots

Here's the back. The spine is crocheted, though a person who can't crochet could certainly do some garter stitch points instead. It's very soft so it just flops to one side when baby lies on it.

And here's what I think I want to do for spots. Instead of patches, like the original has, I'm doing bobbles. I used Nicky Epstein's Knitted Embellishments as a reference for the technique. I think it'll be cute and much faster than trying to get full sized spots knit before this afternoon when the recipient's mom arrives.

I'll, of course, have a final picture for you when it's done.

After the bath


That green merino silk roving gets even better after a wash and hang.
It really seems to even things out a bit and make the yarn look slightly less "hand spun." Don't get me wrong, I'm proud of the fact that I hand spun it, but I don't want it to be too obvious.

I plied Panda with belly rubs to get another shot of her donning my handiwork.

In fact, she is mid belly rub in the picture.
Can you hear her? "Oh, the suffering, the indignity, the....a little to the left please."

And do you see her bucket of toys and treats in the background? Yes, that's only one of two. Don't even get me started about the whole cabinet full of treats for the little pooper. She lives a hard life.

Something for Sofi


Sofi is the name of the little girl who will be wearing this sweater soon.

The only thing not done are the spots. I'm not sure I'll have time to do them and I don't think the sweater is hurt by being plain, but the spots sure are cute. We'll see. I'm also dangerously low on purple yarn so what spots I might knit will be of a fairly small quantity.

I think the likelihood that my boss comes to my blog is slim to nil, she's the director of a department in a world renowned company, I'm sure she has more important things to do, but better safe than sorry.

See her rather belated Christmas present after the bump

Is this what I think it is?


I think I may have spun a balanced yarn. I'm not sure here, I'm still a relative novice, but fresh off the spindle, after plying, it appears to rest pretty comfortably, without twisting back on itself.

This is some of the beautiful green merino and silk roving my parents sent for Christmas. I haven't washed it and hung it yet and it's still seems to be hanging in a manner that would suggest it is balanced. I didn't mean to but there you go. After taking the pictures, I gave it a quick soak, so it'll be knit ready by dinner time.

More pics after the bump.

I may still make my deadline


Isn't the hoodie looking cute? I have to admit, I enjoy this knit even if it is my own design. Unfortunately, having talked to the woman to receive this, it appears the piece may be a little too short. I'm going to have to pull out the trim on the body of the piece. It's all knit in one piece with nice mitered corners and a tubular bind off which is great because it looks so nice but I suspect that now that the ends are woven in, it may be a bit of a P.I.T.A. to pull out. That's what I get, though, huh?

On a completely unrelated note, this should be reassuring to every one of us who has ever wished we looked as good as a woman on the cover of a magazine. Warning: requires Flash

Also, a couple hilarious songs (one with video)

If it's green, it's good


What do you think of the shawl?

I ripped her out and washed and dried the yarn, so I could start over. There was a problem, several rows back, no life line and not enough shawl in existence to really warrant a tedious fix, so I ripped her. The deadline is so far off, that I'm not terribly bothered by that.

But it hasn't all been the foul smell of failure. The Dragon Hoodie is progressing beautifully.

I'm working on the hood right now and will begin all the little dragony details after that.

In spinning news, my parents sent me roving for Christmas. What? Christmas is a week away? Are you saying that when I get a package at my door, a couple weeks before Christmas, with my parent's return address, I should know not to open it? Insanity!

And look at what was inside! Each bag is half a pound of gorgeous roving. The left two bags are a rich olive green Corriedale roving. It appears that MJ has almost identical roving, herself. I met her in person for the first time this weekend, at a knitting get together. It's a little eerie that we both have matching Kundert spindles and green roving, if we hadn't been seen in the same location at the same time, someone could have assumed we were the same person.

I managed to snap a pic of the Corriedale, on the spindle this weekend. She has her own ray of sunshine here. That means this is the only picture with enough lighting to be any good.

It sort of makes the rest of the pictures look even worse. I began spinning this on the Kundert, and it spins well, but I really found myself feeling like I had to spin pretty thick singles on it, so I switched to the Golding. I may have to invest in a few more Goldings just so I can spin more than one roving at a time. This 0.9 oz has been perfect for just about everything. I love it.

This is how it looks plied. The color is really a true olive green, despite the variety of shades you see here. When I was spinning it near daylight, I saw undertones of yellow shine through, it's actually quite lovely.

The other roving in the bags is a Merino/silk blend. It spins up into more of a sage green shade because the white of the silk soften the colors.

You know, though, there's a pretty good chance that I'm not going to be able to spin all that roving by hand. I mean, I'm a relatively quick spinner (spindler? spinster?) but a pound of sock weight yarn is a lot of yarn to spin. So Julia and I are talking about renting a wheel. I'm a little scared to go down that road, but I think it's time. Look for news of that next year.

A little more progress

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The Dragon Hoodie is moving right along. I love knitting baby stuff. I feel like such a prolific knitter.

The body is done and a sleeve begun. The sleeves are going slowly because this yarn is hard to knit on plastic needles. Metal is definitely the best choice but since I'm saving my pennies for Christmas presents, I'll get by.

I've also been working on my shawl a bit. You can use the squares on my ironing board for scale, if you like. The top pieces hoodie is about 11-12" wide (it's not blocked so I'm estimating a bit)

Well, if you say so


This is cool. My Heritage offers a free face recognition utility online. You upload a picture of yourself, preferably from the front and of fairly high resolution. I uploaded a not-so-terribly-flattering picture of myself that fit the criteria.

Results after the bump

It's that time of year

I try not to whore stuff too often around here, but I hope you'll cut me a little slack. For those of you still trying to find a few last minute gifts, perhaps something here will seem good. There are quite a few items that are under $10, yay! I can also make special adjustments if you like. If you see something with a small image on the pocket and you want a big image on the back, I can probably do that for ya. Just leave a comment.

Anyway, I have a few categories of items. Just click the image to get to them.




Ok, commercial's over, back to normal bloggy content.

Some for you, some for me


Between pity parties about our gas and working, I have managed to get in some knitting. On the bus I knit that Dragon Hoodie and at night, I've been working on the pattern for my shawl with my own roving.

Confession time, I have made designing a shawl far more complicated than it really is, until I had the "AHA!" moment and I realized how flippin' easy it really is. I should really clarify that sentiment. There are some amazingly beautiful and complex shawls out there, but the essential premise of increasing at the center and edge and gradually incorporating more and more repeats of a single motif, is very easy. This is what happens when you try to design something you've never knit before. I'm sure if I had knit even a single triangular shawl, that concept would be rather straight forward.

Nonetheless, three days of toiling have brought me here:

Not so exciting, but I think the effect will be nice once I've worked a few more inches.

The Hoodie is much further with far less toil

I'm hoping this will be a good size for the baby. My gauge is slightly tighter because of the difference in fiber, but she is very young and I'm knitting the largest size. Worst case scenario, if it's too small, I have a friend who is due in a few months, I can give her this and make a new one for Matt's friend.

I still have several more posts I'd like to get up this week, including one about a cowl that won't do what it's told and some amazing Christmas presents from my family.

Just whistle a happy tune


Well, apparently something tripped an earthquake shutoff valve at our complex and we have had no natural gas since we got home yesterday. Our hot water and stove are both powered by gas so it's been a lot of uncooked food and tonight, we are resorting to nuking water to fill our sinks and enjoy the splendors of bathing in a small receptacle. But, you know, when life gives you lemons, you look at cute pictures of my dog. Right?

Update. Our landlord rocks, he's already offered to pay for a hotel if we don't get our gas back soon. I doubt it will come to that, but I definitely appreciate the offer.

Enjoy some goodness from our visit to Ventura Beach this past Sunday after the bump.



Ok, maybe it's not art, but I drew it, so it's something. I call this piece:

Did someone say, 'cookie'?

Click to see her larger.

A Quick But Fun Quiz

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This is a short quiz of personality traits. I would guess that to be truly accurate, it should probably be three or four times longer, but as a diversion before, after or during work, as the case may be, it's amusing.

Here's my score. You can get the whole description of my insanity from the link below.

Check out my personality profile!
Apparently, no matter what score you get, you always get a link back to the wrong profile. Odd, the test is fun to take, though, so if you want to try it for yourself, click here. Thanks for the heads-up, Julia

For more information about the Personality Project, click here.

My roving has a project


On the spinning front, I've been making as big a dent in this as I can.

That's my merino silk blend roving, which I've been spinning for a while now. I went back and forth, trying to decide what I'd knit with it, but I've decided to use it for this. Right now, I'm attempting to design my own shawl. I should note that I've never designed a shawl before, but hey, the worst that can happen is I make a less than stellar, piece. Who hasn't done that before?

Here is everything I've spun to date. I would say these photos are fairly accurate in showing the texture and color. I'm rather surprised at how much I've spun without getting bored. That braid at the top is about 5.8 ounces and the stuff on the bottom represents about 1.5 ounces. There has probably been another half an ounce of various problems, frustrations, knit swatches that wouldn't come undone and the like. We will speak no further of those.

So far, my experience with spinning this fiber has been good. There are occasional slubs of the merino content. Sometimes they are easy to pick out and sometimes they become "features" of the yarn. Otherwise, the spinning is fairly easy if rather imperfect. The silk content makes drafting smooth and delightful but not very even and it occasionally gets away from me. Since I haven't actually started the piece, I simply spin when the mood hits me. I may be more flustered if knitting is held up by spinning. We shall see.

Either way, it has to take a back seat as it is "that time of year" (which should be said in a most ominous tone) so there are other projects that take priority.

By the way, I'm so happy that a bunch of you left a comment to assure me that you still manage to make it to my site. My bloglines account hasn't shown a single new post for me since I switched to MT, but if at least a few of you are still stopping by then I'll keep posting away. I have fodder for several more posts, already.

Pardon Our Dust


For those of you still able to find your way to my blog, I'm so glad you have. A few things have been and continue to be a little wonky around here.
For starters, my feeds aren't working quite right. They are there, you can load them, but they don't tell you when anything new gets posted. I can't figure out why, the feeds are one of the few things I didn't monkey around with. Let's hope it's just a matter of time.

As for comments, they've been working sporadically. That's completely my fault. They should be A-OK now, so, by all means, comment away ;o).
Otherwise, I think things are working fairly well. Let me know if they aren't and I'll try to sort them out.

Despite all the problems, I'm still really happy I made the move from Blogger to Movable Type. I haven't had a lick of problem posting and the features are very slick.

I have lots to post about, so even though my feeds aren't ok, you should still stop by when you think of it.

Do I?


Do you want to get Panda's attention? All you need to do is throw out some "Djouwannas." Examples of the proper use of "djouwanna" are as follows:

Djouwanna go for a ride in the car?
Djouwanna belly rub?
Djouwanna drink of water?
Djouwanna go to the beach? (That's a really popular one.)
But today it was;

Djouwanna treat?

In this case, a Kong bone stuffed with chicken.

I am not the big softie that Leo is so I make her work for it. Panda, Beg Up!

Good girl.

Life isn't so bad here at Chez Panda.

It's not me it's you


Dear Blogger software,

Hi, how's it going. Can we talk? Maybe we should go somewhere public, just because.
We've been together now almost two years. Heaven knows that's a long time to invest in someone else, but you were my first and I had nothing to compare you to. I still remember when we met. I'd seen you everywhere and you were easy to be around. I didn't need try too hard, you just did your thing and I did mine and it all seemed to be... good. My blog, and thus, our relationship flourished. I would see you several times a week, sometimes daily, sometimes less, and while you occasionally acted up, I chalked it up to the normal highs and lows of a relationship.

But lately, you've been temperamental. I can post to other people's blogs with you, but I can't post to my own. My initial thought was that it was me, that I had done something wrong, but Blogger, nothing had changed. Nothing! The day before I had posted with you and you were fine and then the next day and for days after, you snubbed me, stating only "Broken Pipe Error".

I blamed my ISP, I harassed them. I said "Blogger says it's you." And I believed it, Blogger, I did. But you know, they showed me something. They showed me logs that said that you weren't where you said you were, that you were trying to post to directories; the wrong directories.

I wrote your help department and I asked for help and I was denied. So Blogger, we are over, I'm moving on.

I've met someone new. His name is Movable Type and we're going to give it a shot. I haven't had much time. With my work schedule we've only done breakfast and dinner and an occasional lunch, but already, I see things getting better.

I'll keep our memories. Your archives, are still here, but Blogger, it's time for us to say our goodbyes. I know you aren't one to get emotional, heck, you're completely unresponsive these days, so maybe you were just pushing me away, hoping I'd do this.

I wish you nothing but the happiness.
My best regards,

More flippin' yarn

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Yup, that's right, more yarn. I might as well just admit it. I bought more yarn.
Do you know who's at fault? Well, I won't name any names, but it starts with "J" and ends in "ulia". Really, though, I don't mind. I got a pretty good deal on it.

Yesterday, we went to Michael Levine in downtown LA. It's right in the middle of the fashion district, which, in LA, is not nearly as cool and trendy as one would imagine. Nestled snuggly between skid row and the skid row suburbs (skurbs?), this is not a place one would venture after dark. But on a Sunday afternoon a few weeks before Christmas (don't even get me started on that fact) the area was alive.

Two good bloggers might have taken a few pictures to document the event, but two bloggers did not. This blogger, though, has plans to go back. Michael Levine is amazing. For a store devoted primarily to sewing supplies, the yarn selection is amazing. And, just to show their good judgment, the Red Heart yarns are kept in an entirely separate section from the rest of the yarn.

Ultimately, despite the fact that I saw many yarns which made my heart go pitter-pat, I only bought enough yarn for one garment for me and one "commissioned" piece for my brother (that's in quotes because he has paid with the years of torment I've heaped upon him for my own entertainment).
For me, some Cascade 220 in a tweedy sage green.

I have 5 skeins so I should be able to make a little something warm for myself.

And Matt will be getting a Dragon Hoodie for a friend's baby.

This will be my first time using Berroco Lullaby, but I think it'll be a nice substitute, especially since it's machine washable.

I've been working on another piece for a book that I can't show here, and a bunch of spinning that looks pretty much like the spinning I've been showing you, so, nothing more to show today.

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